The Washington Post examines the decline and possible demise of CharityWorks, which annually staged two of Washington’s glitziest fundraising parties.
Founded in 1999, CharityWorks held a high-end wine tasting each spring and a theatrical Dream Ball in the fall, raising money on behalf of partner charities selected each year. The organization is not a charity itself but a fund within the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, through which it solicited donations and disbursed grants. The events drew Washington’s corporate elite and in the mid-2000s and paid out more than a million dollars to beneficiary groups.
In recent years, as the annual cost of staging the balls stayed around $600,000, payouts have declined sharply, and some nonprofits have received less than promised, according to the Post. The organization announced on its website in April that it was restructuring and posted a letter a few months later stating that it is no longer holding events due to founder Leah Gansler’s recurring health problems.
Ms. Gansler, 67, and her husband filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall, but the family’s financial problems are “totally unrelated to CharityWorks,” she said. “My health issues were the main driver with our decision to no longer hold events and wind down the organization.”