News & Politics

Power 150: Health, Science, Philanthropy & Religion

Washington's most influential people in health, science, philanthropy and religion


Thomas Cech. Nobel winner and president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he runs the area’s wealthiest nonprofit.

Francis Collins and Craig Venter. The two who mapped the DNA code are biotech stars—Venter at his new Rockville company attempting to create alternative fuels from microbes, Collins at NIH applying DNA research to medicine.

Tony Fauci. Head of infectious-disease research at NIH, where his funding has more than doubled since 2000.

Martine Rothblatt. United Therapeutics, her booming Silver Spring company, could become Washington’s biotech flagship.

Ken Samet. The former head of Washington Hospital Center has taken over the reins of the seven-hospital MedStar network.

Knox Singleton. Inova Health’s CEO for 23 years, he’s made it the dominant healthcare presence in Northern Virginia.


Carol Thompson Cole. The longtime high-ranking DC official now runs the philanthropy begun by Mario Morino, Raul Fernandez, and Mark Warner.

Terri Freeman. President of the Community Foundation, which handed out more than $90 million in grants last year.

Sidney and Jane Harman. Big arts backers. The Shakespeare’s new 775-seat theater, opening this month, carries their name. She’s in Congress; he is selling his audio and electronics company for $8 billion.

John Hendricks. Patron saint of local soccer, he’s also a supporter of the Library of Congress.

Jim Kimsey. The former AOL exec’s foundation is active in DC’s public schools and neighborhoods, and he’s a regular supporter of Georgetown University, the Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Opera.

Robert and Arlene Kogod. The two are part of the Charles E. Smith family’s real-estate dynasty. Kogod gifts have put their name on American University’s business school and, more recently, parts of Signature Theatre and the Smithsonian’s Donald Reynolds Center for American Art.

Jaylee Mead. She and her late husband, Gilbert—heir of a paper-company fortune—have given an estimated $50 million to Washington theaters, sparking a building boom.

Edward Orzechowski. His Catholic Charities is the area’s largest private social-service organization, serving 120,000 in poverty.

Catherine Reynolds. She stirred controversy with strings-attached gifts to the Smithsonian—pledges since withdrawn—but spreads millions to local arts, education, and health groups.

Joe Robert. A real-estate entrepreneur whose annual Fight Night—where power brokers don tuxedos and smoke cigars—delivers millions for children’s education and healthcare.

Roger and Victoria Sant. Among their recent gifts: $10 million to the National Symphony, $10 million to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and $9 million to the Phillips Collection.

Robert and Clarice Smith. The couple—he’s son of the late developer Charles E. Smith—has pledged at least $45 million to the University of Maryland in the past decade. His name is on the business school; hers is on the performing-arts center.

Stacey Stewart. Though Fannie Mae closed its foundation, Stewart—head of its charitable giving—is still a big presence.

George Vradenburg. The retired AOL exec spearheaded fundraising for the Phillips Collection’s recent addition. He also leads charity efforts for Alzheimer’s as well as several regional planning efforts.


Bishop John Chane. Oversees the 45,000-member Episcopal Diocese and its local institutions—the Washington National Cathedral, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans.

Susan Gelman. With husband Michael, she’s a big player and contributor in the Jewish community—also a top candidate to head the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

H. Beecher Hicks Jr. Pastor for 30 years of the 140-year-old, 6,000-member Metropolitan Baptist.

Imam Mohamed Magid. Head of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, which serves 5,000 families, and a charismatic leader in interfaith efforts.

Reverend Lon Solomon. His McLean Bible megachurch has a $90-million facility, powerful conservatives as members, and increasing reach in Northern Virginia.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl. Installed in 2006, he leads 580,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, which runs three hospitals, three colleges, and more than 100 schools.