On Thursday, March 31st, the DC for Acumen Chapter hosted a special benefit, DIGNITY DC. This fundraiser was the tenth in a series of photo auctions curated by Nuru Project.
The chapter welcomed the DC community to join in for a rousing evening of art, music, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres; all while hearing the inspiring story of Acumen Fund, and browsing and bidding on beautiful photography for auction.
JB Reed of Nuru Project and John McKinley, Acumen’s Innovation Manager, set the stage for the night by first offering a unique introduction to Acumen Fund, and hosting a private tour of the photos for our select VIP guests. The photos were much more than vibrant colors and visions of men, women, and children living their daily lives. Each photo represented a story to be told, in a country where Acumen Fund is a part of giving people dignity, not dependence.
After the intimate group gathered for the tour, 100 more guests started filling up the gallery. The highlight of the evening was the lively energy that surrounded the photo auction. With support from Nuru Project and 26 talented artists who donated their works of art, the show included breathtaking photos taken from countries Acumen invests in: Pakistan, India and Kenya, and Tanzania. The DC community generously supported and while guests gathered around their favorite photos, they enjoyed cocktails generously donated by Barefoot Bubbly, and tasty bites from Nora’s.
As the clocked ticked and bids were ferociously scribbled, the dynamic crowd was asked to take some brief time to learn how their presence was making a difference. Chapter founders, Haroun Habib and I, welcomed guests and extended thanks for everyone’s outpouring of support. A full room of photo enthusiasts surrounded as we also announced that not only was the DC Chapter celebrating the work of Acumen in the beautiful Studio Gallery in Dupont Circle, but also that this occasion marked the 1 year anniversary of the chapter’s inception. After a full year of learning, being inspired by, and spreading the mission of Acumen through events and networking activities, the chapter raised their flutes in celebration for a champagne toast with the crowd.
Next on the night’s program: John McKinley. As John took the floor to share the vision of Acumen Fund, and describe how using innovative methods to solve poverty can actually work, you could feel the energy in the room move from intrigue to impact.
After John illustrated some of Acumen Fund’s projects, JB Reed joined the floor to explain how Nuru Project leverages photography as an agent for social change in the developing world, and conducted a special live auction of some of the beautiful prints.
When the program wrapped up, guests only had a few more moments to place their final bids. Ten seconds before pens had to be set down, the audience all joined in for a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 countdown. Anxious bidders scurried to their favored photos to see if they in fact had won the prize. At the end of the night 26 breathtaking prints were sent home with happy winners, and the DC for Acumen team won the best prize: raising $10,000 to benefit Acumen Fund.
It is with the generosity of our sponsors, especially to Matthew & Anu Tate & Barefoot Bubbly, that helped make the event such a success. A special thank you to our guests, in-kind donors, Nora Restaurant, and especially, the Studio Gallery for hosting us.
Lastly, we’d like to thank the following DC for Acumen event committee members for their energy, dedication and steadfast commitment to making every detail of the DIGNITY DC night so special: Meaghan Casey, Adam Crockett, Miranda Franco, Haroun Habib, Ashley Lawson, Lauren Jolliff, and Sarah Reintjes.
Ashley Lawson is a Chapter Leader for DC for Acumen.