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 fourteen years. This event raises funds that support organizations that assist those living with cancer.

Our dedicated board member, 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.

We are pleased to announce that the 15th Annual Joan Hisaoka Gala – Assisting those Living with Cancer will be held on September 17, 2022 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, DC.

Now in its fifteenth year, the gala has raised about $17,500,000 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.

Taking into consideration the safety of all our supporters, they are in the process of determining whether this year’s Gala will be hosted in-person or virtually.

To learn more about this fabulous annual event, please visit: or contact Lisa Simms Booth,, 202.483.8600 to learn how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets through Smith Center.

2022 Sponsor Information

Thank you for generously supporting Smith Center through this event! 

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