AHLA Foundation expands HBCU scholarship; announces 2024 officers

The scholarship program boosts student exposure to real estate careers

0
417
AHLA Foundation travel scholarships
The AHLA Foundation expanded its travel scholarship program with historically Black colleges and universities, supported by a 2023 grant from the Nareit Foundation's DDEI Giving Campaign. Pictured are scholarship recipients at the recent Hunter Hotel Conference in Atlanta.

THE AHLA FOUNDATION recently expanded its travel scholarship program with historically Black colleges and universities supported by a 2023 grant from the Nareit Foundation’s Dividends Through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Giving Campaign. The foundation also announced its 2024 officers and board of trustees, further diversifying the board’s representation of industry segments, AHLA Foundation said in a statement.

“HBCUs are an incredible, yet underestimated, resource for talent” said AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue. “Travel scholarships are an important tool for fostering inclusion at the earliest stages and help to increase exposure to the different parts of industry, including hotel and lodging REITs.”

The $85,000 grant from the Nareit Foundation, Nareit’s philanthropic arm, will facilitate HBCU students’ attendance at REIT- and investment-focused events, including the Hunter: Hotel Investment Conference in March and the NYU International Hospitality Industry Conference in June, the statement said.

The AHLA Foundation launched travel scholarship program in 2023 to increase student exposure to career pathways in hospitality, the statement added. The scholarships are available for students attending AHLA Foundation-affiliated schools, including Bethune-Cookman University, Howard University, Morgan State University, North Carolina Central University, University of the District of Columbia, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Virginia State University. Each school may nominate students to receive these scholarships.

In January, The AHLA Foundation launched a scholarship platform for U.S. hospitality students, providing an interface and built-in eligibility assessment for all qualifying applicants.

2024 Board of Trustees 

The foundation announced its 2024 officers and board of trustees, diversifying representation across industry segments. It includes, from left, Julienne Smith, IHG Hotels & Resorts’ chief development officer, as the new chairperson of the board; Anu Saxena, president and global head of Hilton Supply Management, as vice chair, and Jonathan Stanner, president and CEO of Summit Hotel Properties, as secretary/treasurer.

The AHLA Foundation named Julienne Smith, IHG Hotels & Resorts’ chief development officer, as the new chairperson of the board, replacing Tom Bardenett of RLJ Lodging Trust, the statement said. Bardenett transitions to immediate past chair. Anu Saxena, president and global head of Hilton Supply Management, serves as vice chair, while Jonathan Stanner, president and CEO of Summit Hotel Properties, acts as secretary/treasurer.

“I am thrilled and honored to step into the role as chair of the AHLA Foundation,” said Julienne Smith. “The Foundation’s work focuses on the single most important thing in our industry – supporting our people, who are the heart of our hotels and who make hospitality a fantastic career path.”

The foundation also appointed three new members to the board of trustees: Amber Asher, CEO of Standard International; Kevin Osterhaus, president of Graduate Hotels; and Harry Javer, founder & president of The Conference Bureau.

“Supporting the hotel workforce, the people at the heart of this industry, is at the center of AHLA Foundation’s work,” Blue added. “Our board plays a vital role in advancing our mission, and the leadership and guidance of these industry leaders will set the stage for deeper impact and even greater reach.”