Raul Fernandez wears many hats. He serves on a variety of Boards, is Chairman and CEO of ObjectVideo, a private technology company that develops video analytics software for automated security surveillance, and serves as Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, a private partnership which owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and owns and operates the Verizon Center.
More than 20 years ago, Fernandez started his career in the technology sector when he founded Proxicom in 1991. The company went public in 1999 and was sold in 2001 to Dimension Data, a U.K. listed technology company based out of South Africa. The firm had grown profitably to more than $200 million in revenue, had offices in the U.S. and Europe and had close to 2000 employees.
Fernandez, a native Washingtonian, is an active philanthropist in D.C. regional non-profits, focusing his energy primarily on educational reform. He serves as Chairman of Fight For Children, an independent, non-profit organization that serves low-income kids in Washington, D.C. WashingtonExec recently spoke with Fernandez about Fight For Children’s annual Fight Night event, the programs the charity serves, what he’s most looking forward to at this year’s Gala.
WashingtonExec: What led you to become Chairman of Fight For Children?
Raul Fernandez: It was important to me to continue the great work Joe Robert started when he founded Fight For Children. Joe worked hard to benefit low-income children in D.C. for more than 20 years. As chairman, I want to continue that work. The need is still there and with Kevin Plank and Under Armour chairing this year’s Fight Night, we are expanding our efforts, aiming to help at risk youth in both D.C. and Baltimore.
WashingtonExec: How has the planning for Fight Night been going? What is something you are most excited about?
Raul Fernandez: Fight Night 2013 is going to be bigger and better than ever. With Kevin Plank and Under Armour’s support, we’ve been able to take Fight Night to the next level. And that includes our fundraising goal; we want to raise a record-breaking $3 million for Fight For Children at Fight Night 2013. There will be both silent and live auctions, a world-class music headliner and elevated boxing bouts. I don’t want to give away any big surprises, but this year’s Fight Night is not to be missed. There is a lot that is new in 2013.
“We give local children have a better chance at a better education. That’s what Joe Robert wanted when he started Fight Night and that’s the legacy we are working hard to continue”
WashingtonExec: Where has money raised from Fight Night helped local low-income children?
Raul Fernandez: Money raised at Fight Night helps Fight For Children support essential programs that provide education and healthcare services to children in need. Fight Night has benefited organizations across D.C. including Children’s National Medical Center, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, DC College Success Foundation and DC Public Education Fund.
This year, we’re Uniting the Fight – money raised at this year’s Fight Night will benefit low-income children’s education and healthcare programs in both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
WashingtonExec: Which boxing legend are you most excited about who is attending Fight Night this year?
Raul Fernandez: Well, again I don’t want to give anything away, but with the support of Under Armour this year, we will have a variety of legends! Not only from boxing world, but from a variety of sports. It’s going to be a very exciting year!
WashingtonExec: How can you sign up or donate to this event? Why this event over others?
Raul Fernandez: Fight Night is a legendary D.C. event that has raised millions of dollars for local children over the past 24 years. It’s not just a good thing to do, but it’s also an amazing night of camaraderie, entertainment, boxing and fundraising. It brings together sports legends, leaders in business and government and celebrities, all for a great cause.
It’s easy to attend, sponsor or donate to Fight Night 2013. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-772-0436. We know this year’s Fight Night will sell out fast so we’re encouraging people to sign up early.
WashingtonExec: What is something most people don’t know about Fight Night?
Raul Fernandez: I know people love this event for the exciting evening it is, but I’m not sure people know how much this one evening benefits children in D.C. I know a lot of attention is paid to the boxing and entertainment but I hope people have a real understanding of what the evening means to the D.C. community – and this year, the Baltimore community.
We give local children have a better chance at a better education. That’s what Joe Robert wanted when he started Fight Night and that’s the legacy we are working hard to continue.