By Tara de Nicolas, Fashion for Paws Executive Director, Washington Humane Society
American singer, actress, and family personality Marie Osmond adopted an all American mutt at the 6th Annual Fashion for Paws (F4P) Runway Show benefiting the Washington Humane Society (WHS) at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC on April 14. The star named her new pup George, after her late father George Osmond who passed away in 2007. WHS partnered with ABC 7-WJLA to welcome the star to one of the most highly anticipated annual DC charity events, designed by sponsor Syzygy Events International. Notable guests such as E! News Anchor and F4P Host Ashlan Gorse, CNN Correspondent and environmental advocate Philippe Cousteau, and Redskins Tim Hightower were wowed by the breathtaking event décor. Walkways on the runway were bedecked in flowers by Edge Floral Event Designers and accents of pink, yellow, and orange draping hung throughout the event space catered exclusively by sponsor Design Cuisine. The intricate lighting, sponsored by Digital Lightning, cast a glow of neon and pastel shades of color, in the theme of a Miami sunset.
Since the event’s February 6 fundraising launch at the Jefferson Hotel, F4P models, sponsors, and committee members raised more than $725,000 for WHS, exceeding the 2012 goal of $625,000. F4P has raised $196,000 more in 2012 already than in 2011, making a total of $2.2 million raised through F4P since 2007 for WHS. The funds raised yearly by F4P have become critical in supporting the work and mission of WHS. The only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the U.S., WHS has been the DC area’s leading voice for animals since 1870. As the open-access shelter in the nation’s capital, WHS provides comfort and care to nearly 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering, adoption, low-cost spay/neuter, humane law enforcement, lost and found, human–animal therapy programs, and humane education for at-risk youth in city schools.
This year, the top F4P female fundraiser, Nikki Burdine, broke the record for individual funds raised in the female category, bringing in $43,710 in just nine weeks. The top male fundraiser, Mark Rothman, also broke the record for the male category raising $18,550. Both female and male top fundraisers received a nine-liter bottle of champagne by sponsor Moet & Chandon Imperial. The models wore fashions from top designers from Tysons Galleria including: Elie Tahari, Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, Basler, Karen Millen, Aram, and Vineyard Vines. This year doggie couture was organized and presented by Wagtime LLC, who also handled the doggie backstage area with 60+ model dogs walking the runway. Toka Salon & Day Spa sponsored all of the hair needs of our two-legged models and make-up was provided by Bride Makeover.
In 2007 we set out to create a simple little fashion event, and six years later we are proud to say we’ve created a movement with F4P changing the face of philanthropy in the nation’s capital! We have proven that a small group of dedicated people with a common goal can make an incredible difference in our community. We are truly grateful for the help of everyone involved in F4P over the years, from our 2007 Event Co-Chairs, Andrea Rodgers and Heather Guay, to our 2008-2009 Chairman, Michael J. Saylor, to our 2012 Event Co-Chairs, Michelle Benaim, Tommy McFly, Dr. Ashley Hughes, Sara Trab Nielsen to WHS Board of Directors member Amanda Polk, who all inspired us all achieve our goals to support WHS in this remarkable way. F4P would not be what it is today without the support and generous in-kind sponsorship of Syzygy Events International and contributions of Partner/Senior Designer Marielle Shortell, who has designed and assembled the event since 2010. Syzygy Events International, along with fellow sponsors Digital Lightning, Design Cuisine, Tysons Galleria, Wagtime, and Edge Floral Event Designers, among many others, donated a combined total of more than $350,000 in 2012 for set design, production, lighting, sound, staging, food, flowers, and more. There is no doubt that this event has become such a success thanks to their impressive support, help, and guidance. Thanks to such tremendous in-kind sponsorship support to produce the event, “Pawing it Forward” for F4P, WHS has been able to make a real impact in the community thanks to the funds raised. In 2011, WHS Field Officers (Animal Control & Humane Law Enforcement) responded to nearly 15,000 calls, while the WHS team provided low-cost spay/neuter services to more than 7,200 cats and dogs, vaccinated approximately 8,000 animals, micro-chipped more than 1,000 animals, and the WHS Humane Education program worked with more than 1,700 students and adults at schools, workplaces, career fairs, and special community events.
As we plan for 2013, the goal and stakes will be even higher for F4P; we’ve moved into new territory. All of the fun, glitz, and glamour of F4P plays a real and meaningful role in supporting the mission of WHS. Our goal is to now streamline and restructure F4P to build a sustainable philanthropic business model of the future, evolving what we have created so far into a more practicable product. An important part of what fuels F4P is the volunteer team of committee members and fundraising models. Over the next year, we will work to reorganize and adjust the processes we’ve put in place, allowing us to build on our best practices and tweak the functions that we’ve outgrown. F4P may have already begun to change the face of philanthropy in DC, but now the real work begins for us as we implement new techniques in build on our model to lead us toward the next phase of our development and success.
Please be sure to “Like” Fashion for Paws on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter, and visit www.fashionforpaws.org. Want to see what Fashion for Paws is all about? Check out our Mission video: http://youtu.be/UpHlAJo_Mvs.
Runway Show Sponsors Included: Syzygy Event International, Digital Lightning, Design Cuisine, Audi of America, Georgetown Cupcake, Danaher, Nave & Associates, Moet & Chandon Imperial, Jefferson Hotel, bisnow media corp, Kim Crawford Wines, Centurion Group DC, Cherry Blossom Events, Mars Foundation, SVEDKA Vodka, UBS Private Wealth Management/Will Finnerty, Edge Floral Event Designers, Washington Fine Properties/Nelson Marban, ABC7-WJLA, Alliance Interactive, Fresh FM, Tysons Galleria, Toka Salon & Spa, The Aba Agency, Qatar Airways, Reston Limousine, Teatro Goldoni, Bride Makeover, RNDC, Cities Restaurant, Onomonomedia, PamelasPunch, Wagtime, Thiero & Associates LLC, Moshe Zusman Photography, THE Artist Agency, FIDM, George, Atlantic Valet, Pink Berry, Pretzel Crisps, Love Pops, Professional Bartending School, CA Indoor, Renu Med Spa, My Truck Buddy, Uber.