Trust for the National Mall’s Women’s Committee Hosts the 6th Annual Luncheon & Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Invests $10 Million in National Mall Restoration
The Trust for the National Mall held its 6th annual Benefit Luncheon under huge white tents on the Mall last Thursday. Assembled only a day after Central Park’s highly coveted luncheon, this fancy hat and and proper topper affair is hosted by the Women’s Committee. Roxanne Little was the Capital Chair and Leslie K. S. Fogg, the National Chair this year. The sellout crowd consisted of table and corporate sponsors, Congressional VIP’s and numerous supporters of the Trust and the good work it does, as well as friends of John E. Akridge III (aka “Chip”), the founder and leader of the Board.
It’s such a lovely civilized experience, one must at some point in his or her life attend this luncheon. There is no more lovely and patriotic American venue to hold such an engagement than on the Mall, with under 70 degree crisp weather (yet again), bright skies, and yellow sun, with the Capitol as white as can be against the blue on one end and the Washington Monument on the other … well, it makes one pause and remember how proud one (she) is to be in this country.
This year’s theme was apparently American Revolution and our Founding Fathers, so we were greeted by well, probably Martha Washington and saw more than enough men in three pointed hats (you almost were expecting to see Paul Revere galloping through the tents – wouldn’t that have been a sight), and portraits of heroes of that time, of course of our first president. The cocktail hour tent was filled with men in bowlers, fedoras and women, well if not fascinators, then huge wide-brimmed hats, some hand made, some home made, some produced by top of the line haute couture designers. It was a show. One could stand in corner, be a wall flower and really, truly enjoy the parade.
Chip Akridge gave some remarks, we sang the National Anthem, we heard from the National Park Service and we moved into the adjacent tent for lunch. The setting was straight out of the 18th century (my mother’s dream) and we were treated to a three course from Design Cuisine: a baby vegetable and kale salad, then morello cherry glazed game hen, followed by a fantastic buttermilk pound cake, all with wine.
During the meal, we heard from Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust, and the Honorable Kenneth Salazar, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior and truly one who has been more than a kickstarter for the Trust. The keynote came from Jonathan Browning, President & CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc, who announced they will pledge a whopping $10 million to National Mall restoration.
As always, we left with an umbrella as a token of appreciation and anticipation of next year’s luncheon.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.