Washingtonians Help Raise Nearly $3 Million at DC Gala

November 13, 2006

On November 11, the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Chapter held its 7th annual Breath of Life Gala, Presented by FBR at the National Building Museum, which raised nearly $3 million—making it the most lucrative event for charity in the region. Other fund-raisers have had a larger gross number, but no other event directs more money to its intended cause.

The black-tie event—led by Master of Ceremonies, 60 Minutes correspondent, Scott Pelley—began with an exclusive silent auction and cocktail reception, followed by a three-course meal and a performance by R&B duo, Ashford and Simpson. Guests also sampled delectable sweets from the amazing blue and white dessert buffet, while sipping the event’s signature drink, "Breathetinis."

During the popular live auction, guests had a chance to bid on a 10-day trip to Antarctica with Pelley and the crew from 60 Minutes, who are traveling with top research scientists to report on the effects of global warming. Pelley greeted the two winning bidders, who each paid $125,000 for the trip, with brand-new parkas in preparation for the one-of-a-kind expedition. Pelley would later top the evening off with his own generous donation to ensure that the gala reached its $3 million goal. Unique to this year’s event was "Club Breathe," which opened at 11 p.m. and featured live entertainment in a special nightclub setting.

This is the second year that the CF Foundation has partnered with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey to present this event. J. Rock Tonkel, the president and head of investment banking for FBR, has been instrumental in ensuring the event’s success.

During the evening, Warren M. Thompson, founder of Thompson Hospitality Corporation, was honored with the 2006 Hitchcock Humanitarian Award for his commitment to the Foundation. Each year, the award is given to an outstanding member of the community in honor of Alfred Hitchcock’s great granddaughter, Melissa, who had cystic fibrosis and passed away several years ago.

“With the help of people like Warren and Rock, we believe we can make a difference in the lives of people with CF,” said Don Wood, gala chairman and president and CEO of Federal Realty Investment Trust. “In just the past 12 months, the life expectancy has gone up two years to 37 years old. We are getting closer to finding a cure every day, but for the children with CF, including my own 10-year-old daughter Rachel, the clock is unrelenting. The Breath of Life Gala is a critical element in helping find that cure.”