MIAMI, FL., November 19, 2018 –Nearly 700 people attended the 22nd Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala: Le Cirque de la Nuit at Mana Wynwood, Florida on Friday, November 16. The star-studded event raised $2.8 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 theme of this year’s Gala was Le Cirque de la Nuit, inspired by the magic of Paris. The event included a fabulous cocktail hour, gourmet dinner, unique live and silent auctions, and a live performance by multi-platinum Hip-Hop artist Flo Rida.
This event, as always, brought together some of Miami’s most notable residents and celebrities from around the globe. In attendance were Best Buddies International’s Founder, Chairman & CEO Anthony K. Shriver ; Actors Rocco Amaradio, Jason Lewis and Patrick Schwarzenegger; Actress and Model Olivia Culpo; and Four-time Tour de France Winner Chris Froome; Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; WSVN’s Sports Anchor Donnovan Campbell; among others.
There were a number of exclusive items up for auction, including a Big Bang Unico Best Buddies Limited Edition timepiece; which sold for $29,000; a custom portrait by Pop-Artist Romero Britto, a Dolce & Gabbana Fashion Week experience, a luxurious Maldives getaway, and a Tour de France experience with pro cyclist Chris Froome!
In total, the silent and live auctions raised $642,700 for the organization.
The crowd was captivated by various performers, including mime and stilt artists, acrobatic dancers, and Best Buddies participants who welcomed guests into the Parisian themed event. Attendees also enjoyed a Hublot branded photo booth and exclusive Hublot pop-up lounge area. Several Best Buddies participants showcased their amazing talents throughout the evening, including Best Buddies Ambassador Justin Toler, who performed for an exciting crowd, and Best Buddies Ambassador Jorge Morilla, who delivered a powerful speech about the impact Best Buddies has had on his life.
Friday’s festivities kicked off bright and early with the Hublot Best Buddies Challenge: Miami, a 100K six-star cycling event, limited to just 50 cyclists that began and ended at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami. The Challenge was led by Tour de France winner Chris Froome, and pro cyclists George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde.
The Challenge and Gala weekend concluded on Saturday with a White Mass held in partnership with the Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church and Father Roberto Cid, in thanksgiving for the lives of individuals with special abilities.
Sterling Foundation Management and the The Ferraro Law Firm were the Friendship Sponsors of the event; Cutrale Citrus Juices, Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Carnival Foundation, Celebrity Cruises, Sheba Lucas, Tracfone Wireless were the Employment Sponsors. Leadership Sponsors included The GEO Group Foundation, Inc., Sally Heyman, Klingman & Associates, Park West Foundation, Lydia & Rudy Prio-Touzet, Marlyne Sexton, Sandy & Tony Tamer, Haute Living and WSVN 7News.
The Best Buddies Challenge: Miami was presented by Hublot; other sponsors included Abaco Wines, Braman Motors, Mack Cycle & Fitness, Pepsi-Cola, Seminole Hard Rock & Casino and the Winter family.
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 nearly 2,500 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 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 1.2 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.