Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) is the nation’s premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference that convenes policymakers, scientists, managers, business leaders, conservationists, educators, students, and members of the public to engage in dialogue and debate on significant issues that impact our ocean and Great Lakes and to propose innovative policies and partnerships to address these issues. For more information, please visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation website.
This year’s theme, Ocean x Climate, will explore the ocean-climate connection. Understanding global climate change and mitigating and adapting to its impacts is inextricably linked to our one ocean and its biodiversity. How we manage our global ocean to ensure it thrives for future generations is central to combatting climate change, protecting the health of coastal communities, and sustaining our economies.
More information to come.
Anyone interested in supporting CHOW can donate HERE to help us keep the Conference free and open to the public.
Additionally, we are launching peer-to-peer fundraising for CHOW 2023. The top fundraiser will win a pair of tickets for our signature Ocean Awards Gala for a chance to network with the top minds and key players in ocean and marine conservation. Simply create your fundraising page HERE, enter a few basic details, and start fundraising!
There are a variety of sponsorship levels and associated benefits. Please see the CHOW sponsor packet for more information. Space is limited and sponsorships are first-come, first-served. If you are interested, we recommend reaching out as soon as possible to secure your spot.
Space is limited and sponsorships are first-come, first-served. If you are interested, we recommend reaching out as soon as possible to secure your spot. Please contact Cher Mollé, Director of Development, at [email protected].
There are four primary ways to pay for CHOW sponsorship: Online using a credit card, by mail with a check, through a wire transfer, or via an ACH payment.
To pay for your CHOW sponsorship online using a credit card, please:
- Fill out a pledge form.
- Complete your sponsorship payment HERE according to the sponsorship level indicated on your pledge form.
- Look out for your receipt in your email inbox!
- If you do not receive your receipt within 24 hours of payment, please first try and locate it in your spam folder and alert the Foundation’s Development Manager, Laurie VanBenschoten, via email at [email protected] so we can investigate.
- Look out for email communications from the Foundation and our staff to help you begin making the most of your sponsorship benefits!
- Please allow the Foundation up to one full business week to initially reach out regarding your sponsorship benefits activation.
If you’d prefer to pay for your CHOW sponsorship via either check, wire transfer, of ACH payment, please:
- Fill out a pledge form – and make sure to select “Please Invoice Me” at the bottom of the form.
- Look out for an email from Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, containing your invoice. Please allow at least three full business days to receive your invoice. Our team is working hard to process all pledge forms and sponsor requests in a timely manner.
- Send your sponsorship payment using your preferred payment method, as indicated on your custom invoice.
The Sponsor Hub exists to allow sponsors to manage their benefits and Gala attendance more independently and allows the Foundation to easily manage sponsor relationships and benefits accurately and efficiently. The Foundation relies on the Sponsor Hub to collect important information from sponsors, including but not limited to benefits selections and Gala guest lists, to host general information and promotional resources for sponsors, and to anticipate and answer sponsors’ questions and concerns regarding the Conference and Ocean Awards Gala. Use of the Sponsor Hub by sponsors at all levels is highly encouraged by the Foundation. Without the utilization of the Sponsor Hub by all sponsors, Foundation staff response time greatly increases.
No. As a nonprofit organization itself, the Foundation cannot offer discounted sponsorship levels for other nonprofit organizations. However, in the past, there have been several instances where coalitions of nonprofit organizations – groups of approximately four to seven nonprofits – have sponsored CHOW as a coalition, thus reducing the cost of sponsorship for each organization in the coalition by splitting the cost and benefits of sponsorship. If your nonprofit is a member of a coalition that may be interested in sponsoring as a group, please see the CHOW Group Sponsorship Guidelines for more information.
The Foundation offers group sponsorships at the Champion level ONLY. Group sponsorships are only available for organizations, they are not available for groups of individuals and cannot exceed ten (10) organizations. You will be responsible for identifying a single point of contact for the group. Please see the CHOW Group Sponsorship Guidelines for more information. If you are interested in submitting a group sponsorship, please contact Cher Mollé, Director of Development, at [email protected] and Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected] for more information.
