The American Red Cross in the National Capital Region will host the “2016 Salute to Service Gala” from 6-8 p.m., Nov. 19 at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner. This year’s event is in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War II.
The annual black-tie tribute is the largest fundraising event of the year. Funds raised are transformed into services delivered every day. Hundreds of military, government, corporate and community leaders will gather for an inspirational evening that supports area programs.
Red Cross volunteers provide critical services on bases and in military hospitals around the world, and in support of military families during deployments and emergencies.
WashingtonExec talked with Doug VanDyke, general manager, U.S. federal civilian and nonprofits, Amazon Web Services’ public sector, about the upcoming gala.
WashingtonExec: How would you describe your role in this year’s Salute to Service Gala? What are you most looking forward to?
Doug VanDyke: I serve as the Salute to Service Gala Committee co-chair along with Becky Shambaugh of Shambaugh Leadership. In my role, I help run our committee meetings, support the American Red Cross National Capital Region team, and keep the committee focused on making sure the event will be a success. Our goal as a committee is to raise money through sponsorships and tables sales by promoting the event. Ultimately, we are there to spread the mission and great work of the American Red Cross.
This is my first year supporting the event, and I can’t wait to see the committee’s hard work pay off. In honor of the 75th anniversary of America entering World War II, this year’s event will feature vintage photography, video and entertainment from the war, illustrating the importance of our country’s “Greatest Generation.”
WashingtonExec: How have your fundraising efforts been going for this year’s gala?
Doug VanDyke: I’m pleased to say we’ve already had a lot of success fundraising. Some of our sponsors to date include: The J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Northrop Grumman Corp., Pyramid Systems and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. I am very excited that the company I work for, Amazon Web Services, will be a Platinum Sponsor this year, along with ICF. We are working on bringing in new sponsors who haven’t been a part of our gala before so that we can share the mission and work we do in our community.
WashingtonExec: Why is it important for businesses to get involved in the Salute to Service Gala?
Doug VanDyke: This event is really all about the great mission of the American Red Cross. At the gala, we salute the service of the men, women and families in the military and our community who help prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. Funds raised at the gala are critical for the Red Cross services delivered every day in our community – whether after a disaster, in supporting our armed forces and their families, or providing lifesaving blood. It is important that businesses who are in this community understand the importance of supporting an organization with such a great mission.
WashingtonExec: What are ongoing ways for a smaller business to get involved with this year’s gala?
Doug VanDyke: We have a number of different sponsorship levels, ranging from the $50,000 presenting sponsor level to a half-table sponsorship for $2,500, with many options in between. Small businesses can purchase their own table, which comes with 10 seats, two spots in our exclusive VIP reception, and a number of marketing benefits for $5,000. Tickets are also available for $400 each and a double-ticket package option is available for $900, which includes two tickets to our VIP reception.
WashingtonExec: What differentiates the Salute to Service Gala from other the black-tie events that we will see this season?
Doug VanDyke: A unique aspect of our gala this year is that instead of the traditional silent and live auction, we are going to have a wine auction. We will be auctioning off wine lots, winery tours and experiences, and selling wine in our wine-grab bag promotion. Also, at our VIP reception, we will have a wine tasting where guests get the opportunity to test out different wines from Virginia – new world and old world – and hear from a local winemaker, Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars.
We will also be presenting our Lifetime of Service Award to Norm Augustine, our Tiffany Circle Distinguished Woman Warrior Award will be presented to Jaspen Boothe, and our Exceptional Service Award will be presented to Michèle Flournoy.
For more information on gala, or to purchase a ticket or sponsorship, click here.