Thousands of marchers turned out on the National Mall on a chilly Saturday morning for the 24th annual, and final, Fannie Mae march to end homelessness, raising tens of thousands of dollars in what has been a pre-Thanksgiving ritual for many in the Washington area.
Marchers representing schools, religious organizations, nonprofits and businesses were sprinkled throughout the mall area, wearing brightly colored T-shirts handed out by organizers..
Fannie Mae, the troubled federally chartered mortgage giant, plans to continue its fundraising efforts through local, community-based “mini-walks,” which in many neighborhoods are held throughout the year. Last year, marchers participating in more than 700 walks in the region raised about $6.5 million.
“We are transitioning to the community walk model,” said Keloi Parsos, a spokeswoman for Fannie Mae. “It’s been very successful.”
Kathleen Sibert, executive director of Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-Span), who was gathered with co-workers and clients, said the nonprofit has participated in the march since it began.
“It really is a very needed fundraiser for homelessness in the D.C. metropolitan area,” Sibert said. But she said she was optimistic about Fannie Mae’s decision to scuttle the mall march in favor of more locally based efforts.
“The program is not going away,” she said.