Since 2000, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has given away more than 200,000 hearing aids to children with hearing impairments around the world, a cause that celebrities can embrace.
And indeed, they did just that on June 23, 2007, at the St. Paul RiverCentre in Minnesota. The stars were shining, contributing their time, talent and money to the Foundations worthy cause.
The Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, entertained the sold out audience along with a lengthy roster of other celebs from the worlds of film, sports, music and TV. So who was there? Heres just a partial list of the wonderful celebrities who gave of themselves, many of whom have attended Starkey So the World Can Hear Galas in previous years.
this years So the World May Hear Gala
Esteemed guests included: Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Oscar-winners Goldie Hawn and Marlee Matlin, funnyman Leslie Nielsen, Jane Seymour, Robert Wagner, Tommy Lasorda, Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band and many other celebs including Mickey Rooney, Paul Williams and astronaut and moon-walker, Buzz Aldrin.
The crowd at the RiverCenter enjoyed the non-stop entertainment, including a show-stopping, foot-stomping rendition of Kenny Loggins Footloose from the movie of the same name. The crowd was on its feet, dancing in the aisles and partying hearty.
But fun was just part of the evening. The real purpose of the So the World May Hear Gala is to raise money to support the Starkey Hearing Foundations efforts to improve the hearing of all children, regardless of borders. This humanitarian effort, now in its seventh year, has raised millions of dollars to purchase and distribute hearing aids.
And this year, more money than ever was raised - $4.5 million, breaking last years record of $4.3 million. Money is raised through ticket sales and through a silent and live auction always favorites with gala guests.
In addition, the Foundation honored several people for their philanthropic efforts throughout the years. Those honored this year included Al Annexstad, President and CEO of Federated Insurance Companies and his wife (both big contributors), Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, whos taken an active role in the early diagnosis and treatment of pediatric hearing loss, retired baseball player, manager and Hall of Famer, Tommy Lasorda, who has been active in numerous charitable causes, and the final award winner was Goldie Hawn, founder of her own charitable foundation that distributes the Mindful Awareness program to schools across the country.
Upon being honored, Ms. Hawn stated that Together [with the Starkey Hearing Foundation] we can make a difference in the lives of children and I consider it our investment in the future.
The man behind Starkey Laboratories and the Starkey Hearing Foundation is Bill Austin, who has been involved in improving childrens hearing for many years. Bill is also the driving force behind the Foundations annual gala. And that takes a lot of time and energy for which the hearing health community owes Bill a huge debt of gratitude.
However, Bill Austin prefers to place the entertainers and special guests in the spotlight while he stays in the background. I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who was a part of this years gala and who, through their generosity of time and money, helped make the world a better place for so many children, Bill stated.
With $4.5 million in donations, theres still a great deal of work ahead in distributing hearing aids globally, wherever theyre needed. The work has just begun.
If youd like to make a contribution to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, please send your donations to:
The Starkey Hearing Foundation
6700Washington Ave. South
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Or visit the Foundations web site for additional information. Your generous donations will be used to improve the quality of life for children in need everywhere.