June 7, 2023 and June 8, 2023
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
CHOW is free and open to the public. The Ronald Regan Building offers ample space for many Conference attendees.
Yes. Registration is required for anyone attending as guests during CHOW Conference days. CHOW registration is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in attending as a guest can register HERE or onsite at the check-in desk upon arrival. It is highly recommended that attendees register online in advance of the conference so you will only need to check-in onsite.
No, it is not necessary for you to register staff or volunteers who will be manning your company or organization’s exhibit booth at the Conference. Booth staffers will simply need to check-in at the registration booth upon arrival and are required to always wear their nametags in a visible manner while staffing an exhibit booth.
Ocean Awards Gala
Thursday June 8, 2023, at 6:00 pm ET.
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20004
Please review the Gala Know Before You Go document for important information about getting to the venue, check-in, and more.
The dress code for the Ocean Awards Gala is black tie optional. The dress code for the Ocean Awards Gala is black tie optional. Please see the Gala Know Before You Go document for examples.
Please find a summary of this year’s Ocean Awards Gala program here.
The Ronald Reagan Building offers a selection of entrée options to accommodate guests with food allergies. If you or someone in your party has a food allergy or needs meal accommodation, please note this with your Gala invitee names and contact information, which you will provide in the Sponsor Hub.
Our Ocean Awards Gala has become a staple of Capitol Hill Ocean Week and as a result, space is extremely limited.
Sponsors can have 8 guests at their Ocean Awards Gala table.
You are responsible for inviting your guests (except for elected officials, who will be invited by the Foundation for ethical reasons) to sit at your table.
The Sponsor Hub is where you will enter the names of your confirmed guests so that the Foundation can enter your guests into our system prior to check-in. The Foundation does not extend invitations to private citizens on behalf of sponsors.
If you are interested in inviting elected officials to sit at your Gala table, please contact Shannon Colbert, Vice President of External Affairs, at [email protected] to work collaboratively with the Foundation on these sensitive invites and RSVPs.
You must provide the Foundation with a completed guest list for your table no later than May 15, 2023 to allow the Foundation and its event staff adequate time to develop a thoughtful seating chart.
No, guests you are bringing to the table you’ve paid for with your sponsorship will not be required to purchase their own tickets to the Gala, as your sponsorship has already paid for the seats at your table.
The Ocean Awards Gala has become a staple of CHOW. Due to its popularity, and limited space at the venue, we are no longer able to accommodate individual ticket sales. The event is for sponsors and their invited guests. However, the top fundraiser in our CHOW peer-to-peer fundraising campaign challenge will win a pair of tickets to the Gala and will be able to network with the who’s who of ocean and marine conservation. To enter, you must create a personal fundraising page and raise the most money.
You will need to follow up with your invited guests. Once they have confirmed, you can add them to your guest list in the Sponsor Hub. Your RSVP list is editable and can be adjusted as much as you need. The deadline for RSVPs to this year’s Ocean Awards Gala is May 15, 2023.
No. For ethical reasons, the Foundation, as the host, must extend all invitations to elected government officials. Sponsors are not allowed to send invitations on the Foundation’s behalf. Please let the Foundation know if you’d like specific members added to the invite list and we will extend the invitation. Email these names and their contact information directly to Shannon Colbert, Vice President of External Affairs at [email protected].
If an invitation has already been extended by the Foundation, please express your interest in having them join your table and your request will be handled during the seating chart discussion. We will do our best to accommodate all requests but please note that requesting a specific Hill member to be seated at your table is NOT a guarantee. The Foundation will likely have to balance various sponsor requests to coordinate seating. We will, however, do our best to inform you if the individual has RSVP’d so you can make plans to network throughout the evening.
We have made a commitment as a fundraising organization not to share or sell contact or mailing lists of any kind. However, we do link out to sponsor websites through their logo display on the CHOW website and encourage our participants to visit sponsor sites.
