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Gifts for the Homeless, Inc.
P.O. Box 820046
Washington, DC 20073

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Archived Banding Together Articles
Archived Clothing Drive Articles

Board of Directors


GFTH Board and Leadership Council Members at 2014 GFTH Annual Used Clothing Drive


GFTH Officers

Bart Epstein, President


Bart is also the ‎Founding CEO at Jefferson Education Accelerator and Managing Director of the Jefferson Education Fund.

•  How long have you been on the board? What are you in charge of here at GFTH?

As the President of GFTH, I work with our leaders to ensure that each year we raise more money and support more homeless shelters – all while continuing to use 100% of every penny donated by the public to buy new warm clothing and blankets for the homeless.  I joined the Board in 2005.

•  What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless? What is your favorite thing about the experience?

When I was a teenager, I volunteered in a day care center for homeless children and was exposed on a daily basis to how awful it is to be homeless or nearly homeless.  I also saw how impactful small kindnesses can be.  When I was in college, I created my own major – called Poverty & Discrimination – to study issues related to wealth formation, distribution, and economic policy.  For my senior project, I proposed to live on the streets for two months, but the chairman of the political science department wouldn’t allow that to happen.  Instead, I spent months interviewing families on welfare to understand how they got there and what their prospects were for getting out of poverty.  Early in my professional career, I spent nearly three years working at a program in DC for near-homeless adults with mental illness, and after law school I did pro bono work for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless – helping people navigate the world of housing, disability, and medical benefits.

My favorite thing about being part of Gifts for the Homeless is knowing that anytime I see a homeless person in DC who needs warm clothes or a blanket, I can confidently point them to the nearest shelter and be certain that they will be taken care of – at least in terms of staying warm.  But, I also feel a profound sense of sadness and frustration because even if we can provide warmth and food for every homeless person, there is still so much they need that we as a society are not providing.  This is part of why I feel so strongly that our greatest moral issue is improving public education and reducing childhood poverty.

•  What are you best known for within GFTH?

I’d like to think I am known for helping to bring out the best in everyone who is part of GFTH, by helping to figure out how their skills and interests are best matched with our needs.  Also, for helping to infuse the organization with a business-like sense of focus and efficiency that respects the time and contributions of our volunteers and volunteer board members.

•  Are you involved in anything else?  What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

In my free time I am also a volunteer pilot for a group called Angel Flight.  We fly sick people from rural locations to urban centers for medical treatments.

My favorite activity outside of GFTH is playing, baking, wrestling, reading, and laughing with my two little boys who have been to every GFTH clothing drive since they were born.  What a joy to see them now able to help sort clothes and understand how they are helping other people.

•  Tell us about a GFTH moment that touched your heart or name one of your heroes!

My heroes are my colleagues at GFTH who are quietly awesome at what they do.  Year in and year out, they help organize our clothing drive, our summer concert, purchase clothing and blankets for more than 60 area shelters, manage our hundreds of volunteers, and so much more.  And when there are administrative expenses we need to cover, we have this wonderful culture in which board members just volunteer to pay them ourselves so that we can spend every penny of public donations buying clothing and blankets.

Jay Owen, Vice President


Jay is an attorney with the U.S. Government.  Jay says:

I joined the GFTH Board shortly after graduating from law school in 2007.  I was first inspired to get involved with GFTH through the used clothing drive, which I started attending in 2006, but quickly got involved in several other aspects of the Board’s operation, including new clothing purchases and internal financials.  I currently serve as the Vice-Chairman for GFTH, though I may be best known for showing up to the clothing drive on my bicycle, no matter how cold the weather!

Ann Battle, Secretary


Anne is an attorney in the legal department of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc.

●  How long have you been on the board, e.g. since 1990? What are you in charge of here at GFTH? 

Since 2014.  I am the Secretary and in charge of the Ad Hoc Committee on Law Firm Relationships.

●  What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless?  What is your favorite thing about the experience?

