Washingtonians have a benevolent spirit. When we give, it’s in a big way. Gala and charity events at $1,000 per person do not turn donors away. That spirit brings out their pocket books for round-trip, first-class tickets to Paris, week-long excursions to Cape Cod and Georgetown Cupcake parties for their children and 20 of their closest friends. You might think the charity circuit in this town is all about the allure that comes with the ball gown or the whispers of which politico or celebrity will be seated near or at your table To some degree, you might be right, but it doesn’t take $1,000 to give or make an impact for a deserving charity.
Donors, both big and small, accounted for more than $346 billion in charitable donations last year, according to Atlas Giving, a company which forecasts giving trends each month across the United States. Atlas found that individual donors within the U.S. accounted for 75 percent of giving in 2011, followed by foundations at 13 percent, bequests at 7 percent and corporations at 5 percent. In 2012, the company predicts that philanthropic giving is expected to grow by nearly four percent to $360 billion.
The nation’s capital is filled with charitable organizations of all sizes which are worthy of our attention and dollars. That is what this new column, “The Beltway of Giving,” is all about: highlighting worthy causes and their signature fundraising events that bring in the dollars to keep programming at full capacity. We will report on such deserving non-profits as the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative which provides more than 30,000 D.C. public school students and their teachers with free arts experiences and transportation each day to shows at the Washington Ballet, Shakespeare Theatre, Kennedy Center and more as well as fundraising powerhouses like Share Our Strength working to eradicate hunger by 2015 across the nation. SOS has raised almost $350 million over 20 years to fund food and nutritional grant programs in local communities. These are just two examples of the D.C.-based charitable groups, making meaningful contributions within the Beltway and beyond.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Louise Kennelly, executive director of the D.C. Collaborative, and Debbie Shore, co-founder of Share Our Strength, both of whom will be profiled, along with their organizations in our next column. The D.C. Collaborative and Share Our Strength will host two top fundraising events this spring. Taste of the Nation 2012 is Share Our Strength’s largest revenue-generating event of the year: 85 of D.C.’s most notable chefs and mixologists from the metropolitan area, including Volt, Rogue 24, Citronelle and Graffiato, will join local foodies at the National Building Museum on April 2. (Tickets, $95 to $150 — http://taste.strength.org. The D.C. Collaborative will host its Second Annual Patriotic Arts Celebration at Lincoln Restaurant, April 25. Guests will enjoy Lincoln’s signature bites, performances from D.C. public schools students and soundscapes from DJ Jahsonic. Tickets, $25 — www.dcahec.com
If you have a notable charity or event that you believe should be featured, we want to hear from you. Email: email@example.com
Jade Floyd is a managing associate at a D.C.-based international public relations firm and has served on the board of directors for the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative for nearly five years. She is a frequent volunteer and host of fundraising events across the District, supporting arts, animal welfare and education programs.
Giving Radar: Upcoming Events You Can Support
February 29: Film Screening of Dark Girls, benefiting the Paul Public Charter School hosted by the Duke Media Foundation, Black Benefactors, Black Philanthropic Alliance and Jackson and Associates Group. Tickets, $25 to $50 — theconversationwomenofcolor.eventbrite.com
March 3: Washington Project for the Arts 2012 Art Auction Gala and dinner with chef Barton Seaver, including live and silent art auction with works by Billy Colbert, Ken Aston, Sondra Arkin and Joan Belmar. Tickets, $300 — http://auction.wpadc.org
March 13: Everybody Wins!, D.C.’s largest children’s literacy and mentoring program, 17th Annual Celebration Gala, with David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group, as keynote speaker. Tickets, $150 — www.everybodywinsdc.org