The Joan Hisaoka “Make A Difference” Gala


The Joan Hisaoka “Make a Difference” Gala is held annually in September. Smith Center for Healing and the Arts has been a fortunate recipient of The Joan Hisaoka Gala for the past fifteen years. This event raises funds that support organizations that assist those living with cancer.

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.

The 16th and Final Joan Hisaoka Gala – Assisting those Living with Cancer will be held on September 16, 2023 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, DC.

Now in its sixteenth year, the gala has raised over $17,500,000 in inception to date. This black-tie event will attract close to 500 philanthropists from the Washington, DC business community and features a four-course dinner, as well as a reception, dancing, and silent and live auctions with exclusive luxurious items.

Over 20,000 people in Washington, DC currently live with cancer. Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is the only independent cancer support organization serving the DC cancer community. As one of two recipients of the evening, Smith Center receives major support for our daily programs that include support groups, stress reduction, nutrition workshops, cancer retreats, individual patient navigation services and other healing resources.

We are honored to be a beneficiary and to continue our life-enhancing programs for people with cancer in Joan’s honor.

To purchase tickets please contact: Cheryl Shaw at or 202.483.8600 to learn how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets or

2023 Sponsorship details: JHG 2023 sponsorships package FINAL (1)

Thank you for generously supporting Smith Center through this event! 

To Top