2011 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala – Washington, D.C.

Wednesday November 16, 2011
JW Marriot, Washington, D.C. 

Co-Chairs Sponsors Emcee and Celebrity Guests Guest Models Honorary Committee

Special Guests and Honorees:
Music Icon Quincy Jones
Senator Tom Harkin – 2011 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award Recipient
Congressman Pete Sessions – 2011 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award Recipient
Alex Sessions – Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala 2011 Ambassador

A Message from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Welcome to the inaugural Washington DC Global Down Syndrome Foundation Gala – Be Beautiful Be Yourself. 

Down syndrome is the most frequent chromosomal disorder, affecting 1 in every 691 live births in the United States, yet it is the least-funded genetic condition by our National Institutes of Health (NIH) representing only 0.0007 of the institute’s annual budget. Arguably the “poster-child” for many intellectual and developmental disability organizations, Down syndrome continues to be terribly misunderstood and underfunded by every matrix imaginable. That is where the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, this evening’s Gala, and your support come in.

Together we can address two critical areas of focus for people with Down syndrome – Research and Medical Care. Your support tonight will go to underwrite critical research at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome which has become, in just one short year, arguably the best provider of medical care for people with Down syndrome in the country and perhaps the world. It will bolster critical research with the NIH that will not only better the lives of people with Down syndrome but get to the key issues around Alzheimers, immune deficiency, sleep apnea and many other shared conditions.

Your support will also help us spread the word about human and civil rights for this vulnerable population. In the 1980s, the lifespan of a person with Down syndrome was 28 years old. Today it is nearly 60. This was largely due leaders like Senator Tom Harkin who fought for the human and civil rights for our children with Down syndrome and saw the dismantling of inhumane institutions that deprived them of life-saving medical care.

Rep. Pete Sessions with son and Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador Alex Sessions

Fast forward to today and we still face many challenges including discrimination in the field of medical care and research. Leaders like Congressman Pete Sessions are at the forefront of working to correct this for the 400,000 people with Down syndrome in the US and the 6 million more worldwide.

Despite the challenges, we have much to be thankful for. Thanks to our spokespersons Quincy Jones, John C. McGinley and Beverly Johnson. To our talented Gladys Knight, to our 25 models, and our Ambassadors Alex Sessions, DeOndra Dixon, Kate Vollbracht Winfield, and Chase Turner Perry.

A heartfelt thank you to our Co-Chairs, Honorary Chairs, Honorary Committee, Sponsors, In-Kind Sponsors, Donors, Volunteers, Attendees, and the amazing staff at Global Down Syndrome Foundation. It truly takes a village, and with your support, ours will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

With much gratitude and affection,

Michelle Sie Whitten
Executive Director, Global Down Syndrome Foundation


Norm Brownstein
Peter Gillon & Lisa Cook
Katherine Hamilton
Marc Holtzman
Deanna Perlmutter
Anna and John J. Sie
Michelle and Tom Whitten

