On Saturday, Nov. 9, the sixth annual DC’s Dancing Stars Gala netted more than $450,000 for local charities. The event was hosted by co-founders and co-chairs Maria Coakley David and Jim David at the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C., and featured seven local Celebrities, four Corporate Challenge Dancers and two Alumni Dancers who have spent the past several months training and fundraising for Saturday night’s performance. The winner of the Mirror Ball Trophy and $10,000 for his charity was Mike Manatos, President of Manatos & Manatos and Chairman of the Board for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic. Mike’s efforts will result in over $80,000 going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (a beneficiary of the Gala). Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses in the DC Area.
United States Olympian and Director of the Georgetown University Track & Field/Cross Country program, Julie Culley was the runner-up winning $5,000 for her charity, the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. The Judges’ choice award went to Dawn Hendricks CEO of FM Talent Source. Lindsey Keatley, an active supporter of the McLean Project for the Arts, was the winner of the Corporate Challenge, winning $10,000 for the Raymond A. Wood Foundation. Lindsey raised over $121,000 setting a new fundraising record for a single dancer! The Corporate Challenge runner-up was Erika Glon, Director of Marketing for CACI, her $5,000 will go to Operation Renewed Hope Foundation.
“It was our 6th Gala with exciting dance performances by another fabulous group of generous leaders in our community. It was thrilling to watch these dancers battle it out with stunning costumes and spectacular routines. We added a new element that got the crowd on their feet - Fan Faces of all 13 dancers filled the ballroom and added to the competitive spirit that helped make it a record setting night.” said Maria Coakley David, CEO of C.J. Coakley Co., Inc. and co-founder and co-chair of DCs Dancing Stars Gala. Over $150,000 worth of votes were cast at the Gala as the top two corporate dancers fought to win!! “We could not be more grateful to this year’s amazing group of dancers, who worked so hard on and off the dance floor. Leading this event for the last six years has been incredibly rewarding! It feels so wonderful, with the help of so many, to be able to make impactful gifts of over $1,750,000 to more than 25 worthy charities. That’s a lot of money, more than we ever dreamed possible!”
Two new Celebrity Judges joined the line-up for 2019. 2018 Judge’s Choice winner Darren Haynes of WUSA9 who brought his insider knowledge to the Gala and Larry Michael, “Voice of the Washington Redskins” whose judging was on point and on brand with many fun football references! Returning for a fifth year as a Celebrity Judge was Chelsie Hightower from ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. Chelsie’s professional critiques are very coveted by all the dancers. Emceeing the event were Emmy-award winning veteran news anchors, Will Thomas and Laura Evans Manatos both formerly of Fox 5 DC. Laura who danced as a Celebrity in 2018 was super excited to see her husband, Mike Manatos, take on this dance challenge and win!!
The 2019 beneficiaries of the event included: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Marymount University’s Sister Majella Berg Scholarship Fund, The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, Raymond A. Wood Foundation, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and the Operation Renewed Hope Foundation.