Annual fund-raising gala puts Best Buddies in the driver's seat

October 26, 1997|By Sylvia Badger

WHAT DRIVES America Drives Best Buddies -- Friendship" was the theme of this year's Best Buddies Ball held at the Potomac home of Eunice and Sargent Shriver. Best Buddies was founded in 1989 by their son Anthony and has since paired nearly 10,000 people with mental retardation with people without mental retardation in one-to-one friendships. Best Buddies now has chapters in more than 400 high schools, colleges and universities.

It was a festive, black-tie evening, which had as its honorary chairs President and Mrs. Bill Clinton. America Online president and CEO Ted Leonsis and Trueman Communications Group president Ellie Trueman were gala co-chairs. A tented dinner area off the back of the house was decorated with two 10-foot replicas of the Indy 500 trophy, four Indy 500 cars and flags, all donated by Mari Hulman George, owner of the Indianapolis Speedway. Legendary driver Johnny Rutherford made an appearance with his 1980 Indy 500 championship car.

Party highlights included great music by the Temptations and bidding on unique auction items, including a visit to the Kennedy Space Center to witness a space-shuttle launch with Ethel Kennedy as your guide, or a Planet Hollywood jacket signed by Shriver brother-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger. The real showstopper came when actor Tom Arnold bid $6,000 for a dance with dancer Debbie Allen.

Others at the party were Sen. Ted Kennedy; Maryland Del. Mark Shriver and his wife, Jeannie; Tim Shriver, executive director of Special Olympics International; actor Lucky Vanous, known for his Diet Coke commercial; and neo-pop Miami artist Romero Britto, who announced that he will donate $100,000 to Best Buddies over the next 10 years.

Gilman centennial

Gilman School celebrated its centennial with a gala black-tie dinner held in an enormous tent on the school's Roland Park campus. More than 1,200 parents, alums, faculty and staff came to the party, which included a seated dinner prepared by Classic Catering and music by the Michael Carney Orchestra.

A Gilman parent, Norman Steinberg, is the producer of "Cosby," and he arranged for a birthday video featuring wishes from Bill Cosby. This was followed by a "100 Years of Gilman Memories" video by Allen Moore, class of '70.

Those most responsible for the success of the evening were James Riepe, president of the school's board of trustees; Gilman headmaster Arch Montgomery IV, '71; Richard Thomas, '43; honorary chair Walter Lord, '35; Mary Ellen Thomsen; George B. Hess Jr. '55; past president of the alumni association Ted Millspaugh, '79; current alumni association president Dirck Bartlett, '82; William Paternotte, '63; Gail Riepe; John Schmick, '67; past president of the Parent Association Mary Jo Wagandt; current Parent Association president Donna Triptow; Barbara Bozzuto; and George Stewart, '39.

Junior Achievement

The president and CEO of Forbes Inc., Steve Forbes, was the keynote speaker at the Junior Achievement of Central Maryland's 40th anniversary party. Forbes, a national Junior Achievement board member, and Jim Brinkley, president of Legg Mason and chair of this year's dinner, have been involved with helping young people for many years.

The banquet was held at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, where the Junior Achievement awards were presented to an array of winners, and the Spirit of Achievement Awards were presented to Struever Brothers, Eccles & Rouse Inc. and Provident Bank of Maryland.

Grant-A-Wish

The Grant-A-Wish Foundation's 15th anniversary was a three-day happening, which began with a party in the Camden Yards Warehouse before an Orioles playoff game. According to Brian Morrison, executive director of the foundation, more than 650 people were at the party, which featured the chance to bid on 10 live-auction items.

Bids were hot and heavy on the JFK memorabilia, donated by Robert White, said to own the largest collection of JFK items in the country. Other items that brought top dollar were autographed bats, pictures and balls donated by Joe DiMaggio, and the first prints of the 1954-1997 Orioles team pictures, donated by team photographer Morton Tadder. The auction items brought in $18,000.

The next day, more than 240 golfers teed off at the Turf Valley Country Club for a day of golf, and the following day, 250 people attended a picnic for volunteers at Patapsco State Park.

Pub Date: 10/26/97

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