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Best Buddies 2023 Champion of the Year Gala

November 3 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm



The organization is excited to announce its Co-Chairs, Lynsey Kane and Jena Sims Koepka, both long-time advocates for inclusion with Best Buddies International, and also it recognizes its inspiring Champions

Best Buddies International, a nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is excited to kick-off its Champion of the Year fundraising drive to support its 2023 Champion of the Year Gala, hosted by Best Buddies in Palm Beach County, FL.

This year’s Gala also features a star-studded array of Champions, a group of leaders who are currently raising funds with their Mission Partners “Best Buddies” to support their local Best Buddies programs. The impact of these programs currently covers 47 chapters and 1,250 participants in five counties (Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River), however more schools are needed. This year’s Champions include Christine Chase Simmonds, Adriana Fini, Bree Gordon Lukosavich, Warren Kirschbaum, Mike Kneuer, Mackenzie Norton, Julianna Priddy, Melissa Taylor and Karina Yanez.

The 2023 Champion of the Year Gala, which celebrates the Champions and their Mission Partners, will take place at the unique Cox Science Center & Aquarium in West Palm Beach, on Friday, November 3rd. from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. The popular gala will feature both Silent and Live Auctions with several one-of-a-kind items up for auction, including amazing gifts of travel, sports, art, spas, golf and much more, dinner, cocktails, dancing, a keynote address from a Best Buddies Ambassador, a pageant performance by girls from Pageant of Hope and a special awards ceremony.

Tricia Williams, Area Director for Palm Beach stated, “We are thrilled to have two Chairs, Lynsey Kane and Jena Sims Koepka, who are both such devoted supporters of the Best Buddies Mission of inclusion.” Lynsey calls Best Buddies her favorite organization that promotes friendship, love, acceptance, independence and inclusion. And Jena, the 2022 Honorary Chair, continues to support Best Buddies since 2007, after being crowned Miss Georgia Teen USA. She is all about empowerment. Jena is the founder and President of HBBQ’s, Inc., the 501c3 organization that puts on the Pageant of Hope. She started this inspirational event after winning her first pageant in 2005, seeing the confidence it gave her- she had to pass this same winning feeling along to kids and teens that need it most. And this year once again, the Best Buddies Gala will include a pageant performance by the girls from Pageant of Hope.

Not only will this be a fantastic evening, you will also be a part of Best Buddies’ goal to expand more opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with IDD in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast of FL. And, this year’s Emcee of the event is another long-time supporter of Best Buddies, CBS 12 News Anchor Matt Lincoln.

This event is expected to sell out. For tickets, visit https://www.bestbuddieschampion.org/palmbeach/individual-tickets/   or call 561.972.5312 for more information and to purchase tickets for the event.

Event Sponsors for the 2023 Champion of the Year Gala include Presenting Sponsor Struble, P.A. Trial Lawyers, Custom Platinum Sponsor Red Meat Lovers Club, Platinum Sponsors Voyage Recovery Center and The Davis Family, Gold Sponsors Greenberg Traurig and Treehouse Therapy, Custom Silver Sponsor Otis Elevators, Silver Sponsor Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley, Valet Sponsor VanKirk & Sons Pools, Liquor Sponsor Black Coral Rum, Modern Luxury Magazine, and Pageant of Hope. Key sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please call the office above for more details.



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, leadership development and inclusive living 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 nearly 3,000 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 56 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 690,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, 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.

For more information about the Best Buddies in Palm Beach 2023 Champion of the Year Gala and/or media inquiries, please contact:

Kathleen.Casper@Yahoo.com or 561.891.7841.


November 3
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Cox Science Center and Aquarium
4801 Dreher Trail North
West Palm Beach, 33405
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