Arlington community races for moms, babies at 5K (The Arlington Catholic Herald)

By Stacy Rausch | Catholic Herald Producation Coordinator

Good things can sometimes come from tragedy.

Jennifer Bush-Lawson lost her life in 2014 after spending the morning volunteering at Nottingham Elementary School in Arlington. She was struck and killed by a passing dump truck while putting her daughter in her car seat.

It’s great how the community comes together to support the neighborhood and Neal. It’s a way to keep in touch and support one another. ~ Courtney Portner
Neal Lawson, Jennifer’s husband, has devoted himself to honoring his wife’s memory through the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation (JB-LF), launched in 2015 on the anniversary of her death.

The foundation provides funding for medical care for pregnant women and their children through the first year of life. Being able to help women receive quality healthcare — especially for high-risk pregnancies — is important to the family since the Lawson’s three children were born prematurely, and Jennifer struggled with difficult pregnancies.

One of the ways the foundation is funded is through an annual 5K race and family fun day, now in its third year. This year’s race raised more than $100,000. The Nov. 18 5K race started and finished at the Edward Douglass White Knights of Columbus council home in Arlington. The Knights donated the use of the grounds for the event that drew more than 450 racers ranging in age from 7 to 69. Many families bundled up for the chilly fall day race while pushing babies and toddlers in strollers.

The activities included face painting, moon bounces, food trucks, silent auction and live music.

The foundation’s mission “is to serve economically vulnerable mothers and infants by improving access to high-quality maternal and pediatric healthcare and support.” The JB-LF partners with the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient clinic and the Arlington Pediatric Center to carry out this vision.

Michele Werner, director of development at the Virginia Hospital Center said, “The best thing about working with the JB-LF is how innovative and forward thinking they are to help solve problems for patients, and they care about the population of expectant mothers and children.”

High-risk pregnancies include many doctors’ visits, which can become untenable for many women, especially those with lower incomes or the uninsured. Through the JB-FL, infants receive access to well child medical care, acute care, specialty care, developmental assessments, and pack and plays for a safe place to sleep. Mothers are getting crucial pre-natal care, ultrasounds, and help monitoring their pregnancies through support such as telemedicine, a smartphone app that allows them to check in with a doctor from work or home. This free service has decreased greatly the number of missed appointments.

Courtney Portner, a parishioner of St. Agnes Church in Arlington and friend of the Lawson family, has volunteered at the event for three years. “The race was not only about raising funds,” she said. “It’s great how the community comes together to support the neighborhood and Neal. It’s a way to keep in touch and support one another.”

“The sense of community and giving back is especially important for the kids,” she added. “It was great to see all ages come out, whether they were running or not, to raise money for a great cause.”

Full story:,_babies_at_5K/

DC’s Dancing Stars Gala nets more than $300,000 for local charities (Fairfax County Times)

By Gregg MacDonald/Fairfax County Times | Nov 17, 2017

On Nov. 11, the fourth annual DC’s Dancing Stars Gala in Tysons netted more than $300,000 for local charities, and it was done with the utmost of style.

The event was hosted by co-chairs Maria Coakley David and Jim David at the Sheraton Tyson’s Corner and featured nine local celebrities including Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (the real one, not the Melissa McCarthy version) and four ‘Corporate Challenge Dancers’ who spent the past several months training for the gala performance. Local businesswoman Lola Reinsch took first prize, raising more than $50,000 in cash and sponsorships from more than 100 donors.

Spicer served on the judge’s panel, where he was by far the harshest critic of the trio, which also included Chelsie Hightower from TV’s Dancing With The Stars and Washington Ballet Artistic Director Julie Kent.

President and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Michael D. Bellaman was the runner-up winning $5,000 for the Morgan Amelia Foundation. Caroline Coakley, Director at Beautycounter, was the winner of the Corporate Challenge, and will direct her $10,000 prize money to the Raymond A. Wood Foundation. The Corporate Challenge winner was determined in the same way as the overall winner: 60 percent judges scores and 40 percent funds raised. Coakley raised over $60,000 and had one of the top scoring performances.

“We’re thrilled to have hosted another successful and fun evening for our local charities,” said Maria Coakley David, CEO of C.J. Coakley Co., Inc. and co-chair of DCs Dancing Stars Gala. “I’m so proud of all of our dancers, who rehearsed tirelessly and gave it their all. My husband Jim and I are avid dancers, and we’re so pleased to share our love of dancing with others as we change lives one dance step at a time.”

