The 29th Annual Leukemia Ball, presented by PhRMA, will be held March 12, 2016, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Ed Offterdinger, Executive Managing Partner at Baker Tilly, and Wayne Berson, CEO of BDO will co-chair the event.
WashingtonExec spoke with Offterdinger about what attendees can expect, how small businesses can get involved and how the money raised supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your role in this year’s gala? What are you most looking forward to?
Ed Offterdinger: This year I am the Senior Co-Chair, completing my two-year term as chair. My main roles are to fundraise and rally the executive committee members to help us accomplish our goals. I’m working with an amazing group of executives and the outstanding team at LLS. Together, they’re a powerhouse group of people dedicated to the fight against blood cancers.
WashingtonExec: How have your fundraising efforts been going for this year’s black-tie?
Ed Offterdinger: Fundraising efforts this year are coming along steadily. Each year is different based the economy and a variety of other factors, so it’s important to keep working it until the very end. I feel good that we can meet our goals with this last push leading up to March 12.
WashingtonExec: Suppose you are a smaller business interested in getting involved with this year’s gala. What are ongoing ways to get involved?
Ed Offterdinger: There are many ways to get involved. You can purchase a table, but if that isn’t an option for a smaller company, you can purchase individual tickets. We have folks do that all the time, and we put together full tables — it’s a great way to connect. You can also simply make a donation, purchase or help sell raffle tickets for our Mercedes-Benz raffle or donate something to the auction. If you connect with LLS, they will find a way to get you involved! All the information can be found here.
WashingtonExec: If I understand correctly, most of the funds from the gala go toward research in the region, is that correct?
Ed Offterdinger: LLS research grants have funded many of today’s most promising advances, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies. Many treatments discovered as a result of LLS funding are now the standard of care for non-blood cancers. This funding also supports the training of the next generation of cancer researchers. LLS invested $67.2 million in fiscal year 2015. LLS is funding approximately 300 research programs around the world. While some of these are in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, we strive to fund the best and brightest researchers around the world. In addition to the research funded by LLS, they also invest in patient programs and advocacy.
WashingtonExec: The LLS Gala is a premier black-tie event in D.C. What makes it so special? What makes the Ball stand out among the other black ties in the region?
Ed Offterdinger: The Leukemia Ball was started 29-years-ago by Washington area accounting professionals and is now one of the largest non-political black tie events in D.C. It’s attended by many of the top companies and executives in the metropolitan area. We have an inspirational program that shows the difference LLS makes in the cancer community. We also have some great entertainment – this year we have comedian Kathleen Madigan and music by the Barenaked Ladies. Quite simply, the Leukemia Ball stands out because it is a first-class, fun event for a very important cause. It is worth noting we will raise more than $3 million, which also makes it stand out as one of the most successful fundraisers of its kind.
WashingtonExec: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? Will you all be raffling a Mercedes like in year’s past?
Ed Offterdinger: Yes, we are again auctioning two Mercedes-Benz — a GL300 4MSATIC SUV and a C300 4MATIC Sports Sedan — generously donated by all the Mercedes-Benz dealers in the Washington Metropolitan area. Personally, I’m looking forward to two things: meeting our fundraising goal and hearing one of my favorite bands – the Barenaked Ladies!
To learn more about the Ball and how you can attend, click here.