Everybody Wins! DC 2009 Gala

What: Everybody Wins! DC 2009 Gala

Where: Capitol Hilton.

When: Wednesday, March 11, 5:30 to 9:30 PM.

Who: Special guests included keynote speaker General Colin Powell, who stressed the importance of this nonprofit organization’s commitment to children’s literacy and how we need to teach our children to master the English language. Powell was introduced by Blake Snyder, a fifth-grader at Ross Elementary School (whose favorite books include Artemis Fowl and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life). Senators Dick Durbin and Tom Harkin, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Congressman Jim Moran, and former Washington Post columnist Bob Levy all made an appearance.

Tickets: From $150 for individual tickets to $50,000 for superintendent sponsors (three premier tables at dinner).

Food: Hors d’oeuvres were served during the reception and silent auction by waiters who walked throughout the hall with platters of mini-quiches, chicken wings, and bite-size meat pastries. Dinner consisted of a green salad, salmon filet, and chicken breast with mashed potatoes and veggies. Dessert was a small piece of chocolate lava cake on a plate of white-chocolate sauce and fresh berries.

Drink: Open bar during the reception, with both white and red wines along with mixed drinks and a selection of bottled beer. Coffee accompanied dessert.

Scene: During the reception, the Felix Contreras Ensemble performed as guests enjoyed beverages and walked around tables filled with silent-auction items. These ranged from autographed Washington Capitals memorabilia, jewelry, art pieces by Normal Rasfol, a painting by Senator Edward Kennedy, tickets to the Elton John/Billy Joel Face-2-Face Tour Concert, a one-week vacation at the Killington Grand Resort in Vermont, a Sony E-Reader, and two sessions with a personal trainer from Fitness First.

Nationals mascots George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt entertained and mingled with guests, providing the chance to get a candid Polaroid shot with them. As the Presidential Ballroom was opened for seating, the crowd made its way to tables decorated with a centerpiece of children’s books and metallic, star-shaped balloons hovering above. Children from the Robert Brent Elementary School Choir performed a series of songs as dinner was served. Powell and Secretary of Education Duncan then praised the mentors, contributors, and organizers of Everybody Wins! DC for their commitment to promoting children’s literacy. Awards included the National Mentoring & Literacy Award, the Principal Award, the Corporate Leadership Award, and the Minnon Friedman Mentor of the Year Award, presented to John Fish of Reynolds American.

Auction: Besides the many tables filled with items ranging from wine packages to pearl necklaces, the live auction held the most excitement of the night. Items included a winetasting by Paul’s Wine & Liquor in the bidder’s home with music by Nova Winds; 26 seats in a suite behind home base when the Nationals play the Phillies; lunch with Congressman Jim Moran; and a trip to New York City, with a stay in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and a day of beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue. The most coveted item was a dinner with Bob Woodward, former Washington Post editor and one of the nation’s preeminent investigative journalists, which finally sold for $2,200.

Ratings:
Bold Face Guests: 3 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 3 (out of 5)
Food/Drinks: 3.5 (out of 5)
Overall Exclusivity: 3.5 (out of 5)

Total Score: 13 (out of 20)

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