14 Stories of New Hope Returns As Dozens Rappel Off Hilton in National Landing
The fundraiser for New Hope Housing aims to pull in $200,000 to fight homelessness.
Faith Burnham is about to go over the edge, quite literally. As part of a fundraiser on May 5, the clinical assistant at Iverson and Wahab Orthodontics will be joining dozens of others as they rappel off the side of an Arlington hotel.
“I’m a little nervous,” she says with some laughter.
More than 70 brave individuals will cruise down the exterior facade of the 14-story Hilton Arlington National Landing on May 5 at the “14 Stories of New Hope” fundraiser for New Hope Housing. The Alexandria-based nonprofit aims to wipe out homelessness in Northern Virginia by providing shelter, housing and an array of support services.
This year’s event is round two for New Hope, which last year raised more than $230,000 at its inaugural rappelling fundraiser, in partnership with Nova Scotia, Canada-based urban rappelling company Over the Edge Global. Thus far, the 2023 event has pulled in over $140,000 (and climbing) from donations and sponsorships.
To participate, each prospective climber must raise $1,000. Burnham has already raised $1,450 and her team of six colleagues—including orthodontists Darin Iverson and Mona Wahab—has raised more than $3,300 total thus far. The Ashburn resident, who recently recovered from ankle surgery, first learned of the fundraiser from a patient who did the event in 2022.
“As soon as I heard what New Hope Housing was doing, I was like, yeah, I definitely want to participate in this,” she says.
To help make their goal of $6,000, the team has organized a few stunts at each fundraising benchmark, including performing a set of burpees at the $3,000 mark and wearing silly fish hats at the office when they hit $4,000. If they reach $5,000, they’ll smash pies in each other’s faces.
“I’m confident that we can raise the funds,” Burnham says.
Event sponsors include TV One Networks, Truist, Virginia Housing, Modern Technology Solutions, Ourisman Automotive and Bartique. The Hilton Arlington National Landing and Arlington native Greg Garcia, the T.V. producer and director behind My Name is Earl, are also lead sponsors. Among the dozens of participants are teams from Clearsight Advisors, GEF Capital Partners, The Neighborhood Barbershop and individuals such as Arlington Magazine publisher Greg Hamilton, who will suit up for an additional rappelling event on May 4 to get the party started.
“[Development director] Jan-Michael Sacharko from New Hope Housing asked me if I’d be willing to rappel down a building to raise money. Jan’s hard to say no to, so I guess you could say I got roped into it,” Hamilton says. “Seriously, it’s a great cause and sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve raised $755 so far and we’re matching the first $500, so I am over my $1,000 goal. Wish me luck on Thursday and there’s still time to donate!”
The fun gets off the ground at 9 a.m. and runs till 5 p.m., with participants descending some 160 feet from the top of the hotel to “The Landing Zone” below.
For friends, family and folks who’d rather watch the daredevils than join them, the Cinco de Mayo-themed, ground-level party features food, drinks, a DJ and sponsor booths.
Funds raised at the event will support several programs at New Hope, such as job readiness and moving assistance. Founded in 1977, the organization assists roughly 1,600 people in Northern Virginia annually. To donate or participate, visit the event website.