The Trust for the National Mall, an official non-profit partner of the National Park Service, hosted its eleventh annual benefit event yesterday evening underneath the stars and amongst the monuments on the National Mall. This year’s event coincides with National Park Week, a celebration of America’s treasures that hold the stories of our history and culture. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer reprised his role as the Master of Ceremonies for the BALL for THE MALL, which featured dynamic speakers, honored two longtime National Mall volunteers, and showcased critical improvement projects on the National Mall.
“Whether you visit the National Mall for the first time or hundredth time, it holds that moment of discovery and personal connection to our deep heritage,” said Catherine Townsend, President and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. “More than ever, we need to close the funding gap that prevents critical park improvement projects from moving forward. We are asking all Americans to donate in support of our beloved National Mall.”
The benefit gala included an opening reception, seated dinner with guest speakers, and live music and entertainment. Support for the event was provided by: Premier Patron, David M. Rubenstein; Congressional & Diplomatic Reception Patron, Wells Fargo; After Party Patron, American Airlines; and many other generous sponsors.
As the centerpiece of the event program, the Trust for the National Mall welcomed author Cokie Roberts and her daughter, Rebecca Boggs Roberts, as keynote speakers. The two have published numerous books exploring the roles of women in U.S. history and recounting the untold and remarkable contributions of women to the country’s founding and its preservation. Notable titles include best-sellers Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, Capital Dames, and, the most recent release, Suffragists in Washington, D.C.
Last year’s recipient of the “History, Heroes, and Hope Award,” businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, introduced the keynote speakers. Rubenstein, the premier event sponsor, has given generously over the years through multiple gifts to express his dedication and continued support in restoring and improving the National Mall.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presented the “History, Heroes, and Hope Award” to two distinguished, longtime National Mall volunteers. Secretary Zinke has demonstrated a lifelong appreciation for conserving America’s natural beauty and is a champion of conservation and smart management of federal lands.
History, Heroes and Hope Award
The Trust for the National Mall developed the “History, Heroes, and Hope Award” in 2014 to honor an individual, corporation or organization that embodies the visionary spirit and courage exemplified on the National Mall. This year the Trust selected two individuals who have made a significant contribution to the National Mall as longtime Volunteers-In-Parks participants.
Donald Adam has been a volunteer since 2002. Averaging more than 100 hours each month, he has amassed more than 20,000 volunteer hours on the National Mall. He has a personal connection to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and dedicates his time to help veterans and family members heal and connect to the spirit of service and sacrifice represented there.
Annmarie Emmet has been a volunteer since 1982. Annmarie has amassed well over 18,000 hours and has no plans of stopping any time soon. She has tirelessly climbed ladders and made thousands of rubbings of names for visitors who wish to have a keepsake of their visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.