This morning, the JW Marriott hotel announced that Virginia businessman Earl W. Stafford, 60, purchased the million-dollar “Build Your Own Ball” package—which comes with 300 rooms, four suites, $200,000 in food and beverages, and a heated rooftop tent to watch the inaugural parade—and intends to give it away to more than 100 veterans, disadvantaged people, terminally ill patients, and others.
Stafford will be adding an additional $600,000 to his tab for a breakfast, luncheon, and two balls at the hotel. He’ll also help out his guests with items such as tuxedos, gowns, makeovers, and more if needed. Stafford plans to recruit sponsors to help chip in for the additional costs. He’ll reward their philanthropy with his remaining rooms at the hotel.
Stafford snatched up the package within hours of Obama’s election and has paid in full. The New York Timesreports:
He said he was “led” to the idea by the Lord, although when it first occurred to him in March, he said, it wasn’t fully crystallized. He said he wanted to help people who have worked hard and done everything right but who find themselves without a job or home.
“The hope is that this will be contagious, that others will say, ‘I can do a little good, I might not be able to hold an inaugural ball or celebration, but I can do something for my neighbor without condition, without return,’ ” he said.
The recipients of Stafford’s gift have not yet been selected.