Butterflies light up the dance floor - Photography by Susannah McPhelim

2013 Fair Chance Butterfly Bash

Photo credit Susannah McPhelim.

With gala season in Washington now in full swing, last Friday night marked a “battle of the balls” as several organizations put on their headlining fall fundraising parties. Rather than split the evening between a few different events, I headed to Fair Chance’s Butterfly Bash–a favorite every year–for an entire evening of cocktails and philanthropy.

Fair Chance was founded in 2002 to ensure that children living in poverty have access to quality programs that will enable them to follow their dreams. In free, year-long partnerships, Fair Chance identifies promising community-based youth and family organizations in Wards 5-8 and works with them to increase their organizational capacity and improve the effectiveness and sustainability of their programs.

Butterfly Bash is a personal favorite because you really feel like the money you donate is going to a good cause, not some bureaucratic black hole where dollars are locked up in red tape and administrative costs. Instead, Fair Chance can point to endless success stories, many of which were told during a promotional video, which are both heartwarming and encouraging.

Fair Chance has made a measurable and real difference in the lives of children in Washington, D.C. in seven years, including helping our partner organizations raise more than $2 million in new funds. This year’s event broke new records in attendance and revenue raised. Butterfly Bash Co-Chairs Eleanor Maguire of McLaughlin Ryder Investments, Inc. and Dr. Ida Bergstrom of Farragut Medical and Travel Care led a host committee of 185 committed champions in raising $350,000 (more than $50,000 of which was raised in a ten-minute “flash cash” appeal at the event).

Jane Korhonen, Partner at Brown Advisory, was honored for her work supporting DC’s children through years of volunteerism. She stated: “Their (Fair Chance’s) impact is durable, their approach is repeatable, and they are harnessing the power of compounding… If Fair Chance is successful in bringing more nonprofits through their program and each of those organizations can scale or at a minimum become more effective, the number of children that they will reach can grow at a much faster pace. The need exceeds the capacity to serve. I am urging you to join me in supporting Fair Chance; an organization that I believe is relevant, certainly sustainable and part of the solution to ensuring that all children have a fair chance for success.”

For more information about Fair Chance, see their website.

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Everybody Wins! Annual Gala

We dropped by the annual Everybody Wins! DC Gala, held at the Capital Hilton, to hobnob with some of the District’s most philanthropic names.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder and CEO Ted Leonsis served as the keynote speaker the 18th Annual Gala March. CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar emceed this exciting evening as EW!DC celebrated the inspiring work of students, mentors and partners.

The owner of the Washington Capitals, Mystics, Wizards and Verizon Center, Leonsis has built an impressive career as an Internet pioneer, venture capitalist and published author. Notably, his charity network has supported nearly 400 local non-profits like EW!DC, where team and arena employees have volunteered in the Power Lunch program over the past decade.

The evening, aptly titled, “Open Books, Open Doors” celebrated the tremendous impact of literacy and mentoring on our society. Beginning with a silent auction that featured exclusive sports memorabilia, dinner on the Odyssey and a luxury travel package to St. Lucia, the evening also featured a seated dinner and a live auction.

EW!DC partners with the area’s top organizations, federal agencies and Congressional offices to serve over 4,500 students in 40 low-income elementary schools – making EW!DC the largest literacy organization in the metropolitan area.

Everybody Wins! DC (EW!DC) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting children’s literacy and a love of learning through shared reading experiences with caring individuals. The U.S. Senate helped launch the Power Lunch program at Brent Elementary School in Washington, DC on March 7, 1995. During the2012-2013 school year, EW!DC will operate programs in 41 low-income public elementary schools, enriching the lives of more than 4,500 children in underserved communities throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.

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St. Jude Gourmet Gala

Note: these photos are terrible. The event was not! See St. Jude’s official website for professional photos that were not taken on an iPhone.

Washingtonians ascended upon the stately National Building Museum to celebrate and honor St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at the Gourmet Gala. The evening was emceed and opened by Richard C. Shadyac Jr., ALSAC CEO, beginning with the story surrounding the founding of the hospital:

“Show Me My Way”

These words were prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron-saint of hopeless causes, by Danny Thomas, a cash-strapped young entertainer with a pregnant wife. Thomas pledged that if he could make it through this difficult time, he would build a shrine to honor the saint.

