Correction:

An earlier version of this story identified the co-founder of NewBrandAnalytics as Neil Shah. His name is Neil Kataria. This version has been corrected.

The Scene: Week of May 6

Raising the Bar:
Law firms honored

The law firm Jones Day hosted a reception last week in its District offices honoring the 36 law firms that contributed a collective $3.6 million to Raising the Bar, a fundraising campaign that asks law firms to set aside between 0.075 percent and 0.11 percent of their D.C. office revenue to legal services providers.

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The campaign is spearheaded by the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, the group created by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2005 to improve access to the civil legal system among low and moderate-income residents. The program, which is in its second year, raised $3.2 million from 18 law firms last year. The money goes to legal aid providers that offer legal services for issues including housing, custody and domestic violence disputes.

The event drew about 100 lawyers, judges and city officials including D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh and Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“We have people who can’t afford an attorney and go it alone, and often become cynical because they believe the legal system is stacked against them,” Gray said. “The Access to Justice Commission is helping to bridge the gap.”

— Catherine Ho

Touching Heart: Golf event brings in 100K

Touching Heart, a Herndon-based nonprofit, raised over $100,000 at its second annual charity golf tournament at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg. The sold-out event, which took place on April 26, drew participants including former Washington Redskins players Darrell Green and Ken Harvey.

After hitting the green, attendees dined together at a buffet dinner and bid on dozens of auction items such as fine jewelry and golf packages.

Touching Heart’s mission is to teach children about the importance of giving and philanthropy.

Corporate sponsors for the golf tournament included Equinix, Ashburn Consulting, Tata Communications and Standard Solar, among others.

— Sarah Halzack

Virginia Chamber: A blueprint for the state

Virginia Chamber of Commerce leaders made a whistle stop at Herndon’s Hilton Washington Dulles Airport hotel last week to appeal for help putting together a long-term economic strategy for the state called “Blueprint Virginia.” Barry DuVal, the state chamber’s president and chief executive, is reaching out to business people across the state in hopes of gathering input for a plan to be presented to the next governor.

The 100 or so people in attendance also heard presentations by George Mason University president Ángel Cabrera and Robert Templin Jr., president of Northern Virginia Community College.

Templin said the community college leads the nation in IT graduates and is currently in talks with Monster.com about helping students connect with more internship and co-op opportunities to ease their transition to the workforce.

— Dan Beyers

1776: The party goes on at the start-up hub

The parties simply don’t stop at 1776.

Co-creators Evan Burfield and Donna Harris hosted a launch event for the newly formed start-up hub on April 26, the latest of several events to take place at the space since it opened in Northwest Washington in March.

Amid the beer, wine, liquor and finger food was brief formality: The event featured a panel on immigration reform and entre­pre­neur­ship, with former AOL executive and current investor Steve Case, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D–Texas) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R–Calif.).

District Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who has made bolstering the tech sector part of his economic development goals, made the rounds with his staff, including Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins, during the reception.

Tim O’Shaughnessy, LivingSocial’s chief executive, could be found in the crowd. Others in attendance were iStrategyLabs chief executive Peter Corbett; NewBrandAnalytics co-founders Kam Desai and Neil Kataria, who has left the company; and Fortify Ventures Managing Director Jonathon Perrelli.

— Steven Overly

Scene elsewhere ...
A ribbon-cutting and a day of volunteering

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin last month became the latest defense contractor to open an Annapolis Junction-based cyber center.

The company welcomed media and guests to a ribbon cutting at the 56,000-square-foot facility, in National Business Park near Fort Meade’s U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency.

The company said the office has space for 250 employees.

— Marjorie Censer

Comcast dispatched nearly 70,000 Comcast and NBC Universal employees, friends and family members into communities around the nation to plant vegetable gardens, paint murals and do landscaping. The outreach was part of the company’s 12th annual Comcast Cares Day, an event that actually lasts 11 days. Comcast executive David L. Cohen helped paint a trellis in the senior courtyard at the Parkside High School campus of Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Northeast Washington.

— Vanessa Small

The Society for Women’s Health Research hosted its annual gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to celebrate and highlight technological advances in women’s health. Nearly 600 people attended, including Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, veteran journalist Meryl Comer and Sandra Cohen Kalter, vice president and chief regulatory counsel at Medtronic. The group raised $800,000 to support its programming. Major corporate sponsors included Verizon, Pfizer and Bayer Healthcare.

— V.S.

Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership gathered a roster of top names in local philanthropy to discuss new ways to make a difference in giving. Nearly 200 nonprofit leaders and students attended the discussion held at the Pew Charitable Trust. Speakers included Nicky Goren, president of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation and Michael Smith, an executive at the Case Foundation. George Vradenburg, a former America Online executive, stressed the importance of philanthropy education during his keynote address.

— V.S.

 
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