Connecting passion with purpose


AFCEA DC is a leading volunteer chapter of AFCEA International serving the intelligence, national security, and military communities. For nearly 50 years, their annual Winter Gala has been the premier social event for the defense and federal IT industry, fundraising for charities like Toys for Tots and various STEM initiatives. When COVID hit in 2020, the beloved gala was threatened. AFCEA DC needed to keep chapter members connected and engaged, when all other in-person gatherings had been called off. Being their comprehensive partner for everything from events to board meetings, Yes& accepted the challenge.


While many organizations waited for the world to open up, AFCEA DC was determined to keep their family connected through the thick and thin of the pandemic. Behind this determination was precisely what AFCEA DC is all about: hope. And this hope was at the core of Yes&’s inspiration, fueling our creativity and ingenuity along the way.


To galvanize the community, Yes& launched “7 Weeks of Giving,” an online charity drive with the ambitious goal of collecting 5,000 toys. The campaign included a website, animation, video, custom artwork, and a robust email and social media marketing effort.

And in 2021, Yes& restored the annual fundraising gala, transforming the massive National Building Museum into an immersive Holiday Village. We leveraged all physical spaces- columns, the ceiling, and chalets- for branding and sponsorship; and we optimized room flow for crowd control, so guests felt safe to enjoy the special evening and advance the event’s philanthropic objectives.

The “&”

By adding a collective goal weeks leading up to the event, Yes& energized the AFCEA DC community with renewed camaraderie and commitment to the mission. Even more so, in a time when people didn’t know how to help, or whom to help, Yes& and AFCEA DC gave people the ultimate gift: the chance to give back.

the Results

While the AFCEA community was not able to gather in person in 2020, the digital campaign brought engagement to new levels—with 8,000 toys collected (160% of the goal!).

One year later, the 2021 Winter Gala was another huge success, bringing $730,000 in sponsorship and attendee revenue. After expenses, the Gala donated $200,000 for STEM scholarships to local high schools. The gala’s Toys for Tots initiative contributed 7,000+ toys.


Which Exceeded The Initial Goal & Collected 8,000 Toys