Fifth Annual Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, D.C. Raises Close To $2.5 Million For Best Buddies International
WASHINGTON, Oct.19, 2014 – Close to 1,500 people took part in the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, D.C. – a charity walk, run and ride chaired by Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, on Saturday, October 18. The Challenge raised close to $2.5 million in total donations for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit 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 Challenge weekend kicked-off with a 25th Anniversary VIP reception on Friday, October 17, at Georgetown University where the organization first began. Challenge Honorary Co-Chair Ted Leonsis and Coach of the NHL Washington Capitals Barry Trotz, and Best Buddies Founder and Chairman Anthony K. Shriver – attended the cocktail reception, along with dozens of top supporters and Best Buddies participants.
The Challenge returned to the National Mall this year, and was led by Tour de France cycling legend George Hincapie – one of the most recognized cyclists in the world and Cannondale pro cyclist Cam Wurf – and proceeded northwest along the Potomac via scenic country roads, and rolling hills, past horse farms and historic estates, and countless vineyards, on the way to Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. 62-mile cyclists left Poolesville Golf Course in Maryland and rode through the countryside into Loudoun County, Virginia where all participants finished at Morven Park and gathered for a gourmet lunch and music in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Challenge, which was open to participants of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action, also featured the 5K run/walk Carl Lewis Challenge. More than 800 students from local schools and colleges participated in the 5K.
Several other special guests also attended including; Actor Griffin Gluck; Pop Artist Romero Britto; Miss Teen USA 2014 K. Lee Graham; Miss District of Columbia USA 2014 Ciera Nicole Butts; Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2014 Dominick Fink; and Miss Virginia USA 2014 Arielle Rosmarino.
Several of the organization’s own superstars delivered powerful speeches throughout the weekend, including Best Buddies Ambassadors Abby Meyer, Wayne Reed, and Charles Calhoun.
The Challenge capped off with tours of the historic Virginia governor’s mansion, a victory celebration at the Finish Line at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia and an award ceremony.
Overall, the weekend had many highlights:
- On Friday night, Best Buddies supporters and event hosts Ted Leonsis and Georgetown University President John DeGioia welcomed guests back to the university for the 25th Anniversary celebration where the organization first began
- Coach of the NHL’s Washington Capitals Barry Trotz delivered a powerful message at the 25th Anniversary celebration about his personal experience raising a son with Down syndrome and his appreciation for the Best Buddies organization
- Best Buddies supporter Jan Brandt outbid guests Friday night for an exclusive Best Buddies edition Cannondale bicycle for $21,000
- Best Buddies Jobs Participant Erin Thompson accepted the award for Employer of the Year, on behalf of the company she works for, Rosetta Stone.
- On Saturday, NBC 4 anchor Veronica Johnson served as the honorary MC for The Challenge opening ceremonies on the National Mall
- Buddy performer Marlana VanHoose sang a riveting rendition of the National Anthem at the opening ceremonies
- President of Audi of America Scott Keogh and several members of Team Audi rode the 100-K (62-mile) route from Poolesville Golf Course down to Morven Park
- Actor Griffin Gluck and Miss Teen USA 2014 K. Lee Graham took part in the friendship races with Buddy participants down at Morven Park
- Best Buddies Founder and Chairman Anthony K. Shriver rode the 100- mile ride and later presented multiple awards to top fundraisers and cyclists after crossing the finish line
Audi returned for the fifth year as Title Sponsor of the Challenge. More than 90 Audi employees participated in the festivities as part of Team Audi, which raised more than $97,503 for the cause – more than any other team.
Additional Challenge sponsors included: Audi of America, May Liang & Jim Lintott, Gerry & Penney Klingman, Rosetta Stone, Capital Trust Group, Pepsi, FIJI Water, Jan Brandt, Jonathan Kling, Jim Feldman, Raul Fernandez, Senator Mark Warner, Geico, Cannondale, The Fairmont Washington D.C., Goorin Bros, Loudoun Hunt, Pilot Freight Services, Total Wine & More and media sponsors, Getty Images, Niche Media/Capitol File Magazine and Bicycling Magazine.
Challenge Photos are available at:
Friday night’s 25TH Anniversary Cocktail Reception:
Saturday’s Cycling Event:
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 wit h 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 or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products, facilities and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.
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