The Beltway of Giving: A Gift of Philanthropy



The trees are trimmed, the lists are made and the holiday party planning is underway, but what some might call the most wonderful time of the year can be a hardship for others less fortunate. The good news is that 24 percent of U.S. households report that they give during the holiday period according to Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, a time when many organizations need the most support.

I’ve spent this year coining the Beltway of Giving to encourage each of you to make giving a part of your life throughout the year. We’ve introduced you to some well-deserving non-profits and advocacy organizations across the District, from Fair Chance to Brain Food, and many more.

To conclude the year, I thought it was appropriate to ask the most charitable ladies I know in D.C. – businesswomen, mothers, social butterflies and philanthropic mavens who commit to giving 365 days a year through their charity work and fundraising for organizations – what local nonprofits they will support this holiday season and why. These women are giving the gift of philanthropy.

“I plan to support the Washington Jesuit Academy. There are so many issues concerning the plight of young men of color and they do an excellent job preparing them to be positive citizens. They engage men across the city to support their efforts through volunteerism. Most people lead busy lives and these men are committed to helping young boys excel in school.” Christal Jackson, Share Our Strength

“I am passionate about the DC Metro Chapter of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Inc. We have a direct impact on children in our community. Without us, the children we serve would not have school supplies during the school year or gifts at Christmas.” Nicole Venable, Bockorny Group

“Cancer Prevention is a year-round journey. It is important to remember, even when the weather gets cold, and we’re not running around on the beach. Just a $10 donation can cover the cost of a prostate exam or $25 a skin cancer screening. The Prevent Cancer organization provides information on the eight preventable cancers and holiday contributions can help us stop cancer before it starts!” Katherine Kennedy, Availor Group

“Lucky Dog Animal Rescue rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and D.C. They have partnered with low-income and rural area shelters to save hundreds of highly-adoptable dogs that are euthanized each month due to overpopulation problems. The organization does not have a shelter so they solely rely on the volunteers to foster the pups until they are released to a good home. I truly believe in the organization, there is nothing better than saving the life of a defenseless, loving animal!” Lydia Arshadi, Capitalize LLC

“Young Invincibles, led by D.C. resident Aaron Smith, is an organization that seeks to amplify the voices of young, low-income Americans and expand opportunity for the millennial generation. They developed a free mobile app to help persons, aged 18 to 34, take control of their health, wherever they may be. They are one of the winners of the director’s choice prize for the IGNITEgood Huffington Post millennial impact. Many organizations are investing in engaging millennials, but few are tackling the issues facing millennials on a national level. YI is doing that and doing it well.” Natalie Braga, Ignite,
“I support the Adventure Theater – Musical Theater Center in Glen Echo, Maryland – the oldest children’s theater in the D.C. area. They recently celebrated 60 years, and not long ago, produced their first African American play ever – Mirandy and Brother Wind. The play is part of their African American Adventures series, created by the theater’s director after he discovered the theater had never produced a black children’s play.” Tracey Webb, Black Gives Back

“The Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation was founded by Michael Sapienza who lost his mother Christine to the disease. Since its inception, the foundation has fought from a grassroots level against this preventable cancer, starting in D.C. and expanding to other major markets. A few little known facts are that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined and that colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer.” Pamela Lynne Sorensen, Pamela’s Punch

“I work at CityDance as a dance and production instructor. What inspires me the most about CityDance is the high level of quality attained in all our departments. From our Community Programs, which span 24 sites in the area, to our School and Conservatory at Strathmore, which is home to nearly 500 students, CityDance aims to create opportunities to present, teach and educate about all genres of dance, at all levels, to our community, through our broad range of programs.” Sarah Ewing, City Dance.

“I support Horton’s Kids because they are an organization that nurtures the dreams and desires of children. I think success messages are very important to mental stability. Horton’s Kids makes sure that kids in Ward 8, one of DC’s most underserved communities, are confident and well rounded by exposing them to opportunities and programs.” Adra Williams, Otim Williams

“The Junior Council of Children is the perfect avenue for young professionals in our city to engage in philanthropic efforts. More importantly, it is a group in support of Children’s National Medical Center, where no sick child is ever turned away regardless of their ability to pay.” Amanda Burke, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Jade Floyd works for the Case Foundation and is a frequent volunteer and host of fundraising events across the District supporting arts, animal welfare and education programs.

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