WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is pleased to announce that Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, will serve as Chairman of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, D.C. More than 1,400 people are expected to participate in the Challenge – a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International - on October 20.
"It has always been an honor and distinct privilege for our brand to be a part of this incredible initiative," said Keogh. "Through our long-standing partnership with Best Buddies, we have helped raise funds and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and as Chairman of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, D.C., I look forward to seeing employees from our headquarters in Herndon, Virginia participating in large numbers as they have in previous years. We encourage all companies throughout the Washington, D.C. area to hire people with special needs as a part of Best Buddies Jobs and are particularly proud of our own deep-rooted commitment to this worthwhile cause."
Ted Leonsis, CEO of Monumental Sports and owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Washington Wizards, and his buddy Ken Holden, a Best Buddies participant, will also join Keogh as Honorary Co-Chairs.
This year, for the first time, there will be three cycling options: 100-miles, 50-miles, or 20-miles. The 100-mile route will be led by Tour de France cycling legend George Hincapie - one of the most recognized cyclists in the world, with numerous world championships, national championships and professional victories to his credit - and will proceed north out of the city along MacArthur Blvd, into Montgomery County, across the Point of Rocks Bridge into Loudoun County. The 50-mile route will follow the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, and the 20-mile route will remain largely on closed roads within the District.
"We are really excited about the new century ride," said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International. "We have spent months developing challenging routes through the District, Montgomery and Loudoun Counties and are extremely honored to have Audi and George Hincapie on hand to lead the way. Challenge participants will never forget this five-star event, which includes a complete day of family-friendly activities."
The Challenge, which is open to participants of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action, also features the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run/walk chaired and led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself. More than 700 students and supporters are expected to participate in the 5K.
Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are also expected to attend, including actress Lauren Potter, star of "Glee" and a member of Best Buddies' Board of Directors; NBC4 Washington Anchor Doreen Gentzler; 10-time Olympic medalist swimmer Gary Hall, Jr. and his father Gary Hall, Sr., a three-time Olympic medalist swimmer; Olympic cyclist Bobby Lea; professional triathlete Omar Nour; radio personality Tommy McFly; Miss District of Columbia USA 2012 Monique Thompkins; Miss Teen USA 2012 Logan West; and Miss Virginia USA 2012 Catherine Muldoon. Four of Eunice and Sargent Shriver's children will ride with their own children in honor of Mrs. Shriver's long-time commitment to improving the lives of people with IDD.
The Challenge will be capped off with an awards ceremony, gourmet dinner and private performance by Sugar Ray at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia. The park is a National Register Historic Property and the estate of former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis.
Audi is returning for the third year as Title Sponsor of the Challenge. More than 120 Audi employees are expected to participate in the festivities as part of Team Audi, with the goal of raising over $125,000 for the cause.
Additional Challenge sponsors include: May Liang & Jim Lintott, Klingman & Associates, Capital Trust Group, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Pilot Freight Services, the Leonsis Foundation, Panasonic, Pepsi, Rosetta Stone, FIJI Water, Bicycling Magazine, Clear Channel, Getty Images, NBC4, Niche Media/Capitol File, M.C. Dean, The Patron Spirits Company, The Fairmont Washington, D.C., and Tiffany & Co.
Best Buddies is also receiving the support of the Honorary Ambassador Committee, whose members are helping to promote not only the event, but also inclusion for individuals with IDD. Committee members include: Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Representative Donna Edwards, Representative Jim Moran, and Representative Chris Van Hollen.
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' eight formal programs —Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — 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, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2011, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. AUDI AG is planning to invest a total of EUR 13 billion over the period 2012 through 2016 on new products and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.
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SOURCE Best Buddies International