SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--During a celebration of unbreakable athletic spirit, achievement and dedication, 775 attendees at the ninth annual “A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope” gala, presented by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), raised more than $2.3 million to support fitness and athletic endeavors of people with physical challenges around the world.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation – the global leader in helping people with physical challenges live active lifestyles – holds this signature celebration each year at the Waldorf Astoria New York to raise funds for its Access for Athletes Grant Program, which provides adaptive sports equipment, travel and training expenses to challenged athletes around the world, and to support the organization’s mentoring programs and schedule of annual, free sports clinics.
“The transformational power of physical activity and sports should be accessible to everyone, and it’s thanks to our dedicated supporters who stand beside the Challenged Athletes Foundation in this premise that allow us to make this a reality for people with physical challenges,” said Scott Stackman, gala founder, committee chairman and CAF board member. “We gather to celebrate the unbreakable athletic spirit exhibited by inspirational challenged athletes all over the world, but we also know there are people who still need support to realize their athletic goals. The $2.3 million raised at this year’s gala will help the Challenged Athletes Foundation to increase the number of athletes and their families who can benefit from our programs and support.”
Byron Roth, chairman and CEO of ROTH Capital Partners, LLC, received special recognition for his dedication to embracing the organization’s mission through personal and company-sponsored philanthropic efforts that have raised more than $700,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
“The immediacy of the benefit to the recipients is an important aspect that drew me to the Challenged Athletes Foundation five years ago,” said 2015 honoree Byron Roth. “Through CAF, we all have the ability to help athletes with physical challenges instantly recognize that their hope for a better future and quality of life can be realized.”
More than 50 challenged athletes attended the celebration – including CAF athlete and “Dancing with the Stars” fan favorite Amy Purdy who also performed. For the second year, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, anchors of NBC’s “The TODAY Show,” served as hosts of the evening, guiding attendees through uplifting stories of unbreakable athletic spirit, spectacular entertainment and a live auction. Auction winners will be heading to IRONMAN Kona in 2015 or 2016 to compete against triathlon’s best of the best, and jet setting to London for a Jets vs. Dolphins game at historic Wembley Stadium.
Through the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s 2015 Access for Athletes Grant Program, funded in part through the gala, 1,709 grants were distributed around the world in April 2015, representing a collective value of $3.5 million.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation would like to thank the 2015 Platinum – Champion underwriters who contributed to the evening’s success: ROTH Capital Partners LLC, Julie & Martin Franklin, Jeffrey A. Altman Foundation, Harbinger Capital Partners, Daniel S. Loeb/Third Point LLC, Scott L. Stackman, Rachel & Gary Sumers, Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Fisher Brothers Foundation, Charlotte & Gary Gilbert, John & Amy Griffin Foundation, IRONMAN, Sagard Capital, Gail Stackman, UBS Americas and Cindi & David Samson & Family.
Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $64 million has been raised and over 11,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, visit challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.