Press Contact:
MacKenzie Babb

(202) 688-3765

Trust for the National Mall fundraiser to be held in Constitution Gardens, site of upcoming high-impact restoration

April 13, 2015  WASHINGTON—The Trust for the National Mall, official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, announced today that its 8th Annual Benefit Luncheon will feature keynote remarks from Sheila C. Johnson as well as insider’s tours of Constitution Gardens, home to the Trust’s first priority project.

Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, gave generously to help create the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Her remarks will address how the National Mall’s history and values inspired her as a young African-American girl growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

“We are grateful Ms. Johnson will share her motivational story and passion for our country with Trust supporters during this year’s luncheon,” said Trust for the National Mall President Caroline Cunningham. “The inspiration that gave rise to her successful entrepreneurial career and generous philanthropy was in part the National Mall, and she represents why the Trust must lead the way in preserving and protecting this incredible beacon of our country for future generations.”

The luncheon will serve as a catalyst for generating much-needed awareness, support, and critical funds for the Trust’s upcoming rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens, set to begin later in 2015.

National Park Service rangers will join the Trust’s team of architects and designers in leading media and guests on tours of Constitution Gardens. Together, they’ll discuss the area’s vital role as the connection between the three most visited sites on the National Mall: the World War II, Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln memorials. They’ll also share how the innovative designs will restore the broken-down landscape and set a new global standard in environmentally sustainable parks.

The design concepts for this project have received unanimous approvals from both the Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission.

“The rehabilitation of Constitution Gardens will serve as a tribute to our country’s founding, educating visitors about American history while providing a bucolic respite where people can grab a bite to eat and enjoy seasonal recreation,” Cunningham said.

The site will offer ice skating in the winter, model boating in the summer and grassy amphitheater for picnickers to gather year-round.

The luncheon will take place on the grounds of Constitution Gardens for the first time in its eight-year history on April 23. In past years, the event has brought together more than 1,000 philanthropists, business leaders, government officials and diplomats. The luncheon has raised a total of more than $8.5 million – including $1.5 million last year alone – for the Trust’s efforts to restore America’s front yard.

Johnson, who serves as vice chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, will be featured along with Peggy O’Dell, deputy director of operations for the National Park Service. O’Dell will speak to the National Park Service’s centennial campaign and its commitment to helping America rediscover their national parks—including the National Mall.

The Benefit Luncheon is made possible through generous individual and corporate support, including our Platinum Sponsors: AECOM/Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company, and General Dynamics. The event is hosted by the Trust’s Women’s Leadership Committee.

The 8th Annual Benefit Luncheon will be held Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. To reserve your tickets today, please click here.

And be sure to visit our website to learn more about the Constitution Gardens project.

For media interested in covering the event and/or the tours of Constitution Gardens, please contact MacKenzie Babb at 202.688.3765 or


About the Trust for the National Mall

The National Mall hosts 29 million visits each year. As the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, the Trust for the National Mall works to provide new educational and volunteer opportunities that connect the park’s visitors to the Mall’s rich history. For more information or to get involved, please visit