Photo Gallery: American Ball 2016

'Bright Lights, Big City'-themed charity event raises RMB 124,000

Andrew Dougherty.jpg
Andrew Dougherty raps "Beijing State of Mind"
On the dancefloor.jpg
On the dancefloor
Elizabeth Barrett (AmCham staff) and Bill Zarit (AmCham board) do a salsa.jpg
Elizabeth Barrett (AmCham staff) and Bill Zarit (AmCham board) do a salsa
Standing for the US National Anthem.jpg
Guests stand for the US National Anthem
Platinum sponsors Juniper and NBA helped select raffle winners.jpg
Platinum sponsors Juniper and NBA helped select raffle winners
Colm Rafferty (AmCham Board) watches the bidding wars of the live auction.jpg
Colm Rafferty (AmCham Board) watches the bidding wars of the live auction
Member Alison Friedman.jpg
Member Alison Friedman
Getting the silent auctions in order.jpg
Getting the silent auctions in order
%22Bright Lights, Big City%22 was the theme of the evening.jpg
Attendees hit the red carpet during cocktail hour, including member Su Cheng Harris Simpson, third from left.jpg
Attendees hit the red carpet during cocktail hour, including member Su Cheng Harris Simpson, third from right
Bill Zarit (AmCham Vice Governor), Stephanie Duval, Lin Gao (AmCham Board Member) and friend.jpg
Bill Zarit (AmCham Vice Governor), Stephanie Duval, Lin Gao (AmCham Board Member) and friend
Ellen and James Zimmerman, Chairman of AmCham China.jpg
Ellen and James Zimmerman, Chairman of AmCham China
Hitting the red carpet.jpg
More guests pose on the red carpet
Member Gloria Xu and Wan Li, an AmCham China Board Member, with her daughter.jpg
Member Gloria Xu and Wan Li, an AmCham China Board Member, with her daughter
Member Ira Cohen and wife.jpg
Member Ira Cohen and his wife
Members Jenifer and Scott Sullivan.jpg
Members Jenifer and Scott Sullivan
Red carpet shot.jpg
Guests were impeccably dressed, often fusing Western and Chinese styles
Sarah and Ian Curtiss.jpg
Sarah and Ian Curtiss
Sylvia Pan of UFH and her son.jpg
Member Sylvia Pan and her son
The dancefloor in action.jpg
The dance floor in action

More than 300 came out to support charity at this year's American Ball. The 2016 charities of choice were the 100,000 Strong Foundation (AmCham China's choice), Yao Foundation (platinum sponsor NBA's pick) and Teach for China (platinum sponsor Juniper Networks' choice).

Held at the Grand Hyatt Beijing, the ball kicked off with a cocktail hour – with a twist. Beijing Improv intermingled with guests, breaking into impromptu songs and skits for attendees. As guests moved into the ballroom, Jing Sing gave a rousing a cappella rendition of the American national anthem. Chairman James Zimmerman also delivered an inspirational message, one of the chamber's charitable activities over the past 100 years, from providing famine relief in the 1920s to bringing members together to contribute $87 million to the Sichuan earthquake recovery efforts in 2008. Perhaps it was this call to action that inspired many to pull out their checkbooks during the live auction, which included a trip to the Maldives. A few bidding wars flared up, including one between former Chairman John Watkins and a table mate!

Next up, Beijing's own US-China business rapper took the stage. Andrew Dougherty, a member from the Capital Group, has made a name for himself in the CBD scene for his policy and finance-themed raps. For the ball, he performed “Beijing State of Mind,” a riff on Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' “Empire State of Mind.” The crowd jumped on their feet, took out their phones and swayed to the beat. He invited all to join in on the chorus of:

"Beijing, commie jungle where dreams are made of,


There’s nothing you can do


Now you’re in Beijing

Taiqi will make you feel brand new


The sites will inspire you

Let’s hear it for Beijing, Beijing, Beijing!"

And it was on this note that the dance floor opened up and quickly filled, including a lively group of students from Louisiana currently on a trip to Beijing thanks to the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which aims to increase the number of Americans who study Chinese and visit the country.

Hosted by AmCham China annually since 2003, the American Ball has raised more than $1.5 million for 20 charities.