On Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association will host the 2015 Greater Washington Region Heart Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event will run from 6:30 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.
Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Government Solutions, is the 2015 DC Heart Ball Chairperson, and WashingtonExec recently spoke with her about her role with AHA and what guests can look forward to at this year’s Heart Ball.
WashingtonExec: What made you want to take a leadership role in this particular organization and this particular cause?
Kay Kapoor: I have been a supporter of the American Heart Association for quite a while now. It is highly personal for me. My father suffered from heart disease for over a decade and it claimed his life just a few months ago. Last year, when the Heart Association approached me to ask if I would consider taking a more active role, specifically as Chair of the Heart Ball, I was honored to accept. Heart disease touches many people on many levels, making it a cause that is both universal and personal at the same time.
WashingtonExec: There are plenty of worthy non-profits in the DC region. Do you know where the money goes once it is raised from the event? Does it go towards research or local programs?
Kay Kapoor: Eighty-six cents of every dollar raised from the Heart Ball goes directly to mission-related expenditures for the American Heart Association. The money goes to cardiovascular research as well as education and increasing awareness among the population, including women and young people.
WashingtonExec: What do you think differentiates the DC Heart Ball from the other black ties in the area? What should we look forward to?
Kay Kapoor: It is our 17th Annual Heart Ball, and it serves as a finale to Heart Month. The theme this year is French, specifically “Joie de vivre” – which is loosely translated to mean “joy of living”. There will be French entertainment, French food and wine, and even a live auction package to Paris and to Bordeaux. It is going to be a very fun event.
We expect to have about 500 attendees including industry leaders, government leaders, and philanthropists. It is going to be a great event for networking and an opportunity to socialize with friends and colleagues.
One of my favorite portions of the evening is “Heart Heroes”, where we will honor the military and support organizations.
Our guest of honor this year is Chelsea Clinton and we are very excited to have her join us.
WashingtonExec: You have a little less than a month until the event. How are your fundraising efforts going? What do you have to say to organizations that might not have gotten involved yet or who want to get involved in the last minute?
Kay Kapoor: We still have available tickets and plenty of opportunities for additional sponsorships. We are a little bit ahead of where we were last year with sponsorships but we have a goal to hit and we are trying to close the gap to it. We truly welcome sponsorships from other companies.
It is a great cause for companies to support. Heart disease impacts many people. In fact, one-in-three adult Americans are impacted by heart disease. Most everyone can relate to it. Companies can increase heart disease awareness among employees by sponsoring. To get involved, people should go to www.dcheartball.com, which also provides details on partnership opportunities.
WashingtonExec: What else would you like our readers to know about the American Heart Association and the Heart Ball?
Kay Kapoor: The American Heart Association has committed more than $145 million to research projects and $45 million to community services. Those numbers are a good reflection of how they judiciously allocate money for lifesaving research.
Heart disease claims more than 375,000 lives each year in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 babies are born with a heart defect each year in our country.
These are the types of statistics that make us sit up, take notice and want to learn more about healthy lifestyles and do something about it, like giving to the AHA. There are at least 375,000 reasons each year to give to the Heart Association.
There is also a great opportunity for young people to get involved in the Heart Ball event. We have an after-party called “Heart after Dark.” It allows young professionals to join the party and the fun at 9 p.m. Tickets are only $100 each and the party goes until 1 a.m.
As I mentioned, Chelsea Clinton is involved this year. She is co-chair of the Clinton Foundation and they have created the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She is a strong supporter of the Heart Association and she recently spoke at the Go Red for Women campaign in New York City. It is also well known that her father suffers from cardiovascular disease. Her family has benefited from the work that the Heart Association does.
Related: SAVE THE DATE: DC Heart Ball, Feb. 28, 2015, Hosted by the American Heart Association; DC Heart Ball Deputy Chair Rob Franklin Discusses AHA’s ‘Open Your Heart Campaign; Chairing the DC Heart Ball: Anybill’s Matt Voorhees Divulges About Feb. 22 Event; American Heart Association’s Dr. Todd Villines Divulges about Upcoming DC Heart Ball on Feb. 22