Runaway Spoon

Outta Here to Italy

May 9, 2016

So, let’s guess. Tired of politics?  Need to get away for a while?  Do we have an event for you!   A chance to spend real quality time in Italy.

The American Initiative for Italian Culture acts as a two-way bridge between Italy and the USA seeking to promote art and culture in both countries.   On Thursday, May 26, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Dumbarton House, the AIFIC is doing its spring benefit event (cocktail buffet) that will offer auction items that’ll take you to great places in Italy. Once over there, expect wonderful Italian cuisine, wonderful Italian music and wonderful Italian views.

Ticket price is $150 per person and $275 per couple, with other ranges of sponsorships and participation.  Dumbarton House is 2715 Q Street NW in Georgetown.  Valet parking will be available.

To pique your interest, here’s just some of the live auction offerings:

*One week in the medieval village of Castagneto Carducci - Tuscany on the Etrusan Coast, the best kept secret of Tuscany, in a a cozy one-bedroom apartment a few steps from the Gherardesca Castle, visiting sprawling wine estates including the Tenuta Biserno. Seven nights for 2 people.

*Queen of the Dolomites, Cortina has all the credentials to be crowned the all-seasons paradise with its spectacular scenery, lifestyle, culture and gastronomy. Cortina D’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy. Spend one week in the four star Cristallino Hotel.  Seven nights for 4 people.

*Southeast Sicily Baroque.  Experience the history, clear waters, traditional events and culinary journey in the world heritage of Sicilian Baroque.  Five nights for four people in a large private house in the historical center of Noto, Sicily.  Dinner at  Michelin-starred restaurant for four people. Tours.

*Venice – CINI Foundation.  Sleep in the private rooms of Foresteria of the Giorgio Cini Foundation Monastery not open to the public on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.  Enjoy its hidden treasure and secret masterpiece collections. Listen to The Quartetto di Venezia, the complete Beethoven String Quartets, and more.  Three nights for 4 people.  Breakfast for the entire stay. Dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant  Osteria Da Fiore in a private balcony for 4.

Get the whole scoop on these auction items at:


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CARE Speakers Reach For Compassion

May 3, 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Alright delivered an impassioned talk to CARE’s 2016 National Conference Monday night on the importance of aiding displaced people around the world.
Julianna Margulies (left) & Betsy Noonen (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Julianna Margulies (left) & Betsy Noonen
Albright, lamented what she labeled a “deficiency of compassion” in politics today. She wondered how the United States can lecture other countries unless there is a “more compassionate response” from this nation and “if we aren’t doing more ourselves.”  Mrs. Alright, who was born in Prague, noted that she, as a young girl, and her parents came to America from a foreign country (Czechoslovakia). 
President and CEO of CARE USA Michelle Nunn presided over the event at the Ronald Reagan Building which “celebrated 70 years of the CARE package.”  CARE is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.  Among its missions is to deliver emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters. 
Berta De Pablos-Barbier, vice president of marketing for Mars Chocolate North America, announced a one million dollar donation for a partnership with CARE for use in improving the life and business acumen of women in emerging nations.
Michelle Nunn (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Michelle Nunn
Actress-producer Julianna Margulies of CBS’ TV series “The Good Wife,” mixed and mingled at the reception and dinner, which drew some 350 guests.  At the ceremonies, Margulies presented "Delivering Lasting Change" awards to Sandra Bitarova, Houda Atassi and Maria Alabdeh for their work in helping the Syrian people.  All three, who themselves fled Syria, were in attendance to accept the honor.
The event was held in conjunction with CARE's National Conference in Washington, D.C.
Attendees: Judith Terra (left), Colleen Nunn,Beth Solomon (back) & Maxine Champion (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Attendees: Judith Terra (left), Colleen Nunn,Beth Solomon (back) & Maxine Champion

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Promise Night Takes Center Stage

April 24, 2016

Basketball great and Hall of Framer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, in accepting a Promise of America award at Howard Theater Wednesday night,  marveled that he was in the company of Mrs. Alma Powell, who herself has gathered so many honors.

“Mrs. Powell has gotten so many awards that I have to go home and tell my wife Cookie that she has to step up her game,” Johnson chuckled.

Magic Johnson, Patricia de Stacy Harrison, Angela Diaz, Alma Powell, Colin Powell, Brian Cornell & John Gomperts, president & CEO of America's Promise (Photo by: Michael Bennett Kress Photography) Magic Johnson, Patricia de Stacy Harrison, Angela Diaz, Alma Powell, Colin Powell, Brian Cornell & John Gomperts, president & CEO of America's Promise

Johnson, who played collegiately at Michigan State and professionally with the Los Angeles Lakers, was one of four outstanding honorees at the 2016 Promise Night gala hosted by America’s Promise Alliance.  Mrs. Powell is the organization’s board chair. Her husband, retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, is founding chair.

While accepting his award, Johnson said he was so moved with the organization, which is dedicated to the education of young people, that he is personally writing out a check for $100,000. His extensive work as chairman and founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation to benefit children includes the Taylor Michaels Scholarship, now supporting 160 students, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs, and community empowerment centers.

Accepting her honor, Patricia de Stacy Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, recalled how her grandfather highly valued education.  She said he came from Italy at age 15, and later was a barber by profession.  “He would always tell young people:  “Don’t be stupid! Stay in school!”

In his remarks, Colin Powell noted that a video produced by America’s Promise highlighting Mrs. Harrison’s career featured a young girl in the role of a growing-up Mrs. Harrison. “If you think the young woman in the video bears a striking resemblance to Pat, you’re not wrong – that was Pat’s granddaughter, Skylar Spain.”

Mrs. Harrison initiated American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen, a nationwide public media initiative to help communities across the country identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. To date, 128 stations in over 40 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, are working with more than 1,400 local partners and schools to encourage students to stay on track to graduation.

Honoree Dr. Angela Diaz, director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City, recalled her own troubled childhood and how she overcame depression.  She went on to pull herself upwards and now heads the largest adolescent health centers in the United States. It provides free service to more than 10,000 primarily low income young people each year.

“Angela has dedicated her career to helping young people experience the promises of safe places and a healthy start,” said Mrs. Powell.

Honoree Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target, is responsible for the company’s global business of nearly 1,800 stores and, more than 341,000 team members and millions of guests. This year through its corporate social responsibility efforts, Target reached its goal to give $1 billion for education, providing books, school supplies, food, field trips and more to students and schools across the U.S. and around the world

In her talk, Mrs. Powell recognized Dr. Mary Johnson, a math teacher who mentors at the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation.  She said Dr. Johnson has developed a diagnostic test that she believes can identify specific gaps in students’ math knowledge in only minutes. “Dr. Johnson, on behalf of America’s Promise, I want to formally recognize you as a Promise Hero, and let you know we’re donating $5,000 to the foundation to further your work.”

Patricia de Stacy Harrison (2nd from left) accepts her award from Mrs. Alma Powell & Gen. Powell.  At far left is Bruce Harrison, Mrs. Harrison's husband. (Photo by: Michael Bennett Kress Photography) Patricia de Stacy Harrison (2nd from left) accepts her award from Mrs. Alma Powell & Gen. Powell. At far left is Bruce Harrison, Mrs. Harrison's husband.

America’s Promise Alliance leads the nation’s largest network of national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. GradNation, the organization’s signature campaign, mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the workforce.

Magic Johnson with university students, staff & journalism students (Photo by: America's Promise Alliance) Magic Johnson with university students, staff & journalism students

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