NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 18, 2012) – Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School teamed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) for the first ever Lead-Off for a Cure dinner gala on Monday, April 16 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The gala raised more than $1.3 million for children with autism and other special needs.
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, MLB Network and NBC Sports host Bob Costas, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, former MLB All-Star Reggie Sanders, and MLB Network analyst and former MLB All-Star Mitch Williams, as well as former MLB players Jon Warden, John Doherty and Dave Bergman were on hand to salute the evening’s honorees: The Boston Red Sox; Frank J. Bisignano, Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Home Lending, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Fred Hassan, Partner and Managing Director, Warburg Pincus; and Shawn Matthews, Chief Executive Officer, Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.
Joining Commissioner Selig as co-chairs of the event were SiriusXM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Henry Schacht, Tim Solso, and Autism Speaks’ Co-Founders Suzanne and Bob Wright. The evening led-off with a cocktail reception featuring a silent auction of sports memorabilia and other unique items, followed by dinner and the awards presentation. All proceeds benefited Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, and The Gillen Brewer School, a school dedicated to helping children with special needs. The gala marked Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School’s fourth partnership with a professional sports league for the annual event. Previous partners included the NHL in 2011, NBA in 2010, and NFL from 2006 to 2009.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed over $173 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 95 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.