An interview with Sara Lange, a philanthropist that has made humanitarian causes cool for a younger crowd.
The granddaughter of Lois and Richard England has carved her own path in the family business: philanthropy. Sara Lange’s event planning and fund-raising for organizations ranging from the Washington Ballet’s Jeté Society to Once Upon a Prom have made humanitarian causes cool for a younger crowd, proving that it doesn’t have to be all work and no play to make an impact.
You’ve coordinated some of the best events in Washington.
It’s important to work with the chairmen of the committee to make sure your expectations for a party align. If you’re going to have dancing, great music is also a must.
Many young people see philanthropy as something reserved for an older wealthier set what can they do to help?
During these tough economic times, many organizations are desperate for volunteers. People can always roll up their sleeves and devote their time and energy to a cause.
Your favorite event venue?
House of Sweden is spectacular, especially when the weather is nice. I’m also partial to the Mellon Auditorium.
What is the biggest event planning or fundraising mistake people make?
Scheduling mistakes are the number one failure I see in event planning. I can’t believe people don’t check the calendar to see what established, larger events they might be up against. When working with vendors, negotiation skills are also crucial.
The minute you realized you were making a difference?
Volunteering for Once Upon a Prom’s dress drive has really affected me. It’s wonderful when you help a girl find the dress and see her face light up. Experiencing that momentwith her is transformative.
Fundraising is a never-ending process, how do you unwind?
Since I spend so much time out supporting local causes, I love having a night off at home towatch a movie.