PALO ALTO, Calif., April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Best Buddies International, a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce that it will award Ken Wilcox, the CEO of SVB Financial Group and Silicon Valley Bank, with the "Spirit of Leadership" award.
The "Spirit of Leadership" award is Best Buddies' highest accolade, and is presented to individuals who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the Best Buddies mission. Past honorees have included Muhammad Ali, David Caruso, Senator Tom Harkin, David Maxwell, Sally Pederson and Sargent Shriver.
"Best Buddies applauds Ken's dedication to our mission of friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. "We are proud to honor him with our "Spirit of Leadership" award and sincerely hope that his efforts inspire other individuals and companies in Silicon Valley to follow in his footsteps."
Under Wilcox's direction, SVB has directly engaged in the Best Buddies mission by employing two people with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, Team SVB has committed 407 volunteer participants to the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle since 2004, raising over $723,190 in total donations in support of the organization. No other individual or company has done more for Best Buddies in Silicon Valley.
Wilcox joined SVB in 1990 when he co-founded Silicon Valley Bank's East Coast Technology Division. Upon his promotion to Chief Banking Officer in 1997, Wilcox moved from Massachusetts to California. In 2000, he became president and CEO, and successfully pursued a strategy of expansion and diversification, while remaining focused on the company's core niches of technology, life sciences, venture capital and premium wineries.
On April 21, Wilcox is stepping down as CEO to become the Chairman of Silicon Valley Bank and focus exclusively on the company's operations and expansion in China. Wilcox is a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Asia Society, Equilibrium Capital Group, Bessemer Venture Partners and the Young Adult and Family Center at UCSF. He is also an executive committee and board member of the Bay Area Council and a contributing speaker at the Stanford University Entrepreneurship Corner. In 2008, Wilcox was named Banker of the Year by American Banker, earned the distinction of "Entrepreneur of the Year" in Northern California by Ernst & Young in 2009, and in 2010, the Yangpu District of Shanghai honored Wilcox with an "Innovation Contributor" award.
Best Buddies is also pleased to welcome back Team SVB to the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, which will take place on September 10. The Challenge is a charity walk, run and ride from Carmel to San Simeon, CA, benefitting Best Buddies International. Maria Shriver will serve as Honorary Chairperson of the event, which features 100, 62, 35 and 15-mile cycling routes, a 5K run and 3K walk, celebrity tandem races, and a barbeque and private concert at Hearst Ranch. Wilcox will be presented with the "Spirit of Leadership" award during the Challenge.
This year, Team SVB comprises SVB employees and their families, clients and business associates, and hopes to recruit 75 participants and raise $175,000. In order to kick-off these efforts, Wilcox, Team SVB and Anthony Kennedy Shriver, will host a breakfast and practice ride on Friday, April 8. For more information on these events, or to register for credentials, please contact Carrie Merritt at SVB Financial Group at 503.574.3705 or [email protected]
About Best Buddies International:
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies' seven formal programs – Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
About Silicon Valley Bank:
Silicon Valley Bank is the premier commercial bank for companies in the technology, life science, venture capital, private equity and premium wine industries. SVB provides a comprehensive suite of financing solutions, treasury management, corporate investment and international banking services to its clients worldwide. Through its focus on specialized markets and extensive knowledge of the people and business issues driving them, Silicon Valley Bank provides a level of service and partnership that measurably impacts its clients' success. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., the company serves clients around the world through 26 U.S. offices and international operations in China, India, Israel and the United Kingdom. Silicon Valley Bank is a member of global financial services firm SVB Financial Group (Nasdaq: SIVB). More information on the company can be found at www.svb.com.
SOURCE Best Buddies