Children’s Ball 2014

The Children’s Ball, a fundraiser to benefit the Children’s National Medical Center, was held on Friday, April 11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC. The Ball was co-chaired by Yousef and Abeer Al-Otaiba (the UAE Ambassador and his wife) and Amy and Bret Baier.  There were over 900 people in attendance with a lengthy waitlist as well.

Thanks to the wonderful co-chairs, the Ball broke a DC fundraising record and raised $10.7 million for Children’s National Medical Center. The live auction included a Labrador puppy (which our children were strictly banned from bidding on).  Yousef announced at the end of the live auction that he had called the Crown Prince of the UAE and the Foreign Minister on his way to the event, and both agreed to contribute $1 million each.  And as a final surprise for the guests, Jennifer Hudson performed for the crowd, including a stunning rendition of one of my favorite songs, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (better known as one of the songs on the Shrek soundtrack).  🙂

Jim is Chair of the CNMC Board of Directors for another 2 months and 9 days, and this is one of our favorite events of the year.

Here is our family at the Ball:

Children's Ball 2014

Children’s Ball 2014

The kids also got to invite their friends. Here is our daughter’s group (minus one):

Jade & her friends

Jade & her friends at Children’s Ball 2014

And here is our son’s group of friends:

Marcus & his friends

Marcus & his friends

You can learn more about Children’s National Medical Center at

Hobbesian Choice

We were presented with the dilemma of the following choices:  (i) 7 5th grade boys (10-11 years old) at a black tie event for Children’s National Medical Center; and (ii) 20 8th grade girls (13-14 years old) at a Taylor Swift concert.

As a practical matter, there was no choice in the matter.  Jim is Chair of CNMC, so his presence was a requirement at the Children’s Ball.  Fortunately, I enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, and the concert was quite fun.  As it turned out, a great time was had by the boys, who all cleaned up quite nicely.

Children's Ball 2013

Children’s Ball 2013

And a fabulous time was had by all the girls.

Taylor Swift concert 2013

Taylor Swift concert 2013

The only complaint I had was that I had underestimated the frequency and pitch of the squealing by 8th grade girls.  My eardrums may never be the same!

Children’s National Medical Center

I am going to try and do a blurb for every non-profit that we are involved in over the next several weeks.  Today’s topic is the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.  Yesterday, we attended the annual “Christmas in Washington” production.  This production has been going on for 30 years and is generally attended by the First Family.  This year’s performers were Cee Lo Green, Victoria Justice, The Band Perry (yay!), Justin Bieber (the girl-child went wild), and Jennifer Hudson (who blew us away with her vocal talent).  The event raises money for CNMC every year.  The tremendously impressive thing about CNMC is its somewhat bifurcated mission.  It accepts any pediatric patient, regardless of the child’s family’s ability to pay.  In Washington, DC, where over 30% of the children live in poverty (defined as $22,000 for a family of 4), it is so important to have medical care available to the most vulnerable of our population.  At the same time, Children’s is on the cutting edge of pediatric research in a variety of areas.  Both these missions take an enormous amount of money to accomplish, and fundraisers such as “Christmas in Washington” are so helpful in meeting the needs of Children’s.

I am, of course, biased, as Jim is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Children’s.  🙂  That being said, for a children’s hospital to treat those in need with limited ability to pay and be on the cutting edge of pediatric research is unusual and an amazing accomplishment.  You can find out more about Children’s at