After some 30 years, Fight For Children‘s signature annual fall fundraiser, Fight Night, threw its last punch on Thursday evening, with a blowout final bash that packed the ballroom of the Washington Hilton hotel.
Since its inception in 1990, Fight Night has raised approximately $70 million for underserved children in the DC region. The nonprofit’s mandate is to ensure access to quality early childhood education and to improve academic achievement in K-12 schools.
Founder Joe Robert, Jr., who passed away in 2011 from brain cancer, created a juggernaut over the years that drew thousands of the city’s notables. The evening basically sold itself (at a hefty $5,000/pp ticket price no less) by combining a championship boxing bout with a swanky dinner and popular musical performance.
Senators, governors, billionaire CEOs, and stars of film and television all made appearances. John Legend performed in 2013, for example, thanks to Under Armour Founder & CEO Kevin Plank, who served as event chair that year. And years before the blockbuster film Black Panther made actor Michael B. Jordan a household name, he and director Ryan Coogler could be spotted ringside in D.C. in 2015 promoting their first collaboration, Creed, which successfully rebooted the Rocky franchise.
Many of the iconic elements from past years that helped make Fight Night so memorable returned last night for a final round, including the heaping slabs of steak served tableside, the smell of Cuban cigars permeating the room, and world-class networking.
2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick served as the headlining entertainer and didn’t disappoint as the boxing ring transformed into a makeshift concert stage, complete with thousands of cheering fans. Leaving nothing to chance, event organizers went the extra musical mile though and also brought in Grammy-winning hip-hop group Naughty by Nature to close down the after party long past midnight.
Call it a TKO by a fun night. A fun Fight Night that is…