MIAMI, November 25, 2019 –Nearly 850 people attended the 23rd Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala at Mana Wynwood on Friday, November 22. The event raised $2.9 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, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
The night featured a fabulous cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, unique live and silent auctions, and a live performance by multi-platinum hip-hop artist Flo Rida. This year, Best Buddies proudly awarded Ed Ansin, co-founder, president and CEO, Sunbeam Television Corporation with the Spirit of Leadership Award, the highest Best Buddies accolade presented to distinguished luminaries who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the organization’s mission.
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; Actor Jason Lewis; Pop-Artist Romero Britto; and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome; Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray; and WSVN’s Founder, President and CEO, Ed Ansin, among others.
In total, the silent and live auctions featuring one-of-a-kind items up for auction, including the Hublot’s third limited-edition and first women’s timepiece, Classic Fusion Best Buddies Limited Edition; a custom portrait by artist Romero Britto; and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of Dolce & Gabbana’s Ready to Wear show in Milan, raised nearly $780,000 for the organization!
The crowd was captivated by various performers and speakers, including Best Buddies Global Ambassador and talented musician Brett Fleming. Attendees also enjoyed a Hublot branded photo booth and exclusive Hublot pop-up lounge area.
The celebration kicked off Friday morning with the Hublot Best Buddies Challenge: Miami presented by Abaco Wines, Braman Miami, Mack Cycle & Fitness, Makarov Foundation and Pepsi-Cola at Mr. C Hotel Miami in Coconut Grove. The world-class 70-mile cycling event featured a premium experience with a police escorted peloton that guided riders through the best waterfront locations Miami has to offer. The Challenge was led by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, along with former American professional 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, honoring the lives of individuals with special abilities.
As a result of phenomenal support from generous sponsors and donors, Best Buddies is able to continuously extend its reach globally and will continue to develop its presence through its nine formal programs— Best Buddies Ambassadors, Citizens, Colleges, e-Buddies®, High Schools, Jobs, Middle Schools, Promoters and Inclusive Living — across the United States and in 56 countries and territories. Proceeds from the Challenge and Gala will allow Best Buddies to continue making a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with special abilities on a global scale.
Sterling Foundation Management, The Ferraro Law Firm and Park West Foundation are the Friendship Sponsors of the event; Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Cabinets to Go, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Carnival Foundation, Celebrity Cruises, The GEO Group Foundation, Inc., Sun Capital Partners Foundation, Inc., are the Employment Sponsors. Leadership Sponsors include Compañía de elaborados de café, ELCAFÉ, G. Marlyne Sexton, Sandy & Tony Tamer, Tracfone Wireless and WSVN 7News. The Best Buddies Challenge: Miami is presented by Hublot; other sponsors include Abaco Wines, Braman Miami, Mack Cycle & Fitness, Makarov Foundation, Pepsi-Cola, Seminole Hard Rock & Casino, and the Winter family.
Access the event photos below:
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, leadership development and inclusive living 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 3,000 elementary school, middle school, high school, and college Friendship and Promoter chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 56 countries and territories, positively impacting the lives of over 1.3 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 independently, become inspirational leaders and build lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.