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Lead-Off for a Cure

Autism Speaks and The Gillen Brewer School teamed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Lead-Off for a Cure dinner gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan on Monday, April 16. The evening was a tremendous success, raising over $1.3 million in funds for children with autism and other special needs.

Nearly 400 guests were in attendance, including Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig; MLB Network Host and NBC Sports Anchor Bob Costas, who served as the evening’s emcee; 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 David Bruce Bergman.  Joining Commissioner Selig as co-chairs of the event were SiriusXM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin, 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 an awards presentation at the majestic Temple of Dendur Egyptian monument in The Sackler Wing of the museum.  Honorees included Frank J. Bisignano, Chief Administrative Officer and Head of Home Lending, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Fred Hassan, Partner and Managing Director, Warburg Pincus; Shawn Matthews, Chief Executive Officer, Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.; and The Boston Red Sox.

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.   

For more Lead-Off for a Cure coverage, check out

Back row left to right: David Bruce Bergman, Paul Tagliabue, Mitch Williams, Jon Warden, Mark Roithmayr, Harry Schacht, Reggie Sanders, John Doherty, Laura Bilicic
Front row left to right: Bob Costas, Mel Karmazin, Frank J. Bisignano, Shawn Matthews, Fred Hassan, Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Donna Kennedy

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.