If you have specific members in mind, please let the Foundation know. We will do our best to accommodate all requests during the seating discussion, but please note that requesting a specific Hill member to be seated at your table is NOT a guarantee. The Foundation will likely have to balance various requests to coordinate seating. We will, however, do our best to inform you if the individual has RSVP’d so that you can make plans to network throughout the evening.
No. As a nonprofit organization itself, the Foundation cannot offer discounted tickets or tables. The Ocean Awards Gala is a sponsor- and invite-only event, meaning individual tickets are not for sale.
RSVPs must be received no later than May 15, 2023. We ask that you and your guests commit to attending the Gala if an RSVP has been submitted. However, we recognize that last-minute changes can happen and adjustments may be necessary. If you have last-minute changes to your guest list in the days or hours immediately preceding the Gala, please reach out to Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected].
This year, we will be raffling off a Yamaha CrossCore E-bike. Purchase of a raffle ticket includes a complimentary glass of champagne (for individuals 21 years or older who are also present in-person at the Ocean Awards Gala). The raffle winner will be announced following the close of the Ocean Awards Gala program. Raffle tickets are available now through 9:15 pm on June 8, and can be purchased at https://event.gives/chow23.
No. Our raffle, like the CHOW Conference and the silent auction, is open to the public. You do not need to be present at the Gala to purchase a raffle ticket or bid on an auction item. However, you must be present in the room to receive any accompanying collateral. If you win the raffle and are not present in the room, you will be responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of the raffle item. Foundation staff will be in touch following the event to coordinate.
The raffle winner will be announced following the conclusion of the Ocean Award’s Gala program on the evening of June 8, 2023. You do not need to be present at the Gala to purchase a raffle ticket or bid on an auction item. However, you must be present in the room to receive any accompanying collateral. If you win an item and are not present in the room, you will be responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of the raffle item. Foundation staff will be in touch following the event to coordinate.
The raffle winner will be announced following the conclusion of the Ocean Award’s Gala program. If the winner is not present in the room, Foundation staff will be in touch to coordinate item pickup or shipping. The winner is responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of the item. Please be sure to enter valid contact information when purchasing your raffle ticket(s).
No, there will be no physical Gala tickets distributed. Guests will check-in at registration and then proceed to the reception area. The Foundation relies heavily on accurate RSVP information from sponsors so please ensure that all of your guest information is entered into the Sponsor Hub prior to May 15, 2023.
Parking validation is available for Ocean Awards Gala guests that park in the Ronald Reagan Building parking garage. Click here to see a map of where the parking validation desk is located.
- Enter parking garage from any of the three entrances
- Follow posted ORANGE signs for the 14th Street Lobby elevator banks
- Take 14th Street Lobby North or South elevators to Ground (G) level
- Exit elevator and walk straight ahead towards the grand staircase where you will find the Ocean Awards Gala Coat/Bag Check.
As of May 15, we unfortunately can no longer accept in-kind donations for this year’s silent auction. However, if you are interested in donating an item to the silent auction for our 2024 Ocean Awards Gala, please reach out to Cher Mollé, Director of Development, at [email protected].
If you’d like to promote your involvement on your own social channels, feel free to tag the Foundation, reshare our posts, use the hashtag #CHOW2023, and follow us on various platforms to be notified when we post. We will also provide auction donors with our partner toolkit to help you promote your involvement in the event. See below for our handles across various platforms we use.
Although you are welcome to share and post as much as you’d like to promote your involvement in the event, the Foundation will not be able to re-share or like each of your individual posts. To do so would create the illusion of inequitable promotion among vendors. If you would like to discuss a deeper relationship with the Foundation (such as CHOW sponsorship or general corporate partnership), in addition to your participation in the auction, social promotion will be discussed as an additional benefit of a larger CHOW sponsorship or corporate partnership package. Please reach out to Lisa Henschel, Corporate Relations Manager, at [email protected] for more information.
The auction site is live now through Thursday June 8th and can be found at https://event.gives/chow23
The auction site is live now through Thursday June 8th and can be found at https://event.gives/chow23
A selection of available auction items will be on display during the Ocean Awards Gala, but the full selection can be viewed on our auction website at https://event.gives/chow23.
