The buddy system
The Best Buddies International annual Ball raises $3.35 million
Best Buddies International, an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment, announced that the annual Best Buddies Ball raised a total of $3.35 million. Nine-hundred attendees from around the world gathered at the home of Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver in Potomac, Maryland to celebrate the accomplishments of Best Buddies and pledge their support for the continued expansion of the organization.
The black tie gala, held on October 18, featured a formal dinner, silent and live auctions, a performance by Cirque du Soleil and a private concert by Kenny G. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, wife of the Emir of Qatar, was honored with the “Spirit of Leadership Award” for her outstanding efforts on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities in Qatar and throughout the world.
In a touching moment, Academy Award-winning actor Robert DeNiro was joined by Omar Nasser Al-Khanji and Faisal Khamis Al-Sultan, a Buddy Pair from Qatar, to present the prestigious award to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah.
“The Best Buddies Ball has been an extraordinary trajectory of 20 years of philanthropy, and I am so profoundly grateful to the greater Washington community and all of our supporters from around the world for their efforts in making this year’s event such an overwhelming success,” said Anthony Kennedy Shriver, founder and chairman of Best Buddies International. “I am particularly grateful to my parents, who have opened their home and their hearts to the Best Buddies mission of friendship for more than two decades. Although this marks the final year that the Ball will be held at their home, I look forward to the next phase of the Ball and to many more years of celebrating Best Buddies through this inspirational gathering of support.”
The total amount raised through the Ball exceeded the $3 million fundraising goals set by Best Buddies. Funds came in the form of sponsorship, guest contributions and silent and live auctions, which were chaired by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Included in this year’s auction were the 2008 Audi S8 customized for and driven by New England Patriot’s Quarterback Tom Brady; a five star getaway to Qatar; a magnificent Egyptian Arabian mare; visits to two
of DPS Sporting Club’s luxurious sporting club properties; and a rare vintage wine collection. The auction became especially exciting when “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson, a special surprise guest, took over the role of the auctioneer and offered two backstage passes to the hit show.
At this year’s Ball, Best Buddies was proud to honor Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned of Qatar. She is the first international recipient of this award. Her Highness has been actively engaged in education and social reforms in Qatar for many years and has played a major role in spearheading national and international development projects. One of her greatest achievements has been the creation of the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, a first-of-its-kind facility in the Middle East that offers state-of-the-art technologies.
Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,400 middle school, high school, and college campuses worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. We have accredited international programs in 40 countries, with additional ones under active development. Our six formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies and Jobs – positively impact more than 350,000 individuals with and without intellectual disabilities annually. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, and make lifelong friendships.
For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org.
Kenny G. performs with some of the Buddies .
Her Highness Sheikah Mozah receives the Spirit of Leadership Award from Anthony Kennedy Shriver and Robert Deniro.
Randy Perkins, left, Randy Jackson and Anthony Kennedy Shriver
Eric Latcheran, left, Miss Teen USA 2008 Stevi Perry and Kyler Reese
Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, left, and Miss Teen USA 2008 Stevi Perry with Mark and Miss USA Crystle Stewart
Eric Matthis, left and Brett Banford
Kenny G., left, and Brett Banford