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made his debut at the judges table and he kept the crowd laughing! He was joined by Chelsie Hightower, best known as a dancer, partner, trainer and choreographer for ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, and Washington Ballet Director Julie Kent. Emceeing the event were Larry Miller of WUSA9 and former Washington Redskin Charles Mann.

Local charities were beneficiaries of the event, such as: The DC Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Operation Renewed Hope Foundation, Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation and Student Scholarships to attend Marymount University.

Full story:

Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation 5K & Family Fun Day Set For Saturday (ArlNow)

by Chris Teale November 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

A 5K race and festival in memory of an Arlington mom killed by a passing truck while placing her children in a minivan will be held for the third time on Saturday.

The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Memorial 5K Race begins at 9 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). It will feature a 5K race, a kids’ fun run with Teddy, one of the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents, and a “Family Fun Day Festival.”

The family festival will live feature music from local band Gutterball Kingpin, as well as moon bounces, a rock climbing wall, obstacle course, in-line jumper, human hungry hippo, food trucks, a beer garden, corn hole, face painting, balloon animals and more.

The event benefits the Arlington Pediatric Center and the Virginia Hospital Center Outpatient Obstetrics Clinic, with a focus on prenatal and postnatal health services for underprivileged mothers and babies.

Police will close several roads to accommodate the event. Per the Arlington County Police Department:

The 3rd Annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson Memorial 5K Race will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2017. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 8:30 AM until 11:00 AM to accommodate this event:

Main Closures:
Little Falls Road: N. George Mason Drive to Yorktown Blvd.
Yorktown Blvd.: N. George Mason Drive to Williamsburg Blvd.
Williamsburg Blvd.: Yorktown Blvd. to N. Emerson Street
33rd Street: N. Emerson Street to N. George Mason Drive
George Mason Drive: N. 33rd Street to Yorktown Blvd.
Smaller closures exist within the race area

Full story on

Pace the Nation Podcast with Neal Lawson & Jennifer Myers

Episode 127 – An Episode of Tangents (Neal Lawson and Jennifer Myers)
Jump ahead to minute 12:39 to hear Neal Lawson, founder and CEO of the Jennifer Bush Lawson Foundation, talk about his running background, the Jennifer Bush Lawson Foundation, Jennifer’s story and how the foundation honors her memory. Executive Director Jennifer Myers joins him at minute 22:37 to talk about the 5K & Family Fun Day, and some of the families that have been helped by the foundation.

More at Pacers Running: 


India Hicks Truck Show coming to Pursuing Vintage to Benefit JB-LF

India Hicks Truck Show coming to Pursuing Vintage on Wednesday
by Sally Cole, Falls Church News-Press
October 20, 2017

Pursuing Vintage is hosting an India Hicks truck show and sale to benefit the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 6 – 9 p.m. Refreshments will be offered and 15 percent of proceeds will benefit the foundation. Those unable to attend the event can still shop online to benefit JB-LF until Oct. 31. To shop online at Pursuing Vintage, visit and mention JB-LF at checkout. To shop India Hicks online, visit Pursuing Vintage is located at 260 W. Broad Street in space attached to Zoya’s Atelier. For more information about the event, email For more information about the benefiting foundation, visit 



Registration Now Open for 3rd Annual JB-LF 5K & Family Fun Day

Charitable event to take place on November 18, 2017, in Arlington, VA


CONTACT: Jennifer Myers 

ARLINGTON, VA, AUGUST 7, 2017 Registration is now open for the 3rd annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation 5K & Family Fun Day.

This year’s 5K and Family Fun Day — scheduled for Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 9:00am at the Knights of Columbus, 5115 Little Falls Road, Arlington, VA — will include a challenging, certified 5K course open to adults and youth, as well as a Family Fun Day festival complete with a kids’ dash, music, moon bounces, rock climbing walls, obstacles course, delicious food trucks, beer garden, corn hole tournament, face painting, balloon animals and more.

New for 2017, child care is available during the 5K, provided by EverWonder Camps. (Available for potty-trained kids, ages 3 and up. For our younger friends, strollers are welcome on the 5K course in the final wave.)

