The buddy sys­tem

The Best Bud­dies In­ter­na­tional an­nual Ball raises $3.35 mil­lion

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Cover Story -

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

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