Everyone working with Meryl Streep at the “Our Nation’s Daughters”gala at the Mandarin Oriental was singing her praises: “down-to-earth,” “gracious,” and “passionate about our nation’s need to honor its women.” The event launched a petition asking Congress to pass a bill it has ignored for seven years: to permit the National Women’s History Museum to buy a tract of land for a brick-and-mortar building. Speaking of the many heroic, unsung American women, Streep cited Deborah Sampson, the first woman to take a bullet for our country, told of her bravery as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and asked, “Do your sons and daughters [even] know Deborah Sampson’s name?” The Academy-Award-winning star – who many critics regard as America’s greatest living actress – puts her cash where her passion is. She is donating a cool $1 million to the museum’s building fund.
LAST KISS OF SUMMER
Ludy Green, founder of Second Chance Employment Services, put together another smashing Last Kiss of Summer gala to benefit the charity. With an excellent Four Seasons dinner, a hot band, and a ready-to-party crowd, mostly twenty- or thirty-somethings, the scene was additionally enhanced by many long-stemmed beauties, mostly blondes. Britt McHenry, a sports reporter at ABC7/WJLA-TV and TBD TV (formerly NewsChannel 8 ) was master of ceremonies; the guest speaker was another tall blonde, Katie Hnida, an author and activist for the evening’s cause of providing help and employment for at-risk women and their children. Green, SCES’s founder and a longtime champion of women’s issues, has held both state and federal appointments, and was named U.S. delegate to the Global Summit of Women in 2008 in Hanoi, in Chile in 2009 and China in 2010. Washingtonian magazine crowned her Woman of the Year in 2008. Event chairwoman Betty Thompson, of Booz, Allen, Hamilton, spoke of the charity’s successes, and Cynthia Carter, one of the more than 500 women who have been helped by SCES, spoke movingly of the changes in her life the group has wrought. Dr. Ronald S. Perlman, the chairman of the board, again charmed the audience with his quiet good humor and concern for the cause. Seen: Dr. Perlman’s assistant, the beautiful Virginia Mullaney; balletomane Lisa Niswander; Laura Reece, a new member of the Washington Ballet Women’s Committee, and her husband Glen; Debbie Sigmund; lawyer Donna Lee; fashionista Sunanda Patel; University of Connecticut football jock-turned-I.T.-guru Richard Carvalho; the Export-Import Bank’s Polina Goubanov; activist Tino Angelo; Clark Seydel, whose mother is Pat Mitchell, is well known here for her past presidency of PBS; and Inga Giebels, who is visiting the U.S. from Holland for three months to study the natives.
GLAD TO BE BACK
Lynda Webster’s back-to-town “coffee and catch-up” at the Chevy Chase Club heralds the opening of the fall social season and offers a great cross-section of the capital’s social-diplomatic power scene. Webster was just back from her annual fishing trip with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor– this time in Montana. The wives of the Japanese, Belgian, and British ambassadors were present, and Lady Sheinwald, of the latter country, brought along her mother, who is visiting from England. Spotted in the crowd: Alma Powell. Susan Porter Rose, Nina Pillsbury, Lola Reinsch, Joanne Kemp, and Gail West, who said she and her husband Togo spent their summer traveling all around the Mediterranean. One guest, Anna Maria Via, went home, tripped on a rug, broke her leg, and, after surgery, is now laid up in rehab. “Giorgio immediately got rid of the carpet,” she said. Like the dogged charity-worker that she is, and despite her pain, she added, “Thank heavens I already had all the auction items in place for AFTA’s October gala!”