Audi and Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for one-to-one friendship and integrated employment for people with intellectual disabilities, joined forces with quarterback Tom Brady and celebrities for the annual Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port charity bicycle tour and fundraising events.
With more than 1500 participants and close to $4 million raised, the 2009 ride improved on last year's record to once again make it the most successful fundraising initiative in Best Buddies' and Audi's history.
Audi's underwriting of the ride means that every dollar raised over the course of the weekend went directly to the charity and its programs. Celebrity participants included Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen, New England Patriots teammates Nick Kaczur, Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, Steve Neal, and Pierre Woods, Senator John Kerry, Olympic gold-medalist Carl Lewis, actors Verne Troyer, David Spade and Maureen McCormick and Miss Teen USA 2008 Stevi Perry.
Actor and comedian David Spade arrived at the start line of the 100-mile ride at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on Saturday morning with a special gift. He presented a check for $50,000 to Best Buddies founder and chairman Anthony Kennedy Shriver in support of the charity.
Riders were then led by an Audi R8 and TT Roadster to their route from Boston to the Cape. Once again, `Team Audi' composed of employees and dealers raised additional funds to the corporate contributions and joined the rides.
In an effort to reduce the event's carbon footprint, Audi provided a fleet of Q7 TDI clean-diesel cars to shuttle celebrities and VIP guests. In addition to the picturesque bicycle tour from the JFK Library to the Kennedy Compound at Craigville Beach and the pre-ride celebration the night before, the two-day event concluded with a star-studded New England clambake and a private concert performed by the legendary Bangles.
Anthony Kennedy Shriver and Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen toasted riders and participants for their hard work while Tom Brady was auctioning off signed footballs to the audience in support of the Best Buddies Leadership conference.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501 organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1400 middle school, high school, and college campuses worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. They have accredited programs in 42 countries, with additional ones under development. The six formal programs positively impact more than 400,000 individuals with and without intellectual disabilities annually. For more information, visit bestbuddies.org or bestbuddieschallenge.org