Get Out and Give Back: Catalogue for Philanthropy Gala

by WL Author

It was an emotional evening for the Catalogue for Philanthropy as they welcomed their new “Class of 2012″ nonprofits.
By Jane Hess Collins

Marlon, a 9-year-old student at Burrville Elementary School in Washington created his composition “Meditation” through Life Pieces to Masterpieces. (Photo by Jane Hess Collins)

Hors d’oeuvre, wine and black-and-white clad waiters circulating among elegant guests are standard for most VIP receptions. Leave it to the Catalogue for Philanthropy to include inner city underserved boys, standing proudly and nervously next to their Life Pieces to Masterpieces artistic creations.

Celebrating its ninth year on Monday, November 7 at Sidney Harman Hall, the Catalogue for Philanthropy welcomed 70 new nonprofits into its organization of 327 greater Washington nonprofits that have earned the Catalogue’s “seal of approval” for being among the area’s most high-impact charities.

The Catalogue “brings voice and amplifies the great work done by small nonprofits,” said their board chair, Don Neal. Neal became a Catalogue advocate when he received the Catalogue in the mail a few years ago and was impressed that so many people would volunteer to review hundreds of the area’s nonprofits to identify the best.

Becoming part of the Catalogue is a rigorous process. The lengthy application for inclusion in the 2013 class will run from January to mid-February of 2012. Over 100 nonprofit executive directors and volunteers from accounting and law firms, foundations and corporations will review the application packages to determine and rate them for impact and financial transparency.

Jane Harman and Barbara Harman. (Photo by Leigh Vogel)

The joy of celebrating the new nonprofits was tinged by tributes to Sidney Harman, the former President of the Harman Family Foundation, who passed away in April at age 92. His widow, Jane Harman, former U.S. Representative; Director, President, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center and President of the Harman Family Foundation noted that it was the first year that the Catalogue would celebrate its new nonprofit class without him.

Noting that her late husband loved how the Catalogue supported human dignity, Harman asked each of the audience members to carry Sidney Harman’s endless curiosity and caring for others less fortunate. That mindset, she said, has helped the Catalogue raise $15 million “real dollars for real people” in 8 years, providing needing essential services and lifelines.

A dancer from Bowen McCauley Dance, one of the Catalogue for Philanthropy's nonprofits. (Photo by Leigh Vogel)

The reception attendees joined several hundred other supporters and nonprofit directors in the Sidney Harman Hall auditorium to watch artistic performances by children from eleven of the Catalogue’s nonprofits. Over the course of an hour, poised and confident kids enacted their original poetry compositions, danced and shared their stories.

Barbara Harman, President and editor of the Catalogue, also honored her late father, ending her remarks with “This year’s Catalogue and evening is dedicated to you, Dad.”

Other attendees included Julie Rogers, Steve Bartlett, Claude and Nancy Keener, Robert Lynch and Dianne Brace, Susan Breakefield Fulton, Rose Cohen, Tom Raffa, Joan Fabry, Julie Leibee, Chris Jennings and Victor Shargai.


Jane Hess Collins helps and encourages people to give back through her volunteering, writing, speaking, coaching and workshops. You can follow her other Get Out and Give Back volunteer stories on Facebook, Twitter and her website. If you’d like her to volunteer with your organization, contact her here.

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