17th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala Raises $3 Million for Best Buddies International
MIAMI, November 24, 2013 – Nine-hundred people attended the 17th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala, Honoring Carlos Slim Helú at The Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Friday, November 22. The star-studded event raised $3 million in total donations for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
The evening’s festivities included a fabulous cocktail hour, gourmet dinner, unique live and silent auctions, and a live performance by special musical guest Sean Paul.
During the Gala, Carlos Slim Helú, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, was honored with the “Global Spirit of Leadership” award – Best Buddies’ highest accolade – which is given to individuals who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the organization’s mission. Over the course of the last decade, Slim Helú has supported the Best Buddies mission through multi-million dollar donations designed to help the organization expand its programs in Mexico and establish pilot programs throughout Latin America. Best Buddies International Board Member Romero Britto and Best Buddies Ambassador Charles Calhoun helped Best Buddies International Founder and Chairman Anthony K. Shriver present the award to Slim Helú.
The Gala brought together some of Miami’s most notable residents and celebrities from around the globe, including: Gala Co-Chairs Andy Abboud,Linda Coll, Bill Fauerbach, Marc Leder, May Liang & Jim Lintott, Alina Shriver, and Don Soffer; actress Vivica A. Fox; developer Jeff Soffer & his wife, model Elle Macpherson; Miami Beach Mayor-elect Philip Levine; Miami Heat players Mario Chalmers and James Jones; Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo; Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady; NASCAR driver Brennan Newberry; producer Nan Bush & her husband, photographer Bruce Weber; professional cyclists Frank McCormack, George Hincapie, Andrew Talansky, Christian Vande Velde and Cameron Wurf; and television personality Louis Aguirre.
As always, there were many one-of-a-kind items up for auction, including a walk-on role in one of film producer Ryan Cavanaugh’s new movies; aFIFA 2014 World Cup Experience package, which included two tickets to the semi-finals game; and the ultimate Chris Bosh Experience, which included four tickets to a high-profile Miami Heat home game and an exclusive post- game meet and greet with Bosh himself. The silent and live auctions raised a total of $664,000 for the organization.
Additional highlights include:
*An empowering speech by Buddy Ambassador Sergio Araque.
* The Miami Heat’s Mario Chalmers and James Jones delivering autographed basketballs to guests who pledged $1,000 to “Sponsor a Buddy” to attend Best Buddies International’s Leadership Conference, raising $50,000 for the organization. They also posed for pictures with Best Buddies participants and other Gala guests, many of whom stopped to admire the players’ championship rings.
*A moving performance by Best Buddies Ambassador Lisa Smith, who signed to the song “You Raise Me Up.”
*Pro-cyclists Frank McCormack, George Hincapie, Andrew Talansky, Christian Vande Velde and Cameron Wurf handing out medals to their fellow Best Buddies Challenge: Miami participants, who cycled 62-miles through the streets of the Magic City earlier in the day, to help raise and funds and awareness for the organization.
*Dancehall sensation Sean Paul made the crowd “Get Busy” while performing some of his biggest hits and songs from his new album. Before he took the stage, Paul posed for pictures with a number of Best Buddies participants.
The Gala’s Title Sponsors were May Liang & Jim Lintott and Carnival Foundation was the Presenting sponsor. Platinum donors were The Ferraro Law Firm, Publix, Don Soffer, Sun Capital Partners, and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Other event sponsors at the Premier level included Comcast, Cia de Elaborados de café El Café, FIJI Water, The GEO Group Foundation, Klingman & Associates, Marlyne Sexton, Sandra & Tony Tamer,Wells Fargo, and Zenith Watches. In-kind and Media sponsors were Audi, Aventura Worldwide Transportation Service, Romero Britto, CNN en Español, Fontainebleau Hotel – Official VIP Hotel for Best Buddies International, Getty Images – Official Photography Sponsor of Best Buddies International, Niche Media – Premiere Magazine Sponsor of Best Buddies International, The Patrón Spirits Company, and Southern Wine and Spirits.
On Saturday, November 23, many Gala attendees turned out for a White Mass in thanksgiving for the life of persons with special needs. The mass was held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Miami Beach, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Miami and the Most Rev. Fernando Isern.
About Best Buddies International:
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,700 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors,and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in over 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 800,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies, instagram.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
Pictures are available here:
Best Buddies Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestbuddieshq/sets/72157638061467834/