Autism Speaks Raises Over $1 Million at its Thirteenth Annual Celebrity Golf Challenge at Winged Foot
On Monday, June 20, Autism Speaks teamed up with television personalities, sports stars, and other local supporters to help raise much needed funds for autism research and services at the Thirteenth Annual Celebrity Golf Challenge. Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright and event Co-chairs Susan and Kevin Murray spearheaded the day-long golf outing at the world- renowned Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Special guests included N.Y. Giants superstar quarterback Eli Manning and linebacker Michael Boley, along with former N.Y. Giants players Howard Cross and Billy Ard; former N.Y. Jets cornerback Bobby Jackson, former NFL player Corey Louchiey, University of Connecticut Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun, “Spin City” and “Mad About You” actor Richard Kind, golf pro Jerome Andrews, NBA Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich, former NBC sports anchor Len Berman, Brothers McMullen star Michael McGlone, and CBS “Early Show” co-host Chris Wragge, all of whom participated Autism Speaks longest running golf event.
The Thirteenth Annual Celebrity Golf Challenge featured foursomes paired with the local celebrities and athletes for an exciting day of golf. The tournament concluded with a dinner reception and an exciting live and silent auction – which highlighted items like tickets to the November premiere of Breaking Dawn and after party (the latest in vampiric mega series Twilight), a trip to top vacation destinations – Belize, Cabo San Lucas, and packages funding Autism Speaks’ family services and translational research initiatives. One lucky guest took home a 2011 Subaru Outback after successfully shooting a hole-in-one!
Through the generous sponsorship of companies like BNY Mellon, MKP Capital Management, Amherst Securities Group, Bill Finneran, BlackRock, Inc., Cantor Fitzgerald, Carlson Capital, L.P., Ellington Management Group, LLC, Jack Schneider, RBS Global Banking & Markets, Suzanne & Bob Wright, Ramsey Frank among others; and through big-hearted individual guest and auction donations, the 2011 event raised over $1 million for autism research, advocacy and family services, exceeding last year by over $100,000.
Autism Speaks wishes to thank Susan and Kevin Murray and all participants who helped make the Thirteenth Annual Celebrity Golf Classic one of our best to date.
This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult who has autism, is a rising senior at Seton Hall University, majoring in Sports Management.
One may ask what someone does after volunteering from about six in the morning to 10 at night. Does one take a shower, go to sleep, get some food, OR in some rare cases, write a blog about the day’s events? If you chose the latter, you were correct and win the glorious prize of knowing there are completely loopy people like me in this world. (Don’t believe me; I just used the word loopy in a sentence.)
On Monday, June 28, Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York hosted the 12th Annual Autism Speaks Celebrity Golf Challenge. I had the opportunity to volunteer to help run the event with Autism Speaks, and as a true golf enthusiast, I felt very privileged and excited, to say the least!
The day’s events were simply astonishing, whether it was the swarms of celebrities (some with inflated handicaps and some without) or the continuing use of huge advancements in the world of technology, such as Bid Pal (a device similar to an iPhone that helps auctioneers place bids on numbered items during auctions) and eGolfScore devices (handheld wireless scoring devices updating golf scores up to the second for standings and updates). All celebrities in attendance were teamed up with groups of golfers to play in the events. The event also featured a live and silent auction in the evening with quite a few great items up for grabs.
The golf events from the day were joyous for the most part; however, an interesting sight to see was in the late afternoon when it started raining and several golf groups kept playing. Whether it was based on the fact that it was Autism Speaks’ event or not didn’t matter; people were enjoying their day and it was great to see.
The most heartfelt event of the day for me occurred during the evening dinner program where Kevin J. Murray, The event and committee co-chair spoke about autism and how it had impacted not only his son, but his family’s lives around him. This was during a very funny transitional period where Autism Speaks and Winged Foot debuted a video that was shot throughout the golf events of the day. The video included a spoof of the movie “Caddyshack” (I chuckled more than once and am laughing while typing this out as well in memory). Kevin probably said it best when he said, “This video we are about to see truly captures the feeling of today” and it did: fun, eventful and timeless.
Suzanne and Bob Wright, The honorary co-chairs who were also in attendance, spoke during the evening dinner program and showed once again how effective and powerful they are when it comes to public speaking. Suzanne Wright, who quoted Michelangelo, said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” This was symbolic to Autism Speaks’ dedication to help with autism put together the puzzle, piece-by-piece.
Special thanks go out to all the celebrities who attended, the golfers who played and made donations to Autism Speaks, and also the to the staff members and volunteers whose fabulous work made the day run smoothly for everyone.
Read more about the event and view photos here.