Thomas later went on to be a nationally-known entertainer, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the fulfillment of his vow. The Gourmet Gala, now in its 15th year, has raise $3 million toward the hospital, which provides care to children with cancer and other ailments free of charge, and is celebrating 50 years of research and treatment. St. Jude relies primarily on the public’s generosity to support its lifesaving mission, with more than 75 percent of funding coming from fundraising events like the Gourmet Gala. Families never pay St. Jude for anything, including the cost of treatment, travel, lodging and food for each patient and a family member. And in keeping with its mission to save every child battling cancer and other deadly diseases, St. Jude openly shares research discoveries directly with doctors and scientists across the world.

The Gourmet Gala is rightfully festive, serving as one of the largest fundraisers for the hospital at $350/ticket. Guests are greeted with a cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres, as well as a lively brass band playing New Orleans faves. The standard bar libations like wine and beer are available, but mixologists were also on hand to create specialty cocktails that make Gourmet Gala a standout event for foodies every where. Our faves were the Amari Trio Punch from Vinoteca, which was a mellow, drinkable not-to-sweet, not-too-boozy, cocktail served in highballers with a sprig of thyme that opened up perfectly as you took your first sip, as well as a delectable, much boozier winter-perfect cocktail from Lima and Barcode, which featured sloe gin, squash tonic, and a garnish of winter squash.

Following the reception came remarks and a heart-warming video about the mission of St. Jude. The live auction was hosted by Celebrity Apprentice contestant and Sam Solovey, known for his quirky, punchy commentary and rather eccentric tendencies. In other words, the ideal auctioneer.

Then came the tastings. The National Building Museum is one of Washington’s largest event spaces, and it’s a good thing–check out the complete list of restaurants that were at the event. Our favorite, which turned out to also be the general crowd’s favorite, was Bourbon Steak‘s incredible pastrami sandwich with mustard and a pickle. This won Chef Adam Sobel, who also happened to be the Honorary Chef Chair of the gala this year, not only bragging rights, but also a beautiful Breitling watch, the purse of this year’s challenge. Guests voted on their favorite dish by dispensing jewels, keeping in theme with Mardi Gras, which were given out during registration.

Other standouts? We loved Wolfgang Puck’s The Source‘s spicy ahi cones (and we can’t believe the chefs weren’t hungover from the amazing champagne and dumpling event the night before!) and pig head carpaccio with leeks and truffle mustard (we’re adventurous!) from Blue Duck Tavern. Guests took home Georgetown Cupcakes as their swag, and it was the perfect evening to celebrate Mardi Gras, children’s health, and the hard work and vision of the people at St. Jude.

Little Black Blog St. Jude Gourmet Gala

D.C.’s Top Chefs Lend Culinary Skills at 15th Annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala

Little Black Blog St. Jude Gourmet Gala

WASHINGTON January 15, 2013 – Philanthropists and foodies unite at the 15th annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala presented by Hanover Research on Feb. 12 in Washington, D.C. Guests will satisfy their palettes while supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, one of the world’s premier centers for the treatment and research of childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.

 

Date:                         Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Time:                        5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. EST

Location:            National Building Museum

401 F Street, NW

Washington, D.C.

 

More than 40 top chefs from the area’s finest restaurants will lend their culinary skills to create a memorable experience for more than 750 business, financial and political leaders at this event hosted by Honorary Chef Chair Adam Sobel of Bourbon Steak.

 

“It has been an incredible year planning the Gourmet Gala” said Peter Dodge, Hanover Research’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s a pleasure to be part of the largest St. Jude event in the D.C. area, but the real honor is in helping to raise critical funds for the children battling life-threatening illnesses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

 

Guests will vote for their favorite dish of the evening, and the winning chef will receive the Taster’s Choice Award. Last year’s winner was Chef Victor Albisu from BLT Steak who prepared lobster and Kobe beef empanadas. Attendees also participate in live and silent auctions, featuring one-of-a-kind items such as a trip to Memphis, Tennessee to tour St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

To date, the St. Jude Gourmet Gala has raised approximately $3 million for the hospital, which is celebrating 50 years of research and treatment. St. Jude relies primarily on the public’s generosity to support its lifesaving mission, with more than 75 percent of funding coming from fundraising events like the Gourmet Gala. Families never pay St. Jude for anything, including the cost of treatment, travel, lodging and food for each patient and a family member. And in keeping with its mission to save every child battling cancer and other deadly diseases, St. Jude openly shares research discoveries directly with doctors and scientists across the world.