I volunteered at the clothing drive while I was an associate at Sutherland.  I was inspired by the impact that GFTH could make in one weekend and by going on deliveries to local shelters.  Working at the clothing drive each year is still my favorite part of GFTH.

●  What are you best known for within GFTH?

I have no idea!  [Ed. Note: Ann is too shy — she keeps us on our toes after our regular Board meetings!]

● Are you involved in anything else? What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

I enjoy running, yoga, hiking, my dog, my husband and all of our family and friends.

●  Tell us about a GFTH moment that touched your heart or name one of your heroes!

See the second question above.


Joe Edmondson, Vice President for Used Clothing


Joe Edmondson has served on the GFTH Board since 2005, and has been VP of Used Clothing since 2008.  He has served as the GFTH firm coordinator at his law firm, Foley & Lardner LLP, where he is a partner in the Securities Enforcement and Litigation practice group since 1994.

The plight of the homeless has been a concern of Joe’s since he first arrived in Washington in 1984 to attend George Washington University, finding people sleeping on steam grates and asking for spare change on street corners, something that he had never encountered in Connecticut where he grew up.  He began volunteering at Miriam’s Kitchen, interned with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, worked on the Housing Now! rally on the mall in 1989, and as a lawyer has devoted his pro bono efforts toward fair housing litigation — to prevent homelessness.  The greatest thing about working in this area is holding on to the belief that we can someday end chronic homelessness, but only if we continue to touch the lives of individuals, meeting their basic needs in a very tangible way.

Outside of GFTH, Joe keeps busy with his four kids, loves going to both Nationals games and his son’s own baseball games, and plays acoustic guitar for anyone who is willing to listen — and sing

Laurie Glassman, Vice President for Development


Laurie served as counsel at White and Case (retired) and takes many of the wonderful photos at our events that are published on this website and GFTH social media.  She says:

In the late 1980s, I began volunteering for GFTH, when the organization was small and the entire Used Clothing Drive was held in a conference room at a medium-sized law firm.  I didn’t set out to become involved in a homelessness cause, but the Used Clothing Drive, even then, was a beehive of activity and looked like a lot of fun.  I found myself getting more and more involved as a volunteer each year, and watched GFTH grow by leaps and bounds, to the point where the organization had to find a much larger space for the Used Clothing Drive.

In 1993, I was asked to join the GFTH Board of Directors, and of course jumped at the chance.  When GFTH created the position of Vice President for Development in 2004, I took on that role, and have been in charge of our development efforts ever since.

What I love so dearly about GFTH – an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff and a zero budget — is that such a small group of people (our awesome, congenial, dedicated Board of Directors and Leadership Council) has been able to do so much good for the homeless community.  Our group works incredibly well together in pursuit of our common goal:  to ensure that all homeless men, women and children in our community have the essential clothing they need to keep them warm during the cold winter months.

My favorite thing about GFTH?  It’s actually two things.  The first is our phenomenal Used Clothing Drive (more than 3000 bags of good used clothing, on average, delivered to 50+ area homeless support organizations each December).  I especially love the enthusiasm of the young children who come to the Drive with their families and beam with delight as they gather the donated clothes and put them into bags for distribution.  My other favorite thing is our amazing June fundraiser, “Banding Together: The Battle of the Law Firm Bands” (which has raised millions of dollars since its inception in 2004).  The music is spectacular and watching the bands compete for the championship trophy is a blast.  Some law firms bring large groups to the event and deck everyone out in hilarious T-shirts; one law firm group had T-shirts that read: “Warm, Fuzzy, Privileged and Confidential.”

When not working on GFTH projects or spending time with my children and little grandchildren, I’m often taking trips to some of the farthest-flung places on the planet.  At last count I’ve been to 130 countries and territories – depending on whether Antarctica qualifies as a “country.”  Recently I’ve given alms to 300 saffron-robed monks in Laos, climbed some of the highest sand dunes in the world in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, participated (along with 1.6 million Hindus) in the Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia, visited primitive villages on the Karawari River in Papua New Guinea, and photographed the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.  (If anyone reading this is interested in adventure travel, please contact me!)  I’m also a devoted fan of the University of Maryland Men’s NCAA Champion Lacrosse Team.  Go Terps!


