A total of 900 people attended the 19TH Annual Best Buddies Miami Gala at the Ice Palace Studios in Downtown Miami on Friday, November 20th. The star-studded event raised $2.5 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).
This year’s Gala celebrated the organization’s student volunteer movement and school programs which is where the organization first began. The event included a live performance by special musical guest and Best Buddies Global Ambassador Steve Aoki. In attendance were Gala Co-Chairs Jackie Soffer Robins and Craig Robins, Alina andAnthony K. Shriver; Actors Jason Lewis, Vivica A. Fox, and Verne Troyer; NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning;Pop Artist Romero Britto; Hotel Heir and Best Buddies employer Jeff Soffer; Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan and Miss Teen USA 2015 Katherine Haik.
There were a number of exclusive items up for auction, including a limited edition Hublot Best Buddies Cycling Timepiece, a custom-made Cannondale Best Buddies EVO Bicycle, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to see the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, a one-of-a-kind Romero Britto Portrait, a luxurious trip to theMontage in Deer Valley with a total of 10 nights during both the winter and summer seasons, the ultimate vacation getaway on a 144 ft. yacht and a Starbase One Jet Card that allows you to fly privately to your destination of choice within the continental United States. The silent and live auctions raised a total of $524,000 for the organization.
Former Miami Heat superstar Alonzo Mourning autographed basketballs to donors who pledged $1,000 to “Sponsor a Buddy” to attend Best Buddies International’s Leadership Conference. Pop Artist Romero Britto presented Steve Aoki with a custom portrait before Aoki ended the night and rocked the Gala crowd with some of his biggest hits to date.