MIAMI, FL., November 19, 2016 – A total of 800 people attended the 20th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala: Rock Legends at Ice Palace Studios in Wynwood, Florida on Friday, November 18. The star-studded event raised $2.5 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).
This year’s Gala theme was “Rock Legends,” which celebrated the immense contributions Best Buddies’ most influential supporters have made in advancing the organization’s mission for individuals with IDD. Time and time again, rock legends have proven themselves as agents of change, much like Best Buddies. The passion of rock legends was matched only by the guests at the Miami Gala.
The event included a fabulous cocktail hour, gourmet dinner, unique live and silent auctions, and a live performance by pop-star Kesha.
This event, as always, brought together some of Miami’s most notable residents and celebrities from around the globe. In attendance were Actors Kate Flannery, Nolan Gould, Sean Marquette, Verne Troyer, and Crystle Stewart; Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber, Miss Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay, Miss Florida USA 2017 Linette De Los Santos, and Miss Florida Teen USA 2017 Victoria DiSorbo; and International Pop-Artist and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Romero Britto.
There were a number of exclusive items up for auction, including a limited edition Hublot Best Buddies Cycling Timepiece, a custom-made Cannondale Best Buddies EVO Bicycle, a custom portrait by Pop-Artist Romero Britto,
a once in a lifetime experience to meet with Elton John in London, a luxurious Aspen getaway, and a personal surf and paddle boarding lesson from actor and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Rob Lowe. Silent and live auctions raised more than half a million dollars for the organization.
Overall the weekend had many highlights:
*Friday’s festivities kicked off bright and early with the Best Buddies Challenge: Miami, a 62-mile charity ride through the streets the Miami. Professional cyclists George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Andrew Talansky, Lyne Bessette, and Tim Johnson led the group of riders in this Tour de France-style police escorted peloton.
*An inaugural Miami kick-off Alumni reception was held before the Gala, which celebrated Best Buddies new alumni association that already has over 370,000 alumni worldwide.
*The crowd was captivated by rock legends Michael Jackson and Prince impersonators, who dazzled the crowd with their renditions of classic performances from the two iconic artists.
*Best Buddies’ Founder and Chairman Anthony K. Shriver was surprised with a key to the city by Mayor of Miami Beach and longtime Best Buddies supporter Philip Levine. The Mayor also recognized November 18th as Best Buddies Day!
*Cold Stone Creamery presented Anthony K. Shriver with a check for $167,059.52, total donations raised as part of a national fundraiser benefiting Best Buddies.
*Several Best Buddies participants showcased their amazing talents throughout the evening including singer Marlana VanHoose who brought the crowd to their feet with an amazing performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and the American Author’s “Best Day of my Life;” Best Buddies Ambassador and Board Member Kellie Howard delivered an inspiring speech about the impact Best Buddies has had on her life.
*On Saturday, a White Mass was held in partnership with the Archdiocese of Miami and Bishop Peter Baldacchino, in thanksgiving for the lives of individuals with special needs.
Sterling Foundation Management and the The Ferraro Law Firm were the Title Sponsors of the event; Cabinets To Go served as the Exclusive Sponsor; Carnival Corporation & PLC, Carnival Foundation, Klingman & Associates, LLC, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Tracfone Wireless were all Presenting Sponsors. Leadership Sponsors include the Ansin Foundation, Braman Motors, Capital Trust Group, Celebrity Cruises, Coastal Construction, Cold Stone Creamery, Comcast, The GEO Group Foundation, Inc., Christina Griffith, Grupo Textil Providencia SA de CV, Michael Lerner, Diane Lieberman, Mack Cycle & Fitness, Park West Foundation, Pepsi-Cola, Michael Schlesginer, Sandra & Tony Tamer and Watermill Institutional Trading.
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 1,900 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 900,000 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 or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
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