Walt Lohmann, Vice President for Special Events

(Banding Together, Battle of the Law Firm Bands)


Walt Lohmann is a retired partner and Diversity Of-Counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  Walt served as Co-Chair of Kirkland’s Firmwide Diversity Committee from 2006-2014.  He is currently City Lead for Washington, D.C. for the LCLD Success in Law School Mentoring Program and works with LCLD on a number of other programs. Walt sits on the Boards of the Posse Foundation (DC) and Gifts for the Homeless, Inc. and is the proud founder of “Banding Together, the Battle of the Law Firm Bands (a Gifts for the Homeless benefit).”

Gerri Walsh, Vice President for Purchasing


Gerri is the President of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation and the Senior Vice President, Investor Education

I have been a member of the board of GFTH for more than 20 years, having joined in 1992 or 1993 (so long ago, I don’t quite remember!).  Since 1994, I have been Vice President of New Clothing.

I first joined GFTH because my mentor at Hogan & Hartson wanted to step down from the Board and needed someone to replace him as the firm’s representative.  I’ve stayed all these years because I fell in love with the organization and its mission.  What better way to give back to the community in so meaningful a way?

When I left Hogan for the SEC, I passed the firm coordinator torch to a group of young lawyers who ignited the flame of Hogan’s amazing and enduring support.  And if that were not reward enough, I later got involved with purchasing and became completely enchanted.  Every year, I have the privilege of interacting with the caseworkers and volunteer coordinators at more than 60 shelters city-wide, all with the goal of identifying and helping to meet the new clothing needs of our area’s homeless population.  And when our vendors have excess inventory to donate, I’ve pointed them to the shelters GFTH serves.

Outside of GFTH, my day job involves running a foundation focused on building financial capability nationwide – and in my spare time I love to travel, read, and run.  I’m usually training for something, whether a 5K or a 200-mile relay or something in-between, and I’m a huge fan of destination races.  And though I always give up a Saturday long run to work the GFTH annual used clothing drive, the reality is I clock an amazing number of miles chasing down carts, orienting volunteers, and making shelter deliveries!

  V. Gerard (Jerry) Comizio, Vice President

Jerry is a partner with Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson LLP and chair of its banking practice.

•  How long have you been on the board, e.g. since 1990? What are you in charge of here at GFTH?

I have been on the board since 2010.  I have been a member of the corporate governance committee and worked with the board of GFTH in addressing and implementing major changes in the DC non-profit laws on everything from the new requirements establishing statutory fiduciary duties for the board members of GFTH to the need to overhaul GFTH’s governing documents to comply with DC law, including on matters of board liability, D&O insurance and indemnification.

•  What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless? What is your favorite thing about the experience?

I was very much inspired by the local nature and targeted results of GFTH.  It has a very clear and direct goal: to provide warm clothing to the homeless in the DC area.  While I’m sure there are people and organizations that seek to save the entire world, it is in my view really all about saving the world one little bit at a time.  Nothing can be more inspiring than seeing those less fortunate in the DC area who have been provided by GFTH with a very basic dignity-the ability to stay warm during cold weather.

• What are you best known for within GFTH?

At the time I joined the board of GFTH in 2009, I was the only board member at that time that actually played in one of the bands competing at Banding Together, The Unnamed Party. The Unnamed Party is the three-peat of BT heading into BT 2017, and have managed to keep the pretty much the same members of the band since our first appearance in 2009, although we are now at four different law firms.

•  Are you involved in anything else?  What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

Outside of GFTH, I have been and adjunct professor of banking law at AU Law for almost 23 years, and recently wrote a textbook on international banking law.  I also play fast pitch baseball and softball.

•  Tell us about a GFTH moment that touched your heart or name one of your heroes!

After our fundraising efforts and hard practice, it was a great moment to have Bart announce us for the first time as winners of BT 2013!  And I love the all-star jam at the end of the night!

