Tag Archives: muhammad ali

celebrity-fight-night

Fight Night Auction Includes Trip to Space

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most impactful charity events, with XCOR Aerospace, announced today a new space flight experience onboard the XCOR® Lynx® to be auctioned off live, Saturday, April 12 at Celebrity Fight Night XX. This package, along with other items up for auction that night, will help raise money for charity at the milestone 20th anniversary Celebrity Fight Night event at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

This exclusive package includes space flight training at Air Combat USA of Fullerton, California, a space suit fitting and an actual space flight experience onboard the XCOR Lynx, a two-seat spacecraft. XCOR Chief Test Pilot and former NASA Space Shuttle Commander Colonel Rick Searfoss will then pilot two separate missions onboard Lynx, one with the auction winner and one with John Corbett, to the edge of space.

The package also includes a pre-flight physical exam as part of the auction winner’s training, a video of the training day experience, a demonstration of a Lynx launch, two first class tickets to Los Angeles and deluxe hotel accommodations.

The XCOR Lynx flight will depart from a runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port north of Los Angeles, rocketing up to 200,000 feet in five minutes to suborbital space. Lynx will then go through several minutes of weightlessness and gently glide home, for a total time of about 35 minutes of flight.

Actor and country musician John Corbett is well-known for his role as Seth Holt in NBC’s hit dramedy Parenthood, and his self-titled debut country album, which climbed to number 42 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart.

“As an artist, I never for a second dreamed that I could make a living making music. And as a child who was inspired by the Apollo program, I would never have dreamed that the experience of space would be so close at hand–until Celebrity Fight Night connected me with XCOR. To be standing at the threshold of an actual space flight is almost more than I can imagine.”

Colonel Searfoss is both XCOR’s Chief Test Pilot and one of only 100 individuals to actually have commanded a Space Shuttle mission (STS-90). Over his career he has logged 939 hours in space, with 6,000 hours flying more than 79 types of aircraft.

Colonel Searfoss stated that XCOR Lynx is “all of the experiences I had flying the Shuttle, all those phases of flight: the boost, the weightlessness.” But the best part, he added, “is the fact that you’re up in a pilot seat, with me, as opposed to being in the back like a passenger on an airliner. It’s really a ‘Right Stuff’ experience. And I couldn’t be more excited to share the opportunity for this experience with John and Celebrity Fight Night.”

Celebrity Fight Night executive director Sean Currie added that CFN, “now in its twentieth year, could not be more excited to offer this once-in-a-lifetime package with XCOR and Colonel Searfoss. This is truly the experience of a lifetime and we are honored that John Corbett is the explorer who will take part in that journey.”

“Because XCOR Lynx is what Commander Searfoss calls a ‘Right Stuff’ experience, it is important to us to work with a celebrity who is not only moved by the idea of a Lynx flight, but also truly gets the vision of space exploration,” said XCOR representative Greg Claxton. “And all of this could not be for a better cause.”

Celebrity Fight Night’s luxury live auction items are one of the most anticipated aspects of the action-packed evening. The coveted auction items are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that cannot be bought or found elsewhere. The items often go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, helping Celebrity Fight Night contribute a significant amount of dollars to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute and other charities. Other auction items and packages previously announced include: dinner with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro; dinner with Reba McEntire in her Beverly Hills home; backstage dinner with Michael Bublé, a summer weekend with the Kennedys in Cape Cod; an all-inclusive getaway at a private lodge in British Columbia; a west coast trip on the Patron Tequila Express 1927 Vintage Rail Car; a four night stay with Richard Branson on his private British Virgin Islands Necker Island, for a Leadership Gathering, and more.

Joining Muhammad Ali for this special anniversary milestone will be memorable performances from Michael Bublé, The Band Perry and Kenny Rogers. During the gala, Bublé, entertainment icon Robert De Niro as well as philanthropist John Paul DeJoria will be honored with Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards. Billy Crystal will make a special introduction for De Niro; and Bobby Kennedy, Jr. will introduce DeJoria.

Over the past 19 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $87 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities.

Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $10,000 each and tables of 10 are priced from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, please call (602) 956-1121.