We have a wide variety of goods and experiences being auctioned in support of CHOW 2023. You can view the full selection on the auction website: https://event.gives/chow23.
Winners will receive an immediate notification once the auction closes with instructions on how to claim their item(s). Those attending the Ocean Awards Gala may pick up their items at the end of the program. If shipping is required, Foundation staff will be in touch to coordinate. Winners are responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of their item(s).
Auction winners will receive an immediate notification once the auction closes. For those attending the Ocean Awards Gala, items can be picked up at check-out. For all others, Foundation staff will be in contact in the days following the close of the auction to coordinate pickup options or shipping details.
If shipping is required, Foundation staff will be in touch to coordinate. Winners are responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of their item(s).
For those local to the Washington, D.C. area, items may be picked up during business hours at the Foundation’s office in Silver Spring, Maryland. Please contact Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected], to schedule a pickup time.
Yes, winning bidders are responsible for any shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of their item(s). If the donor of the item has agreed to cover shipping costs for the auction winner, this will be noted in the item description on the auction site. Winning bidders will receive communication after the auction closes to coordinate payment of any shipping costs. Payment of shipping costs must be completed before an item will be released to the winner.
Yes, the CHOW auction is open to the public at https://event.gives/chow23. You do not need to attend the Ocean Awards Gala to place a bid or win an item. Winners will be announced during the evening of the Gala and Foundation staff will be in contact with winners not in present in the room. If shipping is required, Foundation staff will be in touch to coordinate. Winners are responsible for all shipping costs associated with the transport and delivery of their item(s).
The Ocean Awards Gala has become a staple of CHOW. Due to its popularity and limited space at the venue, we are generally not able to accommodate individual seats for auction donors. However, if you are interested in attending the Gala as an auction donor, please reach out to Cher Mollé, Director of Development, at [email protected] and Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected]. We may be able to accommodate your requests depending on space available.
Ideally, forms will be completed as soon as your decision has been made about what you’ll be providing. The form contains the Foundation’s shipping address for any deliveries. Please contact Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected] for more information.
To properly plan the display layout in the room, we will need donated item(s) in hand by May 15. The sooner you can send the item(s), the better. Once we have the item(s) in hand, we can issue a tax letter for your donation. The donation form you complete will list our shipping address for any deliveries.
The only exception will be packages containing alcohol. The Foundation cannot ship alcohol, so the donor will be responsible for holding the package until the auction closes. Once a winner is identified, the Foundation will connect the donor and winning bidder to coordinate shipping and delivery details.
Once you’ve decided to participate, we will need the following documents:
- A completed copy of the Auction Donation Form.
- A photo of the item(s) for display on our online auction platform.
- A copy of your company logo.
- A brief description of the item(s) being donated.
- A brief description (3-5 sentences) about your company.
- The item(s) once they’re ready to ship.
The number varies year to year. Last year, we had nearly 75 different items. Our event usually has 400-600 attendees, and our auction is advertised to our national audience. Each year, we attempt to curate a significant selection of items to keep bidders at all levels engaged. We’d love to speak with you about how you can best get involved. Please contact Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected] for more information.
The Foundation stops accepting donations for the current auction on May 15 each year to allow ample time for exchange of paperwork, shipping, and delivery. However, we would be happy to discuss donations for the next year. Please contact Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected] for more information.
It is not required that you provide anything other than the donated item(s). However, we highly recommend that you provide a business card or piece of company branded collateral with the donated item. Donors frequently purchase items at fundraising auctions and end up purchasing another piece as a gift for family/friends.
Your donation will be advertised on our online auction bidding platform and the item will also be displayed for attendees to see during the event itself. We send regular e-blasts promoting the auction items once the platform is launched. This is why we request photos and your company logo – so we may properly note your involvement in our event.
There is no minimum or maximum donation amount. We frequently have items ranging from $10-$10,000 or more in value. We are grateful for your participation at any level and depend on generosity like yours to keep CHOW free and open to the public. We are happy to work with you to figure out the best way for you to participate. Please contact Laurie VanBenschoten, Development Manager, at [email protected] for more information.