Proceeds from this charitable event will help provide access to high-quality pediatric and maternal healthcare services for economically vulnerable expectant mothers and their children through our primary beneficiaries: Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington Pediatric Center. Projects funded with proceeds from last year’s event include:

  • Twelve months of wellness care for 240 newborn babies at the Arlington Pediatric Center, making JB-LF the largest donor for newborn care at APC.
  • A telemedicine program for maternal health launched in partnership with Virginia Hospital Center that will help expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies access medical care through the convenience of their smartphone or computer. These virtual appointments will provide close prenatal monitoring to augment in-person clinical visits. JB-LF’s donations support new nursing and care coordination staff in the Outpatient Clinic to manage the maternal health telemedicine program, expand Clinic hours, and provide care to expectant mothers in need.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available; companies or individuals interested in sponsoring the 5K & Family Fun Day can reach out to

About the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Established in honor of Jennifer Lawson, who lost her life in 2014, the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, serves economically vulnerable mothers and infants by working to increase access to high-quality maternal and pediatric health care and support. Jennifer was a loving, dedicated mother of three, driven to advocacy after receiving high-quality care during her own complicated pregnancies. JB-LF seeks to embody her generous spirit by giving all mothers and newborns the means to thrive.


Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Names New Executive Director


Susan B. Oliver  |  703-216-4078,
Jennifer Myers  |  202-286-1680,

ARLINGTON, VA, JULY 17, 2017 – The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation today announced that Jennifer Myers has joined as its new executive director. In this role, Myers will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and developing long-term strategy for the foundation’s programs, fundraising efforts and expansion plans, as well as overseeing the execution of JB-LF’s mission, which seeks to increase access to quality pre- and post-natal health care and support for economically vulnerable women.

“I’m thrilled to have Jen on board, as she brings a wealth of experience in marketing and communications, event execution, business development and fundraising,” said Neal Lawson, CEO and Chair of the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation. “I look forward to working with her to leverage the strong start that our first executive director gave us to further increase the impact of JB-LF.”

Myers most recently worked at the Wall Street Journal, where she was responsible for building new business and sustaining existing relationships totaling $5 million in annual revenues. Prior to that, she served as the vice president of marketing and communications at YWCA’s national headquarters, and she held a series of leadership roles in communications and public affairs at the Aspen Institute where she managed all aspects of the department’s work, from public and media relations, social media and branding to video, events and the Institute’s blog and magazine.

As an active member of the Arlington, Va., community, Myers was a member of the 2016 JB-LF 5K and Family Fun Day event committee, and she’s currently on the auction committee at McKinley Elementary. She also served a two-year term as a parent representative and board member at Faith Lutheran Preschool.

Myers holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary and a J.D. from Georgetown University.

Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Launches Mother’s Day Campaign

Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Launches Mother’s Day Campaign

by Chris Teale — May 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

A nonprofit that supports low-income mothers and their children in Arlington is encouraging local residents to donate this Mother’s Day weekend.

The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation will use the donations from this year’s campaign to help those vulnerable mothers access proper care before and after they give birth.

It provides access to medical services, counseling and support for economically vulnerable mothers-to-be, newborn babies and new mothers who don’t have the means or resources to start their journey on solid footing.

The foundation is named for Jennifer Bush-Lawson, a mother of three who died in 2014 after being struck by a dump truck in front of Nottingham Elementary School while placing her children in a minivan.

Her husband Neal launched the foundation one year after her death, and has previously hosted a 5K race and festival in her memory.

JB-LF said that hundreds of mothers and babies lack proper care locally. It can be difficult balancing work and child care schedules, finding transportation, navigating health insurance and gaining information, and the foundation assists with those and more.

Already, the foundation has raised over $118,000 for Virginia Hospital Center, provided 12 months of wellness care for 240 babies, provided blood pressure cuffs for in-home monitoring, given a $5,000 grant for specialist care and provided transportation for pregnant mothers.

Members of the JB-LF board will match every dollar donated between now and May 14 up to $4,000.

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s important to remember that mothers and babies need our support year-round. Donations will help us continue to serve economically vulnerable mothers and infants of Arlington, Virginia by giving them access to quality prenatal and postnatal healthcare and an opportunity to thrive.

Click here for more information about the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation’s 2017 Mother’s Day campaign. Visit our website for information about the JB-LF or click here to sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook for updates on the work we are doing in the Arlington community.

Photos courtesy of The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation.

Read the the full story and see the interview here: