Beautiful fall weather, the chance to meet face-to-face with charity representatives and a little star power all made for an excellent turnout Oct. 7 for the Combined Federal Campaign’s annual kickoff event, hosted this year by the National Institute of Mental Health.
NIMH organizers wearing tie-dye shirts welcomed hundreds of NIH’ers to a tent set up between Bldgs. 31 and 33. Staff from several nonprofits well-known to the NIH community such as the Children’s
Inn, Friends of the Clinical Center, the Foundation
for NIH, Special Love and Really Awesome Times stood side-by-side with representatives from groups such as the Audubon Naturalist Society, A Wider Circle, EarthShare, Youth for Tomorrow and Partners in Health. Everyone brought messages to share with potential supporters.
Following opening remarks by NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel and NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, Michael Curtin Jr., CEO of D.C. Central Kitchen, offered his impressions on giving to nonprofit
“The decision to give is very personal and I urge you to take those decisions very seriously,” he said, suggesting
that NIH givers perhaps redefine for themselves
what donating means. “Don’t think of it as charity. Think of it as a community-based business. You are making an investment in your community. Demand a return on that investment.”
The event had an extra sparkle with the addition of 6-year-old Kaitlyn Maher of Ashburn, Va., who 2 years ago, at age 4, appeared as one of 10 finalists
on the program, I. With a voice that belied her age, Maher sang the National Anthem, God Bless the U.S.A., and later, with Collins on guitar, Over the Rainbow.
Visitors to the event grew silent and stood on tip-toe to see the tiny girl with the enormous voice. Maher, who Collins said “brightens up every space she enters,” smiled as the duo finished their song, adding a meek “thank you” into the microphone
before stepping off the stage and back into child mode, skipping around the event tent.
Another event—Margaritaville—continued the kickoff’s enthusiasm on Oct. 13. A beach-like atmosphere, complete with NIH-style “Parrotheads,” set the stage behind the Neuroscience Center on Executive Blvd. Slushies and lemonade were available as was information on several organizations that benefit from the CFC.
This year’s goal for NIH’s CFC effort is $2.3 million, which accounts for nearly half of the $5 million goal set for the whole Department of Health and Human Services.—
At a makeshift Margaritaville, clockwise from above:
Representatives from various organizations that will benefit from CFC donations offer information about their missions.
Several attendees don wild spectacles to mug with Marc Rosenberg, the “Lemonade Shakin’ Guy.”
NIMH’s Toni Boswell exchanges an exuberant hug with Rosenberg.
Jessica Schwartz (l) and Theresa Tolbert, both of NIMH, volunteer at the event’s bamboo booth/luau hut.