Matt Scarlato, Vice President,Website and Social Media

Matt is a trial attorney with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, and says:

I have been a GFTH Board member since 2007.  I was drawn to GFTH after participating in Banding Together and experiencing the incredible effectiveness and passion of GFTH’s Board.  I joined the Board because I feel a strong commitment to give back to the community that has given so much to me.  GFTH was the perfect opportunity for that.  Our events are fun and provide enormous benefits to the needy in our community.  In my time at GFTH, I have served in several roles, including assisting in coordinating bands for Banding Together, coordinating volunteers at our annual used clothing drive, and enhancing GFTH’s access to technology.  My band, One for the Governor, has participated in Banding Together seven times, bringing down the house (or trying to) with our unusual eclectic love-song acoustic quartet style.


Steve Spiegelhalter, Treasurer

Steve is a former federal prosecutor who now leads Ernst & Young LLP’s Forensic & Integrity Services practice in Washington, DC. Steve has been serving on GFTH’s board and as GFTH’s treasurer since 2017.


GFTH General Board Members

Lisa Bernstein


Lisa is also an attorney with the federal government.

•  How long have you been on the board? What are you in charge of here at GFTH?

For about 10 years. I am the Vice President of Website and Social Media

•  What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless? What is your favorite thing about the experience? 

I have been volunteering to assist low-income persons in need since my high school days.  I strongly believe that one person contributing any amount of time or resources at the local level can cause a major impact and positive chain reaction.  I was the president of a homeless services club in law school and missed helping the homeless after I graduated and moved to DC.  One day while reading The Legal Times, I saw an advertisement for Gifts for the Homeless’s annual used clothing drive.  It seemed like the perfect fit for a busy lawyer who wanted to renew volunteerism in the homeless community.  I was hooked during the first clothing drive and was fortunate to become a GFTH board member.  It is hard to pick one favorite thing about volunteering with GFTH, but one of my most is the connection that is established with people who are sincerely grateful for any help, whether it’s just one gently used coat or dozens of new socks.  I also love the energy and cohesion of volunteers at the GFTH annual used clothing drives.

•  What are you best known for within GFTH?

Keeping everyone posted on all things GFTH on the website and social media

•  Are you involved in anything else? What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

I visit a low-income senior citizen to keep her company and chat once a week.  My new passion is cycling. I hope to do more long distance outdoor rides.

•  Tell us about a GFTH moment that touched your heart or name one of your heroes!

There are so many, but one would be visiting Ella’s Kids and seeing their well-organized and user friendly operation, as well as seeing the passion of their leadership and volunteers for helping the DC community.


Ken Brown

Ken Brown

Ken is a partner with Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC and says:


I was first exposed to GFTH through Banding Together, in which I and four colleagues at Williams & Connolly participated for several years.  I joined the Board in 2014.  It is my privilege to be involved in an organization staffed by such dedicated volunteers working for such a worthwhile purpose.  When I am not litigating I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife and two daughters through youth sports, music, and travel.

Dan Buchner


Dan is an Assistant General Counsel as the World Wildlife Fund.

● How long have you been on the board?

Since 2013

● What are you in charge of here at GFTH?

In charge of Banding Together

● What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless? What is your favorite thing about the experience?

Participating in Banding Together and sorting used clothing; I like to see the legal community step outside itself for a while and do something purely positive for the city in which we live and work.

● What are you best known for within GFTH?

The Banding Together guy.

● Are you involved in anything else? What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

I have a wife and two young children whom I adore, and I write, play and produce a lot of music.

Christopher Dorsey


Chris is Vice President of Wilson-Epes Printing Co., Inc.  He is also the talent and heart behind our wonderful event banners and printed materials generously donated by his company and father, who is also a former GFTH Board Member.

●  How long have you been on the board?  What are you in charge of here at GFTH?

I have recently joined the GFTH board and am pursuing a role with Banding Together.  I have worked with this organization for the last 10 years.

●  What inspired you to volunteer in aiding the local homeless?  What is your favorite thing about the experience?

