Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation (MSEF)’s annual Family-to-Family program returned this year to offer support and holiday cheer to local families with the annual holiday party benefitting Martha’s Table and the Eagle Academy Public Charter Schools. MSEF partnered with players, coaches, executives and their families from the Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals and Capital City Go-Go, to adopt 34 families along with providing a $25,000 monetary grant to Martha’s Table in support of the annual celebration.
This year, the annual holiday party took place at the MedStar Health Performance Center in Ward 8, the practice facility for all Monumental Basketball teams. The lively event included a Capital City Go-Go game where the families enjoyed complimentary food and drinks, face painters, a caricature artist and balloon artist in the Above the Rim premium area. After the game, the children, families and caregivers transitioned to the holiday party where they were greeted by the Wizards Dancers, met with Washington Wizards mascot G-Wiz, enjoyed holiday music from DJ Heat and a 360-photo booth provided by Cocktails by Cryssy, one of the many black-owned businesses in the DMV. The families also shot hoops on the practice court, were visited by Biscuit, the Capitals service dog in training, and took photos with Santa as they were presented with their gifts.
“The Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation is proud to spread cheer and donate gifts to local families every year because we understand that the holidays, although festive, can be a time of stress for members of our community trying to address their wants and needs,” said Elizabeth Pace, President and Executive Director, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. “Through our extraordinary partnership with Martha’s Table and our annual Family-to-Family programming, we are able to provide a real impact on their holiday season.”
Through the Family-to-Family program, MSEF is supporting 29 local families identified by Martha’s Table with gifts for the holidays. Monumental Sports staff, coaches, players and spouses have been on gift buying excursions for the adopted families and held gatherings to collectively wrap gifts for the holiday party and to be delivered to the families throughout the Season of Giving. The Capital City Go-Go is also partnered with Eagle Academy Public Charter School for the second year in-a-row to provide gifts for five families from the school.
“We are so honored to be able to partner with Monumental Sports again this year. It has been a rough year for many of our families, but the holiday season is time where they should be able to experience immeasurable joy,” said Tiffany Williams, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Martha’s Table. “Seeing the smiles of our community and families participating is the number one reason why we do it. They deserve an amazing Christmas just as anyone else does, and this partnership allows us to sow hope in what seems like a dark time for many. We are grateful and extend our thanks to the Monumental Sports team for your ongoing support of Martha’s Table.”
Monumental Sports volunteers included Tommy and Rosie Sheppard, Anthony Gill, Isaiah Todd, Veron Carey Jr., Devon Dotson (also Capital City Go-Go) from the Washington Wizards, and Wizards’ partners Jenna Gill, Kamiah Beal (Bradley Beal) and Brittne Gowdy (Will Barton); Alycen McAuley (also Capital City Go-Go), Maria Giovannetti, Alysha Clark and Elizabeth Williams from the Washington Mystics; Amber Nichols, Nico Parauda, the entire coaching staff and Kris Dunn, Isaiah Mucius, Davion Mintz, Makur Maker, Quenton Jackson, Jaime Echenique, Craig Sword, Jordan Schakel, Nico Parauda, of the Capital City Go-Go; Capitals wives Kristen Laviolette (Peter Laviolette), Rhonda McCarthy (Kevin McCarthy),Traci Allen (Scott Allen) and Mikkayla Lindgren (Charlie Lindgren) along with additional Monumental Sports & Entertainment staff and executives. MSE volunteers escorted the children, parents and caregivers around the event through each activity and helped them load up their gifts to take home. Transportation to and from the event from Martha’s Table Headquarters was provided by MSEF.
Martha’s Table has been a longstanding partner of the Foundation, the Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals. The D.C.-based nonprofit is committed to supporting strong children, strong families, and strong communities by increasing access to quality education programs, healthy foods and family supports. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has seen a dramatic increase in the number of neighbors seeking access to food and other resources. Their deep relationships and work in the community ensures all donations to the Family-to-Family program, from MSEF and from fans, will directly benefit the members of the D.C. community.
Annually, Monumental Sports offers a variety of opportunities designed to bring holiday cheer to the local community. 2022 highlights include the Wizards virtual toy drive benefiting the Holiday Jingle Ball event hosted by Daniel Gafford in partnership with Off My Block, toy donations accepted at Capital City Go-Go games benefiting Zion Church’s Miracle on Z Street initiative, and the toy collection efforts lead by MSE’s Employee Resource groups in partnership with A Wider Circle.