Miss A Columnist

Laura Swanstrom Reece is a sixteen-year resident of the Washington Metropolitan area, she is a philanthropist and fundraiser at heart. With experience in corporate and grass-roots fundraising, event production on an Olympic scale, and volunteer management, this entrepreneur and member of The Washington Ballet Women's Committee is passionate about supporting the arts and other non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to make change in our nation's capital and beyond.

How to Get Involved in Washington, DC’s Charity Circuit

Earlier this year, Andrea responded to a Lonely Social Butterfly on how to meet new people in DC and get involved in the community.  Ask Miss A’s answer was spot-on, and encouraged this newcomer to reach out to alumni groups and local charities.

I  thought I’d delve further into this subject and offer a listing of local social groups and charity organizations for consideration.  Please note, this list is not exhaustive, so feel free to comment and add your own ideas!

The Madison: A professional, civic, and social organization of 100 women in the DC area, representing a range of careers, who seek to improve their communities and enhance their lives through volunteerism. Membership is available to those who possess a college degree, are between 21 and 30 years old, live in the DC area, and who have never been married. Applications for membership in 2011 will be accepted beginning in December 2010.

Fashion for Paws: F4P is an exciting program that infuses the nation’s capital with cutting- edge high-fashion and luxury lifestyle brand events, drawing an extraordinary crowd of VIPs, fashion and animal lovers alike, all benefiting the Washington Humane Society. The annual runway event occurs in the spring, and more intimate events are hosted year-round. For more information on how to become involved, contact Exec. Dir. Tara De Nicolas at TdeNicolas@washhumane.org.

Blondes vs. Brunettes: Since 2005, Blondes vs. Brunettes, the powder-puff football game featuring Washington social butterflies, has raised more than $150,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter. With the participation of Washington DC’s most prominent young leaders, they’ve raised awareness while raising funds to continue to provide services and programs to area residents. This is a fantastic way to make friends, stay fit, and help an important organization.

Washington Ballet Jete Society:  This group of energetic and fun young professionals aged 21 to 45 are eager to support the ballet and have a great time.  Events include an annual Dance Party and Beer and Ballet happy hours. Membership begins at $50 and offers invitations to special events and reduced ticket pricing.  Contact Jessica Malcom jmalcom@washingtonballet.org or 202-362-3603 x114 for more information. 

Smithsonian Young Benefactors:  YB is one of the largest museum-based philanthropic organizations for young professionals in the nation. Members are culturally engaged, active young professionals who support the Smithsonian through fundraising and volunteer activities. Membership starts at $70.  For more information contact Kathleen Caggiano at kacagg78@aol.com.

Corcoran 1869 Society: Sophisticated and exciting programs combined with extensive networking opportunities—all against the backdrop of the Corcoran’s beautiful galleries—make 1869 Society membership an unparalleled experience. Membership starts at $125.  For more information, call the Membership Office at (202) 639-1753 or email 1869society@corcoran.orgimage

Phillips Collection Contemporaries: The Contemporaries host frequent events that emphasize educational, social, and networking opportunities.  Membership starts at $125. For more information, contact the Membership Office at membership@phillipscollection.org

Junior League of Washington: JLW is comprised of more than 2,200  volunteers dedicated to improving the community through effective action and leadership. JLW makes a difference by supporting adult, children’s and cultural literacy initiatives in the greater-DC area through hands-on volunteering and fundraising efforts that support the important work of community partners. Women 20 years of age or older are encouraged to apply for membership.  All prospective members must have a sponsor. Contact join@jlw.org or 202-337-2001 for more information.

Captial Alumni Network:  CAN serves the DC area college and university alumni chapters and alumni from schools for which there is no local chapter by creating an environment to satisfy their education, networking, public service, social and athletic goals.  CAN hosts one of the best ways to view Gold Cup and has fantastic softball and flag football seasons.

Success in the City: SITC serves women who stand out, lead and influence others by offering programs and events that help members develop long-lasting peer relationships. Annual membership is $350 and offers access to networking, special discounts on member services, speaker series, special events, and more. For more information call 202-747-1782  x100 or e-mail info@successinthecity.org

Single Volunteers of DC: An amazing group of dedicated, energetic and caring single professionals from the DC area who are interested in devoting their time and energy to improving the quality of life in their communities through volunteer work. You must be single and 21 years of age or older. You cannot be married, or currently in a committed relationship. If you are unable to enter into a dating relationship, you shouldn’t consider this as an option. No membership fees.  Just sign-up online.

Greater DC Cares:  Greater DC Cares works with a network of more than 750 nonprofits, 17,000 volunteers and a host of corporate and foundation partners working together to positively impact the region. Projects range from assisting at the Capital Area Foodbank to GED/SAT Tutoring to working with Pediatric AIDS/HIV patients and more.   For more information, email volunteer@greaterdccares.org or call 202-777-4447.

Martha’s Table: This non-profit helps at-risk children, youth, families and individuals in the DC area to improve their lives by providing educational programs, food, clothing and enrichment opportunities.  Volunteers are critical to the success of Martha’s Table and help with food distribution and preparation, driving, tutoring and other activities. To learn more about volunteer activities or to schedule a time to volunteer contact Zarinah Hameen at 202-328-6608 x 212 or volunteer@marthastable.org

So Others Might Eat: SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that helps the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. The organization meets the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing and health care.  SOME helps to break the cycle of homelessness by offering services, such as affordable housing, job training, addiction treatment, and counseling, to the poor, the elderly and individuals with mental illness.  A Junior Gala is hosted annually to help raise funds for services.  Complete the volunteer application on-line, e-mail web@some.org or call 202-797-8806.

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