Leukemia Ball Sponsorships Jump 25 Percent, Event Raises $2.8 Million

By D. Channing Muller March 15, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

Photo: Tony Brown/Imijination Photography

Nearly 2,000 people headed to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual ball. Hosted by the National Capital Area chapter, the organization’s largest fund-raiser of the year experienced a 25 percent increase in sponsorships across three donation levels, leading to the gala raising $2.8 million, just shy of its $3 million goal.

“We have a committee of 60 [corporate representatives at senior levels] who’ve worked since September leveraging their relationships in the community to secure tables, sell raffle tickets, and bring in silent-auction items,” said the chapter’s executive director, Donna McKelvey, who has worked on the ball the past six years.

The organization once again used BidPal wireless devices for guests to electronically monitor and bid on the more than 400 silent-auction items, throughout the reception and early into the main program; the auction brought in $300,000. Top sponsor Mercedes-Benz also returned for its 15th year, sponsoring the annual raffle by donating two 2011 cars. The 600 raffle tickets printed sold for $1,000 each, and the winners were chosen at the end of the night. 

Former Supreme Diana Ross served as the night's big-name entertainment, with a 75-minute performance. accompanied by a full band on the main stage at the end of the evening. (Last year's headliner was Jay Leno.) Prior to her hitting the stage, NBC's Last Comic Standing season two winner Jeff Heffron entertained from the smaller stage in the middle of the dining tables.

Hargrove Inc. worked with DC Rental and independent floral designer Jennifer Dolan to adorn the third-floor ballroom of the convention center in a fuchsia, magenta, and amber palette. Fucshia and magenta linens draped the tables, which Dolan topped with one of six different centerpiece arrangements. Color-coordinated lighting reflected around the room by mirrored disco balls added to the ambience.

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