- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Local charities are rolling out the red carpet for their causes this week and next with glamorous events that should give Oscar-party hoppers in Los Angeles a run for their money.

One of the major parties of the week, and indeed the month, is the only officially sanctioned Oscar-watching party in the District. Slated for Sunday night at the Hard Rock Cafe on E Street Northwest and sponsored by Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor, the event will benefit the American Red Cross.

Social blogger Pamela Lynne Sorensen, another sponsor for the event, says the evening will be a rare mix of revelry and generosity.

“What I love about this event isn’t just the energy, fun and the uniqueness, but that it raises money for the area’s Red Cross chapter, whose staff and volunteers were there during the inauguration and the tragedy of 9/11. They train us for disaster preparedness and are first on hand for all area house fires. They are also the first ones to greet our troops on American soil at Andrews [Air Force Base] upon returning from serving our country,” she says.

General-admission tickets can be purchased at redcrossdc.org for $85; tickets for the VIP package are sold out.

A more subdued Oscar-viewing party at a private home in Georgetown will benefit Five & Alive, a D.C.-based organization that provides children age 5 and younger with health care and educational resources. The event is sponsored by Moet & Chandon, the official champagne of the 81st Oscars.

“At Five & Alive, our primary focus is on saving the lives of children around the globe. In these tough economic times, it is particularly important to find creative avenues to share our work with others. What better way than to gather good friends and supporters to watch the Oscars, raise a glass and toast our worthy cause,” says Kate Roberts, founder of YouthAIDS and Five & Alive.

For more information and to inquire about attending, call 202/572-4626.

At Grand Central bar and restaurant in Adams Morgan tonight at 7, an auction benefiting pediatric AIDS includes some not-too-shabby items you might find in an Oscar-night goodie bag: A Marc Jacobs Stella messenger bag, box seats to Carnegie Hall’s Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Gala and a trip for eight by private jet to Las Vegas.

If those items are too A-list for your B-list budget, try the date auction. Charity date packages such as dinner for two and a tour of the monuments are available.

Tickets to tonight’s event are $25 and can be purchased at www.charitydateauction.com or at the door for $30.

All proceeds benefit Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care Inc., an organization that provides creative and artistic outlets to area children living with the disease.

Next week, two area events are combining high style with charitable giving. On Feb. 25, the Fashion Takes Flight fashion-show benefit for Luke’s Wings will feature local glamazons such as Miss DC’s Kate Marie Grinold and Kate Michael, and “Blonde Charity Mafia’s” Katherine Kennedy as they strut down the runways at L2 Lounge on M Street Northwest.

Luke’s Wings is a Maryland-based nonprofit dedicated to the help and support of service members wounded in active duty. The organization provides travel accommodations, including air travel, for the families of wounded veterans so they can visit during the hospitalization of their loved one.

Featured boutiques at Fashion Takes Flight will include locals Queen Bee, Sherman Pickey, Urban Chic, Wink and Lacey K Shoes.

Tickets are $25 online at www.lukeswings.org or $35 at the door.

Also Feb. 25, Bloomingdale’s stores are pledging $75,000 to Mentoring USA, an organization that pairs at-risk youth with adult mentors. Founded by former New York first lady Matilda Raffa Cuomo in the 1990s, Mentoring USA has provided mentors to more than 5,000 at-risk children.

At Bloomingdale’s stores that day, not only can you look for a red-carpet gown for next year’s Oscar soiree, but also meet a Mentoring USA representative who will provide information on how to help in your community.

For more information, go to www.helpusa.org.

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