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Idea + Passion = Impact

Read below for an interview between Bobby Olejarczyk and Greg Rockwell, Thrive DC's Director of Development, about what can happen when you let your passion for a cause drive you to action. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Greg: So you just did something really cool. How about telling us who you are and what you just did?

Bobby: Of course! My name is Bobby Olejarczyk, I'm a current third year at Bentley University, right outside of Boston, studying public policy and business studies. But right now I'm in Washington, DC as an intern for the US Department of Education.

This past weekend I ran the virtual 125th Boston Marathon, right through the streets of DC. And in doing that, I raised over a thousand dollars for Thrive DC, an organization that I very much have come to support and find very much in tied to my values and passions.

Greg: That's so cool. Thank you so much.! That's an amazing amount raised for our clients. Why Thrive?

Bobby: Yeah. So in coming to DC, I saw that while it's big problem everywhere, homelessness is chronic here, and very, very much a part of the culture here that has given me so much. But because I don't always have that dollar or that meal that I can give folks, I wanted to do something a little bit more.

I saw Thrive DC as a great way to do that because your organization focuses very much on vulnerable populations, ones that have been disadvantaged from their lived experiences, such as formerly incarcerated folks, or women, or other marginalized communities. That Thrive understands these groups and is actively working to help them and support them from a lens of equity was a mission that I very much agreed with and wanted to support, as I just see the problems and the systemic problems that exist and  want to try to remedy those to whatever extent I as a 20 year old, can.

Greg: Awesome. Thank you so much! There's going to be people who listen to this who are also really passionate about the causes that they believe in and are really intimidated to do something, or don't know how to do something. As someone who just ran a race and raised a thousand dollars in a week, what advice do you have for people?

Bobby: For sure. I'd just say let ambition and drive you, and don't be fearful of failure because of course that's when you win best.

But over this past summer, I started small and raised $500 for UNICEF. And then from there, I've been able to grow that to a thousand dollars. And I'm just building this track record of say, effective fundraising. And so you're just learn over time about what engages folks, what makes people want to really give to a cause that you are fundraising money for.

And I always find that it's good to explain why are you passionate about this certain cause and giving back to this certain cause. And from there, people resonate with that. And no matter who it is, whether it's a friend, a coworker, a partner, whoever it is, they can resonate with it as well. And if they do, they are most likely willing to give whatever it is.

And I also found with this, be accepting to anything whether it's $1, $5, $10, whatever it may be, the collective effort will bring you to where you want to be. I am confident about it.


Washington, D.C. — Thrive DC and Weschler’s, two organizations with deep roots in the community, announced that they are partnering to create an event to help homeless women and children in the District. During the Eighth Annual Penn Quarter on the Block: Cocktail Party and Auction on March 26, 2015 from 6 pm – 8 pm, Weschler’s will open its Auction House to the public and raise funds on behalf of Thrive DC, a Washington-based non-profit. The event will feature live and silent auctions, hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails. Some of the auction items include an in-home chef-prepared dinner for four, numerous gift certificates to some of DC’s best restaurants, concert tickets, gym memberships, ski and golf packages, and theatre tickets.

100% of the money raised will go to benefit Thrive DC’s Dinner Program for Women and Children. The Dinner Program provides a safe, peer-supported environment for women and children, along with a warm, nutritious dinner nightly, crisis intervention services and therapeutic activities.

This is the eighth year Weschler’s has partnered with a local non-profit for this community event in the historic Penn Quarter. In the past seven years, the business has raised over $90,000 for local charities including Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Street Wise Partners, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Safe Shores, Mount Carmel House, and Rachael’s Women’s Center. This is the second time Thrive DC (formerly the Dinner Program for Homeless Women) has been selected to be the beneficiary of the event. More than 85 businesses have donated auction items, food, beverages and services making this a community-wide effort.

“Supporting our community is very important to Weschler’s. Our annual Penn Quarter on the Block charity auction is a great way for us to connect with other local businesses and neighbors in order for all of us to work together to help our community in need. We do our best to raise money for local charities that provide much needed support and services in the DC area, while putting on a fun and entertaining event for all those who attend, said Weschler’s Manager Karen Weschler.”

“Thrive DC has maintained a core commitment to supporting women and children through the indignities of homelessness and on to stability and independence for more than 35 years. The funds raised from this event will help us continue that commitment and weather a year that is predicted to bring a 16% increase in the number of homeless families in the District,” said Thrive DC’s Executive Director Alicia Horton.

Thrive DC

Founded in 1979, Thrive DC, previously known as the Dinner Program for Homeless Women, dedicates themselves to preventing and ending homelessness. In the last 35 years Thrive DC has grown and evolved from a volunteer-run soup kitchen to a comprehensive anti-poverty organization open to anyone in need regardless of age, gender, background, race or ethnicity. Each day, 200-275 homeless and low-income men, women and children enter Thrive DC’s doors for meals, job training, employment support, emergency services, housing placement assistance and other specialized support. For more information, visit www.thrivedc.org.


Weschler’s has been an auction tradition in the Nation’s Capital for 125 years, earning a reputation of trust and reliability. As one of the Nation’s leading auctioneers and appraisers and as Washington D.C.’s only auction house, Weschler’s has been in the unique position to auction property from many prominent local estates over the years. Weschler’s holds approximately five Capital Collections estate auctions each season, featuring European & American furniture and decorations; paintings, prints, drawings & sculpture; jewelry, coins & watches; 20th century decorative arts; Asian works of art; and rugs & tapestries. To complement our Capital Collections estate auctions, every Tuesday Weschler’s holds Metro auctions with offerings including furniture, period pieces, rugs, artwork, silver, jewelry, collectibles, books and general household goods. Weschler’s also provides both written appraisals and valuation services. For more information, please visit www.weschlers.com.

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