- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Real estate magnate Giuseppe Cecchi, the developer of Leisure World and the Watergate complex, is at heart a modest man which explains why he felt a bit uncomfortable being honored at the Capital Children's Museum's benefit Monday night.
"They must have picked me because I'm the oldest [member of the board]," he joked in front of a packed ballroom of black-tie guests at his own Renaissance Hotel.
Although Mr. Cecchi was hesitant to self-speak his praises, others were eager to toast him.
"What's really special about him is that he's so wonderful with children," said event co-chairwoman and fellow board member Jane Cafritz. "It's appropriate that the [benefits] theme is 'Building to the Future' because he's a master builder."
Museum Chairman S. Ross Hechinger said he didn't actually remember recruiting Mr. Cecchi for the organization but that "if he says I brought him on, I'm taking credit for it."
"You've met modesty tonight, right square in the eye," piped in Sen. John Warner. "He works very, very quietly to help the poor and unfortunate."
Mr. Cecchi's wife, Mercedes, and his three sons, Enrico, Antonio and John, were on hand for the festivities and to help greet guests, who included Rep. Tom Davis, developer Herbert Miller, banker Robert Pincus and most members of the D.C. Council, including Sharon Ambrose and Harold Brazil (who also are members of the museum's board).
Some of the finest chefs in Washington, including Fabrizio Aielli of Teatro Goldoni, Roberto Donna of Galileo and Luigi Diotaiuti of Al Tiramisu, served a six-course meal that deliciously reflected the guest of honor's Italian heritage. Wines at each serving were courtesy of Robert Mondavi.
The Capitol Steps performed after dinner with routines poking fun at official Washington.
The event raised more than $200,000 for the museum's programs and events. The main topic of discussion was the plan to create a National Children's Museum, which would include moving the current institution from its home near Union Station to the Southwest Waterfront.
Mr. Cecchi said he hoped his own philanthropic efforts would inspire others to support the cause as well. He made his philosophy plain in a rare interview with The Washington Times two years ago.
"I have been blessed with wealth and material things," he said, "and I am trying to do my best to be fair and share some of my fortune with people who have less than me."

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