Metro Weekly

Fundraising for the Philippines

Local man organizing Friday fundraiser at Cobalt for Typhoon Haiyan relief

D.C. LGBT clubgoers will have the chance to donate to a cause larger than themselves this Friday, Nov. 22, at Cobalt. Andrei Smith is organizing a fundraiser to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which crashed into the Philippines Nov. 8, killing about 4,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

All proceeds from fundraiser, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. during the time Cobalt typically holds its happy hour, will be donated to the United Nation’s World Food Program, which is providing food assistance and potable water to those affected by the disaster, according to organizer Smith.

Smith, who was born in China and grew up in Taiwan with many Filipinos, says the impact of the storm ”hit close to home.” Because he felt a connection to the area affected by the typhoon and wanted to do something to help, Smith approached Mark Rutstein, vice president of Cobalt, and asked if the club could play host to the fundraiser.

Smith says he would like to set up an arrangement where some of the donations would go to the American Red Cross, but has not finalized any agreement with the Red Cross, which cannot directly participate in the fundraiser because it involves the sale of alcohol.

Those wishing to donate may do so at the door during the fundraiser. There is no cover fee or suggested amount, Smith says, because he wants people to donate whatever they see fit as opposed to limiting themselves to a minimum contribution amount.

During the event, organizers will raffle off gift cards, spa services and other prizes that have been donated by area businesses. Proceeds from the sale of $1 ”Jell-O shots” will also go directly to benefit those impacted by the typhoon.

”We’re not looking to make a profit off of this event,” Smith says. ”It all goes to the victims.”

Cobalt is located at 1639 R St. NW. For more information, call 202-232-4416 or visit

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at