I’m mostly impressed with the commitment and dedication the people of this organization bring.  There is a true and honest commitment.  This organization is a year round machine and continues to grow and help people in need.

●  What are you best known for within GFTH?

I guess I am best known as the sign guy.  Over the years using my skills to assist in visual communication.

●  Are you involved in anything else? What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

Prior to DC and since I have been here, I have had the fortunate opportunities to work with some great organizations.  Here in DC, I have volunteered and sponsored a number of charities, like Lawyers have Heart.  I have worked with Diabetes Association and Kidney Foundation.  Local to the Hill, I believe strongly in offering support and services to organizations like Capitol Hill Village.  Hands on the ground, I also have 10 years of float building…that’s right, 18 wheel tractor trailer, lumber, glitter and spray paint, music and generators.

● Are you involved in anything else? What is your favorite activity outside of GFTH?

When not responding to the Call of Duty, paid or unpaid, I am a competitive rower with Capitol Rowing Club.  I can be found at practice at 5:15am every morning (almost every morning).

Adrianne Goins

Mark Moran


Mark is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, where he was first exposed to GFTH in the early 1990s through the firm’s participation in the annual used clothing drive.  Mark was immediately attracted to the strong sense of community spirit and camaraderie he experienced among the GFTH volunteers, and began volunteering for the clothing drive on a regular basis until he joined the Board in 2013.

His most gratifying experiences both as a volunteer delivering used clothing and as a Board member assisting with the purchasing of new clothing are when he gets to visit the shelters directly and see first hand the real value GFTH brings to the communities it serves.  His proudest accomplishment has been helping to increase Steptoe’s commitment to GFTH, particularly through its participation in Banding Together, which has become one of the firm’s principal avenues for charitable giving each year.


Amy Roma

Amy Roma

Amy is Partner with Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C. and says:


I have been involved in GFTH for many years, and joined the Board in February 2014.  When I first joined my current firm, Hogan Lovells, a colleague asked me to help out with the firm GFTH clothing drive and fundraising campaign.  I now run the campaign for the firm.  Every year, it astounds me how much clothing we collect (Hogan Lovells alone fills an entire U-Haul truck!), sort, purchase and delivery to area homeless shelters.  It makes me so proud to be part of this Board and to work at a firm that recognizes the importance of this organization.  I have volunteered my entire life, splitting my time between advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities and helping homeless populations, so it was a natural choice to work on the firm GFTH efforts and now the Board.  Outside of GFTH, some other volunteer work, and my day job, I spend my time enjoying my two young children and trying to get a run in.


Jim Villa


Jim is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Versar, Inc.   He says:

I have been a member of the GFTH Board since 1992.  For the first eight years of my tenure, I ran the clothing drive—before we created the august title of VP of Used Clothing!  Since then, I have continued to assist with the used clothing drive and have worked on press relations and even helped as an emcee at Banding Together on occasion.

I first volunteered at the drive in 1991 because it was held at my firm, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.  At that time, we had about 15 participating firms and there were less than 50 volunteers helping with the drive.  While sorting and bagging clothing, I saw groups of volunteers moving the same group of sorted bags back and forth to different locations—they were essentially working at cross purposes!  I grabbed a couple of folks and started helping coordinate the flow of sorted clothing so that we weren’t duplicating efforts.  After the drive, Larry Williams and another board member, Kim Fitzgerald, asked me to join the Board and run the drive—one of the consequences of being bossy, I guess!

While I am grateful to work with all of the others who support this effort, I’ve been particularly impressed with two of my fellow Board members, Larry Williams and Walt Lohmann.  Larry is the only Board member senior to me and at all of our activities, does the toughest and least visible work.  He has long been the backbone of our Board and I am taken with his attitude of service.  Walt created Banding Together almost singlehandedly, developing the idea of a second GFTH activity and bringing it to life with his incredible efforts.

Outside of GFTH, I am on the Board of the Association of Corporate Counsel, National Capitol Region, and the Board of Falls Church Kiwanis Little League, where I also help coach my sons.

Carol Weiser —

Larry Williams —

James Thomas —