Best Buddies Honors Global Ambassador Tom Brady at the 25th Annual Best Buddies Gala: Miami
Event raises $5 million for Best Buddies International’s mission of inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Miami, Florida, Nov. 22, 2023 – Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), honored NFL legend and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Tom Brady with the Spirit of Leadership Award, recognizing his immense contributions to the organization at its 25th Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala on November 17. In total, the event raised $5 million for Best Buddies programs.
The celebration of inclusion kicked off in the morning with the Best Buddies Challenge: Miami. The world-class 80-mile cycling event, led by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, featured a premium experience with a police-escorted peloton that guided riders through the best waterfront locations in Miami offer.
The gala took place that evening, celebrating the Best Buddies’ mission and honoring supporters, participants and volunteers. The event featured a cocktail hour, gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions and a live performance by three-time Grammy award-winning artist Nelly.
At the gala, Brady was honored with the Spirit of Leadership Award and his contributions were acknowledged in a special tribute video by several of his friends, including his buddy and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Katie Meade, celebrity chef and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Guy Fieri, former NFL tight end and teammate Rob Gronkowski, actor Matt Damon and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. Brady has shown exemplary leadership and generosity, and for more than 20 years, he has served as an advocate, friend and dedicated supporter of Best Buddies, raising over $100 million.
During his acceptance speech, Brady recounted highlights of his memorable partnership with Best Buddies and later tossed autographed footballs into the crowd in what was the most exciting fundraising initiative of the night. Brady also co-hosted the live auction of a “Tom Brady Golf Experience & Lunch at Indian Creek Golf Course” with Best Buddies’ Founder, Chairman and CEO Anthony K. Shriver, which raised $120,000 for the organization.
“There is nothing in our life that can be accomplished as an individual,” Brady said. “It always comes down to who’s in our life, who’s supporting us and who our friends are. That’s what the Best Buddies mission is all about.”
The gala brought together some of Miami’s most notable residents and celebrities. Special guests included Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, actress and model Charlotte McKinney, Miami Dolphins defensive end Christian Wilkins and Bouquet Box owner Courtney Sixx, among others.
“For 25 years, the Miami Gala has recognized the inspiring and powerful community of individuals with IDD that we serve here in South Florida and our generous supporters who help make it all possible,” Shriver said. “Moreover, we were thrilled to honor our friend Tom Brady with the 2023 Spirit of Leadership Award. There’s no one that I can think of that deserves this award more than him. He’s been passionate about our mission and I’m beyond grateful.”
Proceeds will allow Best Buddies to continue making a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with IDD on a global scale.
The following sponsors have demonstrated their belief in the Best Buddies mission through their generosity and commitment:
Title Sponsor and Event Chair: Marc Leder – Sun Capital Partners Foundation
Presenting Sponsors: Andrew Barowsky – Andrew P. Barowsky Foundation, Kenneth Griffin – Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund and Michael Rubin – Fanatics Foundation
Friendship Sponsors: May Liang & Jim Lintott – Sterling Foundation Management, Holly & David Meehan – The GEO Group Foundation, Donna & George Zoley – The GEO Group Foundation, The Tina and Richard V. Carolan Foundation.
Employment Sponsors: Ron Haft – Dart Group Foundation, Tom Sullivan, Micky & Madeleine, Arison Family Foundation, Tatsiana & Andy Ansin – Ansin Foundation & WSVN.
To access event images, click HERE.
About Best Buddies
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, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to nearly 3,000 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ 11 formal programs — Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters, Transitions and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 49 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly one 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 or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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