Honorary Chairs

The Honorable Madeleine Albright
The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
His Excellency Kim Beazley
The Honorable Michael Bennet
The Honorable Marsha Blackburn
The Honorable Ann Marie Buerkle
The Honorable Richard Burr
The Honorable Russ Carnahan
The Honorable Robert Casey
The Honorable Tom Coburn
The Honorable Thad Cochran
The Honorable Mike Coffman
The Honorable Geoff Davis
The Honorable Diana DeGette
The Honorable John Dingell
His Excellency Gary Doer
The Honorable Lloyd Doggett
The Honorable Jo Ann Emerson
The Honorable Eni Faleomavaega
The Honorable Chaka Fattah
The Honorable Michael Fitzpatrick
His Excellency Ichiro Fujisaki
The Honorable Cory Gardner
The Honorable Kay Granger
The Honorable Charles Grassley
The Honorable Gene Green
The Honorable Raúl Grijalva
The Honorable Kay Hagan
The Honorable Michael Hancock
The Honorable John Hickenlooper
The Honorable Chris Hill
Mrs. Julie Hill
The Honorable Steny Hoyer
The Honorable Walter Jones
Her Excellency Renee Jones-Bos
The Honorable Dennis Kucinich
The Honorable Doug Lamborn
The Honorable Mary Landrieu
The Honorable Tom Latham
The Honorable Steve LaTourette
The Honorable Stephen Lynch
The Honorable Kenny Marchant
The Honorable James McDermott
The Honorable James Moran
The Honorable Eleanor Norton
The Honorable Edwin Perlmutter
The Honorable Gary Peters
The Honorable Jared Polis
The Honorable Mark Pryor
The Honorable Nick Rahall
The Honorable Harry Reid
The Honorable Cedric Richmond
The Honorable Dennis Ross
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
His Excellency Manuel Sager
Secretary Ken Salazar
His Excellency Nuno Filipe Salvador e Brito
The Honorable Bernie Sanders
The Honorable Adam Schiff
The Honorable Jean Schmidt
His Excellency Sir Nigel Sheinwald
The Honorable Albio Sires
The Honorable Adam Smith
The Honorable Jackie Speier
The Honorable Pete Stark
The Honorable Mike Thompson
The Honorable Scott Tipton
The Honorable Paul Tonko
The Honorable Mark Udall
The Honorable Chris Van Hollen
The Honorable Edward Whitfield
The Honorable Frank Wolf

Honorary Committee

Chauncey Billups
David Duval
Jamie Foxx
Brian Griese
Kathy Ireland
John Lynch
Ed McCaffrey
John C. McGinley
Jeff Probst
Quincy Jones
DeOndra Dixon
Beverly Johnson
The Honorable Patrick Kennedy
Tim Shriver and Linda Potter


Anna and John J. Sie

In Vogue
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

The Whitten Family
DISH Network
The Integral Group
Faith Perlmutter Diamond and Allen Kronstadt
Beth Viola and Michael McAdams

Sharon Magness Black and Ernie Blake
Cauthen Forbes and Williams Ceramic Technology
Comcast Corporation
Eckert Seamans Cherin and Mellott, L.L.C.
Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation
Mark Irion
Linda and Ed McCabe
Pillsbury Winthrop
Shaw Pittman, LLP and Neustar, Inc.
Towell Construction Company
The Williams Companies, Inc.

In-Kind Sponsors and Special Thanks

Jays Valet
Kimberly Wylie
THE Artist Agency
Loreal USA
Capital File Magazine
Walish Gooshe
Visionary Wild Ties
Pat Branigan
Capital Chocolate
Costco Wholesale
Laure Ferguson
Georgetown Cupcake
Lara Bars
Pretty Powerful Events
Washington Diamond

2011 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Gala Models


Emcee and Celebrities

Kyra Phillips, Emcee
Larry LaRocco, Auctioneer
Beverly Johnson
Roger McIntosh
Ravens Cheerleaders 2011
Miss District of Columbia Ashley Boalch
2011 Miss Maryland Carlie Colella
Lesli Foster –News Anchor WUSA
Lynda Erkiletian – Housewife of DC
Anthony Armstrong
Gladys Knight
Congressman Greg Walden
Congressman Mike Coffman
Congressman Jared Polis
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers
Congressman Ed Perlmutter
Congressman Joe Courtney
Congressman Scott Dejarlais
Congressman John Carney
Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick
Congressman Scott Tipton


Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s 2011 Gala and Fashion Show Capitol File, 12/13/11
Burton youth takes to the catwalk at Down syndrome gala in D.C (with video) News-Herald, 12/13/11
DC Gala to Help Fund Down Syndrome Research Fox 5 Washington, 11/16/11
Beverly Johnson Returns to the Catwalk for a Cause NBC Washington, 11/16/11

Provide in-kind services or products
Each year we rely on hundreds of in-kind sponsors to provide us (1) services and products that we would otherwise have to expense towards the event and (2) services and products for our important silent auction. If you are interested in providing us such in-kind services or products, please contact us at info@globaldownsyndrome.org.