In a time of heightened tensions and polarized views, the value of inclusive messaging seems greater than ever. With this in mind, service industry veterans Amanda Carpenter and Alaina Dyne launched All in Service D.C., a volunteer-led initiative committed to celebrating D.C.’s diversity.
More than 105 local businesses in the Washington metropolitan area have agreed to donate a significant amount of their inauguration weekend profits from Jan. 20 to 22 to a charity of their choosing. The initiative calls for the tens of thousands of visitors to “eat, drink and explore in D.C. for good” as they come in for the inauguration weekend.
“The events of the inauguration present a vital opportunity to serve our nation’s capital by creating inclusive spaces in service, not only [for] our guests but also our community,” Carpenter said.
The All in Service D.C. logo in an establishment will let customers know that they are supporting local businesses and the greater community as they explore some of D.C.’s finest locales. The organizations that will receive donations include: Planned Parenthood, KIND, co-founded by Angelina Jolie to protect the basic human rights of refugee children in the U.S., and Ayuda, which offers legal and social services to low-income immigrants.
Regardless of the political nature of the causes supported by these charities, All in Service D.C. stands as nonpartisan movement. It focuses on giving back to key local organizations and celebrating the values of hospitality, empathy and diversity that each one embodies.
“It has more to do with compassion in action than with a political stand. This is a project of love and inclusion, whose purpose remains to take advantage of the attention our local industry receives in such a busy and important weekend to generate a positive impact on the institutions that keep our community thriving,” Sarah Massey, PR representative and one of the main organizers of the event, said.
Additionally, many of the supported organizations are advocacy groups for immigrants, raising the issue of imminent deportations and its relation to the service industry. Down in Georgetown’s Chez Billy Sud, one of the participating restaurants, manager Ian Hilton agrees that most commercial kitchens and dining rooms depend largely on immigrant workers.
“This is a project that stems from recognizing and celebrating real people who work for real employers — people who are an essential part of the community,” Massey said.
All in Service D.C. has managed to attract businesses as diverse as the D.C. metropolitan area itself, from high-end restaurants, like Capitol Hill’s Rose’s Luxury and Downtown’s Fig and Olive, to relaxed cafés, such as Adams Morgan’s Tryst and Columbia Heights’ The Coupe.
Regardless of their clientele, local businesses have focused on a clear purpose: giving back to their community by selecting charities that embody their values. The goal is to fundraise for local service organizations while also providing an opportunity for service workers throughout the city to contribute to their community.
“We are the hospitable bartenders, chefs and servers who host you at fundraising events all the time in the nation’s capital,” Dyne said. “All in Service offers a great opportunity to merge the worlds of service and philanthropy, so everyone can feel good about their contributions.”
Despite being a large neighborhood boasting numerous businesses, Georgetown has shown surprisingly low participation in the event. In comparison to the 17 participating businesses in the 14th Street and Logan Circle neighborhood and the 16 Downtown, Georgetown’s contribution comprises of only four establishments.
Its participating businesses are vegetarian bodega Beefsteak, Italian market-style café Via Umbria, stylish boutique Violet, and French minimalist bistro Chez Billy Sud.
“We invite all of D.C.’s businesses to join this amazing effort to demonstrate commitment to community,” Dyne said. “We’d love to see the entire D.C. service industry participate to show our commitment to hospitality and community when we’re serving hundreds of thousands of visitors.”
Other important neighborhoods contributing to the initiative are: Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant, with 11 sponsors ranging from charming diners to creative dessert shops; Dupont Circle, featuring eight establishments, where customers can enjoy Spanish tapas as well as home-style Korean food; and Columbia Heights, where eight sponsors include Filipino and Vietnamese eateries.
As soon as a venue commits to participate, All in Service D.C. provides it with public relations materials, outreach and logistical support. Its volunteer team gives each business materials for advertising, such as posters and coasters, and connects the business with its chosen charity, ensuring a smooth delivery of donations.
“We are happily overwhelmed by the generosity and support this effort has received. Businesses pledged donations to over a dozen organizations servicing the D.C. community, and we have also benefited from in-kind contributions in design, outreach, public relations and more,” Carpenter said.
Created by the idea of giving back to the community, All in Service D.C. presents an innovative means of crafting a positive message while generating tangible results. Honoring the very essence of the service industry, like a gracious host, it welcomes all.