Leukemia Ball Co-Chair Candy Duncan on Corporate Citizenship & The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Candy Duncan, Leukemia Ball

Candy Duncan is managing partner at KPMG and this year’s co-chair of the 26th Annual Leukemia Ball. The ball will be held this coming Saturday, March 23rd, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Duncan will be Senior co-chair for the 2014 year, and hosts the Ball alongside James H. Davis, Ph.D., J.D. Former Executive Vice President of the General Counsel and Secretary, Human Genome Sciences.

Duncan spoke with WashingtonExec about why she finds corporate citizenship so vital, how she became involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), how the Ball is new this year, what the target goal is in terms of raising money, and more.

WashingtonExec: Why is corporate citizenship important to you?

Candy Duncan: It is very important to KPMG to be involved in a number of different community events and activities. We have a lot of people here, about 1,800 in our Washington Metro Area offices, and we are constantly meeting individuals who are impacted by leukemia and lymphoma. The research that is conducted with the dollars that are raised has a high percentage of funds that go directly towards the mission. The Leukemia Ball has a very thin overhead structure and that’s beneficial, and secondly, the effectiveness of dollar flow to research is absolutely key. A lot of people don’t know that leukemia is the number one cancer killer of children under the age of 20 in the U.S.

WashingtonExec: What made you want to take more of a leadership role with The Leukemia Ball and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)?

Candy Duncan: I really wanted to be involved because I knew it was a way that not only KPMG, but a number of the other corporations we actively work with, to have a role and be involved. The executive committee that I chair along with Jim Davis, the former Executive VP and General Council and Secretary of Human Genome Sciences, is roughly 50 high-ranking executives representing major corporations in the DC-area. Not only KPMG, but General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Sallie Mae, it goes on and on. It’s a great way for all of us to come together.

A lot of people don’t know that the Ball was actually started 26 years ago by the accounting profession. At that particular time, it was more than the “Big Four” firms it is today. The accounting professionals all came together because they had individuals within their companies who were impacted by leukemia and lymphoma.
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“It was really a grassroots effort that has grown to be one of the most visible fundraising events in the Washington, D.C. area.”

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WashingtonExec: Could you elaborate on how much money you plan on raising this year and if you’re on target?

Candy Duncan: We have a goal of $3.1 million. Every day we are getting closer to that goal. The night of the event we have a “mission moment,” and our contributions will come from within the room and we expect that to total more than $100,000. The silent auction has some wonderful packages that people will have a chance to bid on, and that is something budgeted to raise approximately $300,000-350,000. The table sales, the sponsorships, the donations, and also the raffle tickets we sell really add up. Two Mercedes are part of the raffle—with the grand prize being a 2013 GL450 4MATIC SUV and the first prize vehicle being a 2013 C250 Sport Sedan. Only 5,000 tickets are printed, so buyers have a 1 in 2,500 chance to win. There are also corporate sponsorships, so we’re very blessed to have very generous people here in the Washington community. I’m very proud to be involved with LLS and this event.

During my career at KPMG, I have managed teams and managed projects. This is really a matter of helping the LLS staff, the volunteers, in different ways, by gathering people together, setting goals, and then marching towards accomplishing those goals. I personally find that very rewarding, and I think it’s especially rewarding when it goes to such a good cause.

WashingtonExec: What is new about this year’s Leukemia Ball?

Candy Duncan: The entertainment. We have comedian Dana Carvey, and the Jim Belushi and the Sacred Heart Band. The food will also be phenomenal.
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“It’s really going to be a very good time. I think we’ll be in for just a spectacular event!”

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WashingtonExec: Are tickets still available?

Candy Duncan: Companies and individuals interested in participating in the ball can go here. Companies and individuals can still buy tables, buy raffle tickets, volunteer, or make a donation.

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