ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, August 4, 2012, Starkey Hearing Foundation, whose mission – So the World May Hear – brings greater understanding among people through hearing care, raised more than $7.6 million during its annual So the World May Hear Awards Gala. The event, which drew dozens of celebrity and VIP supporters, raised the most money of any gala since the event began in 2001.
Held at the Saint Paul River Centre in St. Paul, MN, and sponsored by Rayovac, the 12th So the World May Hear Awards Gala began in the afternoon with red carpet arrivals that included program presenters, honorees, performers and guests. Gala attendees included:
Presenters: President Bill Clinton, Forest Whitaker, Chevy Chase, Norm Crosby, Christopher Massey, Kyle Massey
Honorees: Actress Maria Bello; Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of St. Monica's School, Uganda; Philanthropists Glenn and Mindy Stearns, and former CHS CEO John Johnson
Performers: Glenn Frey, Billy Ray Cyrus, K'NAAN, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Jackie Evancho and Michael Johns
Guests: Sports – John Calipari, Tony Hawk, Pedro Martinez, Sammy Sosa, Rollie Fingers, Roland Hemond, Cole Aldrich, Matt Harpring, Mark Clayton, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Jerome McDougle, Stockar McDougle, Josh Harding, Shjon Podein. Actors - Marlee Matlin, Paul Johansson, Chris McDonald, Kate Maberly, Vicki Rowell, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Sorbo, Verne Troyer, Gary Busey, Shannon Elizabeth, Quinton Aaron. Entertainers - Gabe Saporta, Paul Williams. World Poker Champions - Michelle Lau, Jerry Yang. CNN Hero – Tad Agoglia, Astronauts - Buzz Aldrin and Scott Carpenter.
Robin Williams and Billy Crystal also appeared, treating guests to an on-stage reunion with the pair serving as auctioneers during the evening's live auction. The two drew a shared $130,000 bid from MLB stars Sammy Sosa and Pedro Martinez for a Glenn Frey-autographed guitar. Upcoming Starkey hearing missions to Ethiopia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Egypt and Mexico also went up for auction.
The evening's honorees included Maria Bello, for her tireless work in Haiti as part of her foundation, WE ADVANCE; and Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, whose St. Monica's School in Uganda helps to rehabilitate girls and young women victimized under Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. Both received a rousing applause and standing ovation, with Bello surprising the crowd when she ran to the stage to join Sr. Rosemary and make a $5,000 offer for one of the aluminum pop-top handbags designed by her students at St. Monica's School. The gesture motivated others in the room to follow suit, raising more than $30,000 for the school. Glenn and Mindy Stearns were honored for their tireless philanthropic efforts to make the world a better place through Life Changing Lives. One Nation. One Heart. John Johnson, retired CEO of CHS, Inc., was also recognized for his leadership in providing food and infrastructure to people in need around the globe.
As a member of Clinton Global Initiative, Starkey Hearing Foundation has pledged to give more than 1,000,000 hearing aids to those in need during this decade. To demonstrate the instant miracle of hearing that takes place when a child hears his or her mother's voice for the first time after being fitted with a hearing aid, the Foundation presented video highlights of hearing missions conducted during 2012 throughout the evening. These included visits to El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Another video showcased the launch of the Listen Carefully program in May. The campaign was rolled out to schools in partnership with Scholastic, Inc. and seeks to promote hearing health education nationwide among young people.
Another memorable moment came with the announcement by Starkey Hearing Foundation Executive Director, Steven Sawalich of "Operation Change," a new docu-series chronicling the Foundation's missions and efforts to use hearing as a vehicle for peace and understanding and to build partnerships around the world to change lives– one individual at a time.
Attended by nearly 1,500 people, the 2012 So The World May Hear Awards Gala raised a record-breaking $7.6 million through ticket sales, sponsorships, donations, and the live and silent auctions. All of the funds will be used to allow Starkey Hearing Foundation to continue its work in promoting hearing health and awareness, including holding domestic and international hearing missions over the coming year, and furthering its Listen Carefully program to promote safe listening among young people.
About Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation is bringing understanding among individuals and communities through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education, protection and treatment – so the world may hear. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton's Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit 1 million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.
***Gallery of images available upon request. Downloadable b-roll footage: StarkeyGala_B-roll_Final.mov***
SOURCE Starkey Hearing Foundation