The following D.C. area restaurants will present delicious tastings at the 15th annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala:

 

 

Adour

Al Dente Ristorante

Art and Soul

Avalon Caterers

Azur

Barcode

BGR The Burger Joint

Bistro Bis

Bergen

Black Salt & Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

BLT Steak

Blue Duck Tavern/ Park Hyatt

Bourbon Steak

Brabo

Brasserie Beck’s

Buffalo

Café Atlantico

Cake Love

Central Michel Richard

Charlie Palmer

Chef Geoff’s

CityZen

CommonWealth

Eamonn’s

Equinox

Estadio

Firehook

Founding Farmers

Georgia Brown’s

Graffiato

Hanks Oyster Bar

Harth

Indique

Indique Heights

International Trade Center –

Ronald Reagan Building

J. Paul’s

J&G

Jaleo

Kaz Sushi

Lebanese Taverna

Lia’s

Lima

Majestic

Marcel’s

Masa 14

Matchbox

Minibar

Mussel Bar

Neyla

Old Glory BBQ

Oyamel

Pabu

Paola’s Ristorante

Peacock Café

Potomac’s Founding Farmers

Proof

PX

Restaurant Eve

Restaurant Nora

Ris

Rogue 24

Santa Lucia Estate Coffee

Sou’wester

Taberna del Alabardero

Table

Taco Bamba

The Capital Grille

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Third Edition

Vidalia

Vinoteca

WestEnd Bistro

Wildwood Kitchen

Willow

Wit & Wisdom

Woodward Table

Zaytina

42 Degrees

 

 

 

 

Tickets for this year’s Gourmet Gala are now on sale for $350 per ticket or $3,500 for a table of 10 (all tickets are tax-deductible). Corporate sponsorships are also available, starting at just $2,500, with ads starting at $250 for a tax-deductible donation. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, contact Daniela Romero at (800) 336-3083 or visit www.stjude.org/gourmetgala.

 

Sponsors of the 2013 Gourmet Gala include Hanover Research, the Heisley Family Foundation, Airbus Americas and Everfresh.

 

For more information about fundraising efforts in the Washington, D.C. area, visit www.facebook.com/stjudemidatlantic and follow us on Twitter at @StJudeGourmet.

 

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting www.stjude.org or following us on www.facebook.com/stjude and www.twitter.com/stjude.

 

# # # #

Contacts

Hannah Dolby (Media Only)

Sage Communications

(703) 584-5651

hdolby@aboutsage.com

 

Daniela Romero

ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office

(800) 336-3083

daniela.romero@stjude.org

Candy cigarettes outlawed in Minnesota

I think the best part of this is the Facebooker’s comment:

“I just got through a bag of gummy bears. Now I can’t stop thinking about where to find a REAL bear to eat!”

Hysteria.

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Daily Caller reports on this important and much needed anti-candy legislation:

In an effort to stop youngsters from picking up a tobacco habit, city inspectors have ordered as small Minnesota soda shop to stop selling its popular candy cigarettes and bubblegum cigars.

According to the Star Tribune, Lynden’s Soda Fountain pulled the fake smokes after officials said the store would face a misdemeanor citation and a $500 fine for noncompliance.

A 2009 city ordinance bans the sale of imitation tobacco items to children.

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DC SCORES Inspired Art Gala

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Washingtonians gathered for a night of philanthropy, poetry, and sports–an unexpected combo to say the least–at the District’s gorgeous Carnegie Institute for the Inspired Art Gala by DC SCORES. The event honored D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen with the Inspiration Award for his leadership in the Washington, DC community that inspires the athletic growth of District youth.

DC SCORES builds teams through after-school programs for over 800 low-income DC youth at 27 schools by instilling self-expression, physical fitness, and a sense of community. The evening featured a reception followed by a live performance by students in a poetry slam, which allowed students of the DC SCORES program to showcase their poetic sides. The performance kicked off with a musical and spoken word number by Carolyn Malachi, who wore a stunning dress by  by MAVEN, a label owned by Gennet Purcell. She was styled by Monica Barnett of Blueprint for Style.  A silent auction and tasting tables with delicious cocktails and hors d’oeuvres also kept guests entertained throughout the evening.

All in all, the gala raised over $77,000 for DC SCORES. Sponsors included American Beverage Association; Amor, LLC; CIT Group; Clark Construction; DC Magazine; D.C. United; DIRECTV; Merrill Lynch; Volkswagen Group of America; and Walmart.