LearnServe Gala

RSVP here – we hope you can join us!

Ticket Prices

Changemakers Sponsorship – $10,000
1 Table (10 VIP tickets), Priority seating, ½ page ad in the Program, Mention in signage, website, and social media, Sponsor Loop, Podium Mention, LearnServe student seated at Gala Table, Meet and Greet with Speakers and honorees, Confer Award

Innovators Sponsorship $5,000
1 Table (10 VIP tickets), Priority seating, ½ page ad in the Program, Mention in signage, website, and social media, Sponsor Loop, Podium Mention, LearnServe student seated at Gala Table, Meet and Greet with Speakers and honorees

Community-Builders Sponsorship – $3,000
Half Table (5 VIP tickets), Priority seating, ½ page ad in the Program, Mention in signage, website, and social media, Sponsor Loop, LearnServe student seated at Gala Table

Entrepreneurs Sponsorship – $1,500
3 VIP tickets, Priority seating, ¼ page ad in the Program, Mention in signage, website, and social media, Sponsor Loop, LearnServe student seated at Gala Table

Investor Level – $500
2 VIP tickets, Priority seating

Friend Level – $200
1 VIP Ticket, Priority seating

Guest Level – $120
1 ticket to main event

Community Member Level – $50 (limited number for students, LearnServe alumni, and community members on a limited income)
1 ticket to main event

Unable to join us on March 15?  Join us in spirit with an online gift to LearnServe – and we’ll recognize your contribution at the Gala.


Keynote Speaker John Rice is the Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a national non-profit organization that equips underrepresented minorities with the skills, coaching and relationships required to become high-impact leaders in corporations, non-profits and entrepreneurial ventures. Serving 6000+ students and professionals nationwide, MLT is a leading source of minority talent at its blue-chip partner companies including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citi and Target as well as at the nation’s top MBA programs. John has been featured on CNN, the cover of Fortune, and was named one of Forbes top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world.

Prior to MLT, John was an executive with the National Basketball Association, where he served as managing director of NBA Japan and as director of marketing for Latin America. Before joining the NBA, John spent four years with the Walt Disney Company in new business development and marketing.

John serves on the Board of Trustees of Yale University and he is a Director and Compensation Committee Chair of Walker & Dunlop, a NYSE-traded real estate finance company. He was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commissions on Educational Excellence for African Americans and on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, John is on the Advisory Council of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. He serves on a number of non-profit boards including the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and venture philanthropy fund New Profit.

John received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BA with honors from Yale, where he was a three-year starter on the basketball team. He resides in the Washington DC area with his wife Andrea and two young children, Mateo and Kiki.

Master of Ceremonies Aaron Jenkins is the Vice President of Policy & Advocacy at The Expectations Project. Aaron is a former appointee of the Obama Administration. He served as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Department of Commerce.  In his role, he worked to promote partnerships between business, community and faith-based organizations that foster economic opportunity and job growth.  Prior to his work at Commerce, Aaron was the Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC (OUDC), a non-profit organization that specializes in cultural education, leadership development and interfaith dialogue programming for African-American and Jewish high school students.  He previously worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Aide to then-Senator John F. Kerry.  Aaron started his career as a legislative staffer in the District of Columbia City Council.  A native Washingtonian, Aaron is a licensed minister and serves on the board of the Abramson Scholarship Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to first generation college students.


Civic Champion Awardee Catherine Tinsley has served as the LearnServe International Board Chair since 2010. She is passionate about international education. She and her husband Tom have lived and raised their family in Denmark, the Netherlands, and numerous corners of the U.S. Here in Washington, DC Cathy has devoted time to volunteering at Washington International School where, among other responsibilities, she was president of the Parent Association. For 10 years she has served on the board of ASSIST (which brings international students to study at American independent schools), currently chairing their 50th Anniversary activities. She also serves on the Honorary Board of Halcyon.

Entrepreneurship Awardee Sebastian Martin is a proud alum of LearnServe Ethiopia 2004, the very first LSI cohort of students and teachers from the Washington, DC area to travel and serve abroad. That journey inspired Sebastian’s next decade of travel, community service, political activism, and eventually his calling for social entrepreneurship. In 2013, he founded Cambio Coffee – an organic, direct trade, specialty coffee company based in Shanghai. As a social enterprise, Cambio Coffee offers price premiums to small farmers and cooperatives, and reinvests 5% of its gross profits into development projects in coffee producing communities. As an emerging coffee brand in China, Cambio also offers spaces for cultural events, community empowerment, and charitable fundraising in its cafes. Sebastian has been a mentor and adviser to dozens of early stage entrepreneurs, a teacher of leadership to high school and university students, and the President of Fresh Start Shanghai – a Rotary club dedicated to empowering NGOs and social entrepreneurs in China.

Global Perspective Awardees Karl and Angela Bennett are the Founders of KBC Learning, a non-profit organization focused on building literacy skills in under-served communities in Jamaica. They have been partners of LearnServe, acting as thought leaders and running workshops for the LearnServe Jamaica program since 2011.

Angela Bennett co-founded KBC Learning, and has been the organization’s Director since 2003. Angela is from Jamaica, but has spent most of her life in the United States, studying at the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Cincinnati, and George Washington University. She is an award-winning teacher who has worked with young people at all levels from K-12 to Junior College and Adult Education. She is a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist/Audiologist, as well as a certified teacher for Speakers of Other Languages, K-12. Her accomplishments also include applied research in classrooms.

Karl Bennett, Co-Director of KBC Learning, has had an multi-faceted career as a Civil Engineer spanning more than 40 years in the USA and in the Caribbean. As a registered Professional Engineer, he has been involved in planning, designing, operating and maintaining water and waste-water treatment facilities, constructing manufacturing plants, K-12 schools and low income housing. He recognizes the value of a good education and believes that every child should be given the opportunity to benefit from one.

Gala Co-Chairs

Anthony Shop, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, is a pioneer in the field of digital media. Starting from a deep belief that the future is bright and people come before technology, Anthony has sparked innovative strategies that have produced remarkable results for some of the world’s most beloved companies and organizations. A former journalist and press secretary, Anthony is the first new media professional to be elected to the prestigious National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He founded the Club’s popular “Get It Online” digital media series, which has hosted luminaries from CNN, NASA and The White House to discuss media trends. Anthony’s views on digital media have been featured by the BBC, CBS and USA Today, and he has been featured as a keynote speaker at conferences across the globe, from Singapore and London to New York and Miami.

Emily Rasowsky, Customer Experience, Sparkfund. Sparkfund is a DC-based energy tech company. Emily was previously Director of Marketing and Communications at Washington DC Economic Partnership, managing the strategic marketing and communications efforts of the organization. She is also responsible for developing strategies to raise awareness of the partnership’s business development efforts and DC’s status as a strategic business location, and serves as the primary media contact for local, national and international media covering Washington, DC and its business climate. Emily brings experience running national integrated marketing campaigns for an array of Fortune 100 clients, non-profits and government agencies in the tech, education, healthcare and entertainment sectors. As the Founder of the D.C business All Women in Tech and the Women in Tech Campaign, she is passionate about continuing to market Washington, D.C. as the Capital of Inclusive Innovation in business through dynamic online and offline initiatives.