Over Dh 1.5 million raised at charity ball
ABU DHABI- Guests at Saturday’s star studded Grand Prix Ball Abu Dhabi donated more than AED 1.5 million (US$411,000) to the event’s international charity partner, fresh2o, as some of the biggest names from business, stage and screen turned out to support the inaugural showcase.
The bulk of the donations came from the event’s charity auction, with the rest made up from private donations.
“fresh2o would like to extend a massive thank you to all the people involved with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Ball and in particular the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. The generosity of our partners who donated auction prizes, including of course Janet Jackson, has meant we have raised an extraordinary amount of money that will have true impact in the communities we support,” said Andrew Dent, Head of Communications, fresh2o - one of the world’s leading NGOs for providing clean, safe drinking water to the more than one billion who need it globally.
“It is fair to say that because of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Ball thousands of people around the world will now be able to have clean and safe fresh water for drinking and sanitation.”
The biggest single bid of the night of AED350,000 came from Dr Hitesh Bodani for the one-of-a-kind 1939 Cadillac LaSalle, which had been given a unique makeover as part of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority’s (ADTA) Art Cars Exhibition. The LaSalle’s custom artwork was designed by leading Singaporean artist, Vincent Leow, and blends his unique street style with the visual, mass pop art movement of the 50s and 60s. The ADTA was the event’s destination partner.
“I have a personal charity Vision Africa and I understand the plight faced by millions on the continent as I am myself from Kenya. As a family, we have been actively helping those in need for decades. It really only takes a little contribution from people to make a big difference,” said Dr Bodani.
Grammy-award winning singer, Janet Jackson, who attended the ball, made a personal donation of a once-in-a-lifetime meet and greet with the US star - one of the greatest selling female artists of all time and sister of the late Michael Jackson.
An initial bid of AED125,000 won the chance to go backstage during one of Jackson’s tour concerts, however a second bidder matched the cost, and Jackson agreed to accept both and will now host two lucky guests.
“The tears in my wife’s eyes after we watched the fresh2o video were too much to bear. Africa is very dear to me and I cannot stand by while people suffer such hardship,” said Makesh Vaswani from Ghana, one of the two successful bidders.
And one lucky guest took home an all-expenses paid trip, including two first-class tickets from anywhere in the world, to the Virgin Galactic Space Ship launch in Palo Alto, California.
With a winning offer of AED 250,000, Indy Chhina dedicated her pledge to her recently deceased father.
Other top bids included:
AED85,000 for a private round of golf with five time Major winner, Sir Nick Faldo.
AED 110,000 for a private meet and greet with Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, which includes a tour of the Old Trafford training grounds, match day hospitality and a signed shirt from the entire 2009-10 squad.
AED 125,000 for the Platinum Vision home theatre system, which is used by the likes of David Beckham, Stevie Wonder and Robbie Williams.
AED35,000 for an exclusive shoot with Oscar winning Photographer and founder of fresh2o Candice Farmer
AED90,000 for two Water for Life campaign photographs signed by the artists, Candice and fashionista Kimberly Stewart.
AED120,000 donated by guests to help build wells for communities for life
Guests at the Grand Prix Ball Abu Dhabi had the chance to rub shoulders with some of the world’s biggest names including Indian tennis superstar Vijay Amritraj, up-coming fashion-icon, Kimberly Stewart – the daughter of Scottish rock legend, Rod Stewart – Oscar winning stars, Jeremy Irons and Marisa Tomei, US actress, Neve Cambell, US singer, Janet Jackson and her sister Latoya Jackson.
Crowds were also treated to a night of musical entertainment from Latino legends The Gipsy Kings and operatic tenor, Jean Luc Viala – the first time they have taken to stage together – and Peter Grant, the rising musical star from the UK who draws his influences from Frank Sinatra.
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