Joan Hisaoka Make A Difference Gala


The 12th Annual Joan Hisaoka “Make a Difference” Gala took place September 21, 2019 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and raised almost $1,850,000 for cancer support services in our area.

This evening was a rousing success, attracting close to 500 philanthropists from the Washington, DC business community and featured a four-course dinner, as well as a reception, dancing, and silent and live auctions with exclusive luxurious items.

With this year’s generosity included, the Joan Hisaoka “Make a Difference” gala has almost $17,000,000 to support hope and healing for those impacted by cancer in the greater Washington, DC area.

Our dedicated Board Member Emeritus, Robert Hisaoka, created this event in his sister’s name. Joan Hisaoka attended Smith Center’s Living Well with Cancer Program in 2008 and passed away shortly after. She was so affected by her experience, finding the tools she learned in coping with her cancer so profoundly useful, that she herself wanted to help others. With this wish, Robert created the Gala to carry on her legacy.

As one of three honored beneficiaries of the evening, the gala enables Smith Center to provide programs such as yoga and stress relief classes, support groups, creativity workshops, nutrition, retreats and much more for people in the DC Community facing cancer.

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Barbara Smith Fund
Grenville and Lucinda Emmet
John Holmes and Diane Zipursky Quale
Marvin Weissberg
Organic India & Steven and Rene Bookoff
The Gretchen V. and Samuel M. Feldman Private Foundation, Inc.
Julia Rowland
Annette Polan
Brendan Ogg Memorial Fund
Paul Aines and Diana Wright
William Lammers
Myrtis Bedolla
Nadim Salti

To learn more about this fabulous annual event, please visit: or contact Alison Lazar, Development Manager, at, or call 202.483.8600 to learn how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets through Smith Center.

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