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Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, DC - Web Exclusive

Audi has helped the organization raise over $44 million in total donations in its primary fundraising events.

Audi is on a mission to help Best Buddies International raise a record-setting $1.7 million in donations at the 2011 Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Washington, DC.

It’s a charity walk, run and ride on October 22. The event was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989. Since then, Best Buddies has been dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

As the largest corporate team – raising close to $140,000 – and Title Sponsor of the Challenge, Audi aims to help Best Buddies exceed last year’s $1.2 million raised.

Up to 1200 participants will race in the Challenge, chaired by Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. Additionally, the company has renewed its partnership with Best Buddies for another three years. During this time, Audi will continue to serve as the Title Sponsor of the DC Challenge, provide vehicles as the official car of Best Buddies, and support the launch of a formal job program in the DC area.

On Saturday, October 22, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at the base of the Washington Monument on the National Mall for a 100k (62-mile) or 20-mile ride through the nation’s capital.

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; and the Celebrity-Student Fun Run, a 5K run/walk for high school and college students chaired and led by “Glee’s” Lauren Potter.

Several other celebrities, athletes and guests are also expected to participate in the Challenge, including Cycling Legend Bobby Julich; American Olympic Cyclist Bobby Lea and his brother Syd Lea, a Special Olympics Cycling Gold-Medalist; Miss Teen USA Danielle Doty, Miss District of Columbia Heather Swann, Miss Teen District of Columbia Imani Bentham, Miss Maryland Allyn Rose, and Miss Teen Maryland Kristen Nicholson; Pop Artist Romero Britto; and Professional Tri-Athlete Omar Nour.

Additionally, US Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), US Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), US Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), US Senator Tom R. Harkin (D-IA), US Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS), US Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), US Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), US Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Democratic Leader), US Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), US Senator Marco A. Rubio (R-FL), and US Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) have also graciously agreed to join the Challenge’s Political Ambassador Committee to help promote not only the event, but also inclusion for individuals with IDD.

Since partnering with Best Buddies International in 2007, Audi has helped the organization raise over $44 million in total donations in its primary fundraising events, such as this one. Further, the company has actively engaged employees and dealers on various programs and levels, ranging from employees volunteering to become members of local Best Buddies boards to hiring a Best Buddies Jobs participant to work part-time at Audi‘s Virginia headquarters.

The Challenge, which occurs in October to coincide with the Congress-designated National Disability Employment Awareness Month, will be capped off by a luncheon and private musical performance by Kool & The Gang.

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