From its first day in operation, the 1,500-room San Francisco Marriott Marquis has had to focus on helping those in need and giving back. The iconic hotel swung open its doors 30 years ago, the same day the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake hit California. The building wasn’t impacted by the quake but became a shelter for those displaced by this natural disaster.
Today, the hotel is once again swinging into action and is giving back. This time, to do its part to help the city’s homeless. One of the agencies it has partnered with is Compass Family Services that helps families experiencing homelessness, and those who are at risk become stably housed and economically self-sufficient.
Mike Kass, the general manager of the hotel, and 20 members of the hotel’s leadership team toured Compass programs and got a greater understanding of San Francisco’s housing crisis and how families are affected. A partnership was formed, and the Marriott Marquis became the first large hotel to provide Compass with significant funding for families who are homeless or at risk.
“We understand that families who are displaced by rising rents, evictions, and income inequality are the invisible victims in our homelessness crisis. And we know children who are homeless today are five times more likely to be homeless as adults. We’re not going to wait for San Francisco to provide the affordable housing that’s desperately needed, so we’re taking action now,” says Kass, the general manager of the hotel.
Kass and the hotel’s commitment includes $25,000 to fund the work of Compass, and he is also asking hotel guests, meeting planners, and attendees to support the non-profit’s work through direct funding as well as CSR events.
The hotel also works with DrawBridge that provides art programs for homeless and other underserved children. “We sell tote bags with artwork created by DrawBridge kids in our hotel and donate back 100 percent of the profit,” says Laura Jung, director of sales and marketing for the property. “For meeting groups, we will arrange for attendees to do artwork with the kids as a CSR activity. It’s like a teambuilding program in a box.”
In conjunction with its 30th anniversary, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis celebrated its recent property-wide redesign. The renovation included all of the property’s 128,000 square feet of meeting space, 1,500 guestrooms, health club, and spa.