Stafford 'People's Inaugural' Gets Big Response
The Stafford Foundation officially launched its million-dollar project yesterday morning to bring scores of disadvantaged people to Barack Obama’s inauguration next month.
Amid what organizers said was a deluge of phone calls and emails from potential supporters, volunteers and participants, Virginia businessman Earl W. Stafford announced the start of the initiative to host the needy, as well as the sick and forgotten at what he calls “the People’s Inaugural.” His efforts were reported on the front page of The Washington Post yesterday.
A spokesman said the response already has been huge.
“Hundreds of contacts have poured in through every possible opening,” the spokesman, Ted Kresse, said. “The calls and emails have been coming in nonstop...and we are working to make sure everyone is responded to.”
Stafford, 60, whose family runs the charitable foundation, already has paid $1 million for more than 300 rooms and an array of amenities for his guests at Washington’s J.W. Marriott hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th Street NW.
He also has shelled out another $600,000 for a prayer breakfast, luncheon and two inaugural balls at the hotel.
Stafford, who kicked off the project in a press briefing at the hotel, wants at least 30 percent of his guests to be disadvantaged in some way, and is willing to provide free gowns, tuxedos and the services of beauticians, so guests can have an unforgettable experience.
His goal is to get deserving people to the inauguration who would not otherwise have the opportunity.
By Michael E. Ruane
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Posted by: jwhawk | December 5, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse
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