Dessert table at The Ball On The Mall 2017

Words – when the beautiful gift of words become etched in your heart and mind, one realizes just how special that gift is. Words – unique, passionately thought of as part of the packaging, can often be the perfect gift. We were gifted with two important words at this year’s Ball On The Mall.

Earlier this Spring, I received the perfect gift when I volunteered at the Trust For The National Mall Ball On The Mall.  I would like to say “Thank You”, for the gift of two simple words that were shared at this year’s Ball On The Mall. Allow me to share.Each year, The Trust for the National Mall has several events to support their mission.  These fund-raisers allow continued beautification efforts on behalf of The Trust for The National Mall. There two awards shared on this night under the mist and stars. The Distinction in Corporate America Service Award was awarded to Volkswagen Group of America honoring their generous financial gift of $10 Million.

The second award was the highlight of the evening. The History, Heroes and Hope Award is gifted to one special person. The requirements to receive this award are quite specific. One has to have made extraordinary civic contributions, made a positive impact through public service, and has made an impressionable impact on our country. There have been two previous recipients Mr. John Akridge, Founder, Chairman and Steward of the Land and Mr. Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service.

This year, The Trust For The National Mall honored David Rubenstein for the History, Heroes and Hope Award. I am still choked up from the beautiful gift of words Mr. Rubenstein shared with us.  The beautiful gift of two words were Philanthropic Patriotism. Let me first acknowledge the first two recipients – Mr. Jonathan Jarvis and Mr. John Akridge.

Mr. Jonathan B. Jarvis, 2016 Recipient

Mr. Jonathan B. Jarvis has quite the track record for being a Steward of this Land. With an employment history as a Park Ranger, park biologist, resource management specialist to becoming the 18th Director of the National Park Service, Mr. Jarvis has certainly put in the work to become quite the Hero. The National Park Service is currently a leading authority  when expertise is needed in cultural and natural resource management thanks to the efforts of Mr. Jarvis.

“A Call to Action” is the landmark document Mr. Jarvis has left as a blueprint for the next Century as The National Park Service enhances it’s mission.  This document details how The National Park Service will become a leader worldwide as it embraces how to engage the general public. Taking ownership and participating in the programs our National Park Service provides, each of us can become inspired to become better Stewards of this land. Thank you Mr. Jarvis for this wonderful blueprint, “A Call To Action”.

Mr. John Akridge, Founder, Chairman and Inaugural Recipient of the History, Heroes and Hope Award 2014

Mr. John Akridge, Inaugural Recipient 2014

John Akridge is a man with a conscience. Challenged by the thought of a person commenting on the dismal condition of Our National Mall, Mr. Akridge decided to roll his sleeves up and get busy. That is just the kind of person Mr. Akridge is, another true Steward of this land.  Presenting evidence of the condition to Congress, Capitol Hill and his private sector peers, Mr. Akridge began to shed light on the neglect of Our National Mall.

Spearheading a 7 year campaign, Mr. Akridge bent the ears of many City Planners, Environmentalists, Civic leaders, Government Leaders and Philanthropists. Mr. Akridge’s efforts were to bring long overdue attention to the dismal conditions of The National Mall, as he testified before Congress. This Harvard Business School graduate knew what he had to do to bring about changes that would benefit The National Mall.

As Founder and Chairman of The Trust for the National Mall, Mr. Akridge and his beautiful wife Sally raised $46 million in an effort to finance the mission of making The National Mall, one of the best parks in the world. Most successful men have a supportive companion by their side. Mrs. Akridge has shown support by founding the Women’s Leadership Committee. The Benefit Luncheon is the Signature Event for the Women’s Leadership Committee. It is one of THE anticipated events of the late Spring season.  I am honored to say Thank You Mr. & Mrs. Akridge.

Mr. David Rubenstein, 2017 Recipient of the History, Heroes and Hope Award

David Rubenstein, 2017 History, Heroes and Hope Award Recipient

In is own words, “Philanthropic Patriotism is not a term to be thrown around casually.” Sharing his meaning of these two  words gave light to the evening.  Mr. David Rubenstein defined this term as giving money to projects that the government cannot afford to fund.  When one has been blessed to have so much money, Mr. Rubenstein feels that giving back is essential.

A native son, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland,  Mr. Rubenstein was raised in a working class family. An only child, his parents only wanted the best for him.  A postal employee and a homemaker made a way for David Rubenstein to attend many prestigious schools like Duke University, among others. After attending law school, he served as Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor during the Carter Administration. Afterwards The Carlyle Group was started and continues to thrive creating meaningful ways to enhance wealth.

A proud signer of The Giving Pledge, Mr. Rubenstein has dedicated more than half of his wealth to philanthropic efforts.  Here are a few of the ways Mr. Rubenstein has put his money where his heart is:

  • Washington Monument repairs after the earthquake
  • JFK Performing Arts, funding for the expansion
  • The Thomas Jefferson Foundation for Mulberry Row restorations
  • Montpelier restoration efforts
  • National Park Service restoration of the Lincoln Memorial
  • Washington Monument elevator repairs

These are just a few  of the ways that Mr. Rubenstein has given back while demonstrating what a Philanthropic Patriot looks like. Thank you Mr. David Rubenstein for being an example that we should all find honorable. The gift of those two words re forever etched in my heart and in my own small way, I will give back as well. If each of us gave back what we could, when we could, it is a way to take ownership in the world around us.

Catherine Townsend, President
Trust For The National Mall…great job!!

Catherine Townsend, President, Trust For The National Mall – Thank you for a fantastic evening of great food…..

Just delicious !!!!!

and gorgeous floral arrangements (of course)…Thank you to each of the recipients of the History, Heroes and Hope Award. Philanthropic Patriotism…Thank you Mr. Rubenstein for the gift of these two words.

Douglas Brinkley presenting David Rubenstein the History, Heroes and Hope Award

Click here for information about The Trust For The National Mall

Click here for information about The National Park Service

Thankful for the gift of two words….

Teri, Cottage In The Court

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