Friday, May 04, 2012

Celebrating Russert style...

Luke Russert

by contributor Courtney Cohen 
Photo credit: Boys & Girls Club

It was an incredible evening honoring The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington at the 27th Annual Tim Russert Congressional Dinner.

While the official honorees included such luminaries as Rep. Donna F. Edwards and Pepco’s Joseph M. Rigby, the real stars of the evening were the children, encouraged and introduced by Master of Ceremonies Luke Russert. 

Although the giant ballroom was packed, Russert’s warmth and passion for the Boys and Girls Clubs was contagious and definitely made the large event more intimate.  Telling his own family’s history from his father and grandfather’s memberships at the Buffalo, NY clubs, Russert said,  “As the Russerts moved up in the world I was a member of the Georgetown Club.” 

Maureen Orth and Tim Russert

As we are ending the school year, Washington’s Chapter President and CEO Pandit F. Wright told the audience that this evening’s event was to focus on summer camp.  

The BGCGW offers an incredible summer of activities and classes including a wonderful week in the woods. It’s all about building on the work that happens during the school year. 
After listening to Ryan Washington, the 2012 Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington Youth of the Year (who everyone in the room expects to be a future DC Mayoral candidate), Russert re-took the podium to focus the audience on raising money to send these deserving kids to camp. 

He asked for a text message number to be put up on the big screens with a caveat- everyone who donates will see their donation and a message up on the big screen!  Soon the donations started appearing with one couple making their $1,000 donation with this message: “Luke- you should meet our daughter!”

Once the dinner of beef tenderloin and crabcake wrapped up, Representative Donna Edwards received her award with her own stories promoting Boys and Girls Clubs imploring the audience, “I come from a non-profit world. Dig deep!”
Ending the evening 10 minutes before the designated time of 9:30, Russert had one more fundraising trick up his sleeve. He started a live auction for 2 Nationals games and a live viewing of Meet the Press. In just minutes Russert raised another $3,000 for this wonderful organization.  

Boys and Girls Club Evening: