Champion of the Year Gala: Connecticut Best Buddies

Nothing is stopping Connecticut Best Buddies from celebrating their Champion of the Year annual fundraiser this May.  This year, however, the gala will take place virtually! Though a unique situation, Best Buddies will hold this gala from May 4-7th to honor those who have raised both funds and awareness for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. 

The Champion of the Year is an annual live-donation and gala event that recognizes the individual who has shown outstanding efforts in raising money towards the Best Buddies non-profit organization. The theme for the 2020 Champion of the Year Gala is, “Party With a Purpose!”  

Lynn Simon, Director of Development for Best Buddies International (Connecticut Office), explained their goals and mission for the event.

“Our goal for this Champion event is to create awareness around the mission of Best Buddies which is establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships and leadership development.” 

Members of the community can actively make a difference for Best Buddies through events like these, building new and strong relationships. However, in the current climate of today’s world, the gala will be held virtually. 

 “We have many friends with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are feeling more isolated than ever,” said Simon. “We all need some sort of structure and when that is altered, it can take its toll.”

Not only does the event provide a fun night for family, friends, and supporters of Best Buddies, it also spreads the word about the purpose of the organization. The goal for this event is to raise $65,000, with both community members and companies donating towards the cause.  

“Currently, there are 15 Champions of Inclusion-six are part of CT’s first 5 Star Student Leadership Team; two are a Corporate Team from Cigna, and the rest are community members that were nominated by supporters throughout the state,” said Simon. Champions are nominated through friends or family.  The champions who are nominated exemplify leadership and passion for the community. Simon wants members of the community to remember that even though the event will take place behind the screen, there is no barrier when it comes to practicing inclusion and kindness in our world.

“At Best Buddies Connecticut, we continue to think outside the box to support our participants because an inclusive world is the kind of place we want to live and work in!”

For more information on how to contribute to this event please visit https://www.bestbuddies.org/connecticut/champion-gala. The live auction is open from May 4th- 7th. On May 7th the virtual event will take place at 7:00 pm on Facebook.