Donald Allen Despertt, a senior advertising coordinator at the Washington Post who was involved with a separate business that produces entertainment events, including LGBT and AIDS fundraising events, died in Washington on June 17. He was 30.
In recent years, Donald Despertt served as a volunteer event organizer for D.C. Black Pride, one of the city’s largest LGBT events, in his role as chief operating officer at Omega Entertainment, an event planning company, according to his friend Michael Stratton.
Despertt’s interest in business and entrepreneurship surfaced in a May 1999 article in the Washington Times when he was a junior at D.C.’s Theodore Roosevelt High School. The article noted that he began training for a career as an entrepreneur in the sixth grade and started his own baking business when he was 15.
Biographical information posted on his LinkedIn page says he won the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 1999. One year earlier, the same organization named Donald Despertt first place winner in its Business Plan Competition contest.
He graduated from Roosevelt High as class valedictorian in 2000 before beginning his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in marketing, operations and information management. He later served as advertising manager for The Hoya, the Georgetown University student newspaper.
In 2010 and 2011 Despertt served as director of men’s promotion for the White Attire Affair fundraising event for Al Sura, a D.C. charitable foundation that gives money to AIDS service organizations.
“He was a wonderful person who did all he could to help community organizations that helped people,” said Abur-Rahim Briggs, president of Al Sura.
A viewing and funeral service were scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, at Peace Baptist Church at 712 18th St., N.E. Interment was scheduled to follow the service at D.C.’s Glenwood Cemetery.