2019 Leukemia Ball Co-chair Richard Bynum: ‘Find a Way to Give Back Meaningfully’


Richard Bynum

Later this month, some of the most high-profile — and generous — business leaders will gather for one of the most prominent charity events in the Washington, D.C., area: the 2019 Leukemia Ball.

The black-tie event, which raises millions for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s National Capital Area Chapter, will be held March 16 at the Marriott Marquis in D.C.

Richard Bynum, president of PNC Financial Services Group for the greater Washington area and the co-chair of this year’s event, leads an executive committee of more than 40 business leaders in the region tasked with putting on this year’s event.

The event features entertainment by comedian Kathleen Madigan, musical performances by O.A.R., a silent auction, a special drawing to win a 2019 Mercedes-Benz — and a big fundraising goal: raising $3.25 million.

In this Q&A, Bynum discusses his commitment to philanthropic work, the vital medical breakthroughs LLS fundraising has helped bring about and, yes, how you can go about getting your hands on that brand-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Sedan.

You spent 12 years as a senior leader at the American Red Cross and have served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including 100 Black Men of Washington DC., the Thelma Lovette YMCA branch in Pittsburgh, and Chicago’s Youth Service Project. How has your commitment to philanthropic work developed during your career?

I’ve been fortunate to have two great careers during my professional life. Both have benefited me by allowing for the leverage of my strengths at work every day. At the same time, I’ve been pushed to grow and develop in numerous ways over 20+ years. I’ve been lucky. It’s important that people like me, those who have been lucky, find a way to give back meaningfully. I’m a big believer in,”To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Tell us more about the 2019 Leukemia Ball. What’s the fundraising goal for the ball? How will these funds be used by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

This is the 32nd year of The Leukemia Ball. It is the largest nonpolitical fundraising event in the greater Washington area and will be held on March 16, 2019 at the Marriott Marquis in D.C. Our goal this year is to raise $3.25 million for LLS’ core mission to cure blood cancers and support patients and their families.

Blood cancers are currently the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. The Leukemia Ball is a fantastic way to support the cause of eradicating this horrible disease and celebrating the incredible accomplishments that have been made toward finding a cure.

For example, last year alone, there was a groundbreaking 18 new Food and Drug Administration-approvals for blood cancer treatments. LLS has invested more than $100 million over just the past five years with a focus on beating Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After a 40 year drought in the approval of new therapies for this lethal disease, the sixth treatment option in the last two years was just approved for AML.

These new treatments are in addition to the Beat AML Master Clinical Trial, the groundbreaking precision medicine study in which multiple targeted treatments are being tested for newly diagnosed AML patients in cancer centers across the country.

Why did you take on the co-chair role for this year’s Leukemia Ball?

I’ve been on the executive committee for the LLS Leukemia Ball for the last couple of years and really thought that it was time for me to support the effort at a leadership level. My co-chair Tom McCarthy with Akin Gump and I have really had a blast working with the team this year.

How can local small businesses get involved? In what other ways can individuals or businesses help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

We have a few tables left for March 16 and individual tickets still available. We are also putting the final touches on the silent auction and packages from small (and large) businesses are always the bestsellers. If you attend the ball, there are terrific items for all tastes and interests.

Lastly, we are lucky to have a terrific partnership with Mercedes-Benz and the drawing for a brand-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4MATIC Sedan is still underway. To enter the drawing, visit the Leukemia Ball website.