- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Amid the glamour, celebrity sightings and air-kissing this inaugural weekend, there will be random acts of charity and giving aplenty. Many of the inaugural celebrants are using the festive time to raise awareness and cold hard cash for their causes at low-dollar events for smaller wallets.

“It seems that many are viewing the inauguration as a true moneymaking opportunity. We feel fortunate to have generous sponsors that are taking the financial burden off our guests, allowing them to use those dollars to give back to the community,” says Becca Glover, who is organizing a Saturday-night fete.

Ms. Glover, along with Jackie Kucinich and Matt Dornic, will raise a glass to the new president at Cafe Milano in Georgetown and are asking for a donation to Horton’s Kids, a nonprofit that mentors children in Washington’s 8th Ward (www.hortonskids.org).

The party, billed as a “widely attended bipartisan event,” is sponsored by Emperor vodka and Peroni beer and will be headlined by famed restaurateur Franco Nuschese.

The same night, Jacques Yves Cousteau’s grandson and granddaughter, Philippe and Alexandra, are following in the footsteps of their late marine-biologist father, Philippe Cousteau Sr., by bringing the flurry of socializing down to earth. Literally.

At the downtown Skye Lounge, the Cousteaus are hosting a Blue Skyes and Clear Oceans soiree to benefit EarthEcho International. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the nonprofit, which promotes oceanic conservation.

“I am thrilled about all the attention we can give to the environment. Our oceans have been overlooked, but they are the life support for our planet,” Mr. Cousteau says.

Mr. Cousteau will have another EarthEcho benefit Sunday at Lima on K Street with the Grammy Award-winning band Dirty Vegas as special guest, but he says both events have broad appeal.

“We did not want to be too swanky. We want everyone to be able to come who support us,” he says.

Tickets to both events can be purchased online at www.earthecho.org.

Also on Sunday, the Vital Voices Global Partnership, a favorite of goodwill goddess Angelina Jolie, will have an inaugural weekend tribute for the nonprofit, nongovernmental international organization, which promotes the participation of women in leadership roles in politics around the world.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg will be among the A-list guests at the invitation-only event, to be held at the home of Washington hostess extraordinaire Juleanna Glover.

Mary Daley Yerrick, vice chairwoman and co-chief executive of Vital Voices (www.vitalvoices.org), says the nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state is something special to celebrate: “Vital Voices through its programs is much more optimistic about its ability to invest in women and improve the world for us all.”

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