BOSTON, JUNE 6, 2017 – This year, 2,000 people participated in the 18th Annual Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port, a run, walk and cycling fundraiser from Boston to Hyannis Port, on June 2-3. The Challenge raised a record-breaking $6 million in total donations for Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
Tom Brady, New England Patriots Quarterback and Best Buddies Global Ambassador, served as Honorary Co-Chair, along with Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri and Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. During the Challenge, Event Chair Ted English, Executive Chairman of Bob’s Discount Furniture, helped honor Retired CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management John Hailer with the Spirit of Friendship award for the incredible work he has done to promote Best Buddies’ mission of friendship and inclusion.
The weekend’s festivities kicked off with the Tom Brady Football Challenge and the Guy Cooking with Best Buddies Celebrity Chef Food and Wine Festival at Harvard on Friday, June 2. Fans enjoyed delicious treats by Chobani and Cold Stone as they filled the stands at Harvard Stadium to watch Team Pepsi-Cola take on Team Shaw’s Foundation and Star Market Foundation. It was a thrilling and close game, but Team Pepsi-Cola emerged victorious with a final score of 84-70.
During the game, Brady played quarterback for Team Pepsi-Cola and Team Shaw’s Foundation & Star Market Foundation alongside Best Buddies participants, supporters and special guests. Past and present New England Patriots joined in on the game, some of which included Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis, Dan Koppen, and James White; who were also joined by Actresses Olivia Culpo and Charlotte McKinney, and Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker. Several other celebrities attended the festivities including Olympian Carl Lewis, Singer Marlana Vanhoose who performed throughout the event; Actor Jason Lewis, Miss USA 2017 Kára McCullough, and Miss Teen USA 2016 Karlie Hay.
During the Best Buddies Tom Brady Football Challenge halftime presentation, Foxwoods Resort Casino delivered another captivating show where the resort presented Best Buddies Chairman and Founder Anthony K. Shriver with a $100,000 donation on its behalf and announced the development of the Foxwoods HighFlyer Zipline opening this summer. Best Buddies Global Ambassador Tom Brady helped Foxwoods President and CEO Felix Rappaport and Chairman Rodney Butler of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal present the donation and kicked off the announcement by throwing a football pass at 60 miles per hour – the top speed of the zipline – at a $100,000 target.
Friday’s evening concluded with the Second Annual Guy Cooking with Best Buddies Celebrity Chef Food and Wine Festival, presented by Pepsi-Cola, Shaw’s Foundation and Star Market Foundation. More than 30 chefs from top local restaurants provided food tastings and complimentary wine and spirits options, and several Best Buddies sous chefs prepared delicious food for guests, all for a great cause. Steve DiFillippo, Founder of the world-famous Davio’s Restaurant Group and inductee to the Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame, and Chef Allen Campbell served as the Special Chef Vice-Chairs of the event.
Guests were also treated to a special dinner reception after the Food and Wine Festival, where several Best Buddies participants spoke about the life-changing effects the organization has had on their lives. Best Buddies Global Ambassador Guy Fieri later presented each buddy sous chef who participated in the Food and Wine Festival with a personally-signed certificate of completion.
On Saturday, June 3, Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port participants turned out in droves for a 100, 50, or 20 mile bike ride and laced up their running shoes for a 5K run/walk. Best Buddies Ambassador Christina Hundley sang a powerful rendition of the “National Anthem,” at the opening ceremonies for the 100-mile start at Santander Bank in Dorchester. Professional cyclists George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde were amongst the group of riders making their way down the picturesque New England streets.
Many Best Buddies supporters and participants encouraged riders at the start lines, thanking them for their efforts towards making society more inclusive and wishing them a great ride. Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III spoke at the 20-mile start reminding the cyclists that their endeavors were greatly appreciated and several Best Buddies Ambassadors spoke throughout the event relating their personal accounts with the Best Buddies’ mission.
At the finish line, Best Buddies participants competed on tandem bicycles in the “Friendship Races”, including Tom Brady and his best buddy Katie Meade, and Julian Edelman. The Challenge was capped off by a celebratory clambake and private concert by the legendary Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, who rocked the crowd with several of their classic hits.
During the festivities, Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International, encouraged guests to “Sponsor a Buddy” (to attend the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference in July) through the Tom Brady Football Toss. Brady tossed signed footballs to guests who paid $1,000 or more for each one, giving Best Buddies participants the opportunity to attend the conference. Best Buddies also auctioned off a custom-made BMC bicycle and a Hublot Classic Fusion timepiece, both for $13,000. In total, the football tosses and auctions raised $118,800 at both Friday’s tailgate celebration and Saturday’s clambake in Hyannis Port.
The event was another record-breaking success, and an excellent stride in making the world more inclusive for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities!
Below are the top fundraising teams:
- Team Tom Brady— $721,559.65
- Patriot Pedalers—$235,624.47
- John Hancock—$213,881.69
- Eaton Vance—$200,310.30
- Team Natixis—$197,458.33
- Silicon Valley Bank—$147,958.56
- King James Buddies—$124,825.00
- Team Marlowe—$112,031.00
- Team Greenberg Traurig—$100,027.79
Top Individual Fundraisers
- Jamie Hintlian—$115,600.00
- Mark DeVincentis—$115,250.00
- Noam Watt—$108,936.00
- Brendan Donovan—$50,226.00
- John Christian—$38,550.00
- Steve Roge—$33,150.00
- Dan Koppen—$25,350.00
- Bethany Keown—$25,000.00
- Andy Barowsky—$25,000.00
- Matthew Sabel—$25,000.00
This year’s Challenge sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors Pepsi-Cola, The Official Beverage of the Best Buddies Challenges, and Shaw’s Foundation and Star Market Foundation; Hyannis Port Club Sponsors Bob’s Discount Furniture, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Greenberg Traurig, Hublot, Seyfarth Shaw, Santander Bank, The TJX Companies, Inc; Cape Club Sponsors Chobani, CVS Health, The GEO Group Foundation, John Hancock, Klingman & Associates, Natixis Global Asset Management; Craigville Beach Club Sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, BNY Mellon, Celebrity Cruises, Cold Stone Creamery, Cooking with Kids Foundation, Crescent Capital Group, Eaton Vance Management, Makarov Foundation, Mark Edward Partners, MidState Auto, Pilot Freight Services, RAI Services Company, Joe Shay, Jr., Teddie Peanut Butter, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Volvo, Wells Fargo, BMC, and Media Sponsors Boston Business Journal, CBS Radio/98.5 The Sports Hub, WHDH/Channel 7 and 90.9 WBUR.
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 2,300 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 nearly 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 1.1 million 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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