Celebrity Fight Night XX sponsors include USA Today Sports, Patrón, GoDaddy, PRO EM, XCOR Aerospace, ETIHAD Airlines and M Group Scenic Studios.

celebrity-fight-night

Buble, De Niro and More at Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most impactful charity events held each year in honor of featured guest Muhammad Ali, will mark its 20th anniversary on Saturday, April 12 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

Joining Ali for this special milestone will be memorable performances from Michael Bublé, The Band Perry and Kenny Rogers. A significant beneficiary of Celebrity Fight Night is the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, offering the most comprehensive Parkinson’s Center in the country.

International superstar Michael Bublé has won four Grammy Awards and multiple Juno Awards.  With four No.1 albums on the Billboard 200 topping the charts for five weeks, he has become an international favorite. Additionally, guests will have the chance to bid on a live auction package to enjoy a private dinner with Bublé.

The legendary Kenny Rogers, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. He has been voted “Favorite Singer of All Time” by USA Today and People. Rogers was the first musical performer ever at Celebrity Fight Night in 1996.

Joining Bublé and Rogers on the stage will be a high energy performance from Grammy®-Award winning country music group, The Band Perry; along with other surprise guests.

“We’re honored to have these stars join us for this special 20th anniversary of Celebrity Fight Night,” said Jimmy Walker, founder of Celebrity Fight Night and close friend of Ali. “Over the years, so many memorable moments have occurred and we look forward to what April 12th brings.”

During the gala, Bublé, entertainment icon Robert De Niro as well as philanthropist John Paul DeJoria will be honored with Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards. Billy Crystal will make a special introduction for De Niro; and Bobby Kennedy, Jr. will introduce DeJoria. These awards acknowledge leaders in the sports, business or entertainment community who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and have been instrumental in giving back to charity – key attributes Ali has long been known for.

Celebrity Fight Night premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities. Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.

“There are so many amazing moments that have taken place over the years,” said Sean Currie, executive director of Celebrity Fight Night. “One of my favorite memories was when Jim Carrey and Robin Williams did an impromptu comedic performance from their seats before the beginning of the show eight years ago. Of course who can forget when 300 women in the audience joined Kelly Clarkson during her closing song onstage; or the live auction package featuring dinner and concert with Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany that sold for $1.4 million. We look forward to a successful night of fundraising and more once-in-a-lifetime memories.”

Grammy® Award-winning leading lady of country music, Reba McEntire will also join featured guest Muhammad Ali at the star-studded gala. McEntire will return as the evening’s emcee for her ninth consecutive year. Also returning will be 16-time Grammy® Award-winning songwriter and producer, David Foster who will serve as Musical Director for his 15th year.

Over the past 19 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $87 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. At the personal request of Andrea Bocelli, Celebrity Fight Night is expanding globally. September 2014 will mark the first time the event will take place outside of Phoenix in Florence, Italy.

Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year in Phoenix for this celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. Previous guests have included Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Rascal Flatts, Jim Carrey, Larry King, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Randy Jackson, Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie, Bo Derek, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more.

Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $10,000 each and tables of 10 are priced from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, please call (602) 956-1121.

Celebrity Fight Night XX sponsors include USA Today Sports, Patrón, GoDaddy, PRO EM, and M Group Scenic Studios.

Ali

Leadership spotlight: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
Founder
Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center
thebarrow.org

In 1997, the former heavyweight boxing champion teamed up with philanthropist Jimmy Walker and Dr. Abraham Lieberman to combine clinical and research expertise with community support and emotional care and create the MAPC, a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence and an outstanding resource for people with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

Best advice to give: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

sanctuarypool

Sanctuary Receives 2013 'Stars of the Industry' Award

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, the country’s premier luxury resort, was recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) with a 2013 “Stars of the Industry” award during its Summer Summit in Denver, Colo. Sanctuary’s 2012 “Escape for GOOD” fundraiser, which raised $10 million benefiting Athletes for Hope and UGIVE, two nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and enabling voluntary service nationwide, was honored in the “Special Events, One-Time Only, Small-Property” category.

The invitation-only weekend event at Sanctuary, limited to 75 couples at a minimum donation of $50,000 each, offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences with sports industry celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Cris Collinsworth, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Muñoz, Paul O’Neill and Annika Sorenstam. Activities included tennis with Andre Agassi on Sanctuary’s championship tennis courts, a morning run through Paradise Valley with track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and a cook-off with culinary masters Todd English, Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, and Phoenix’s Mark Tarbell. The weekend concluded with an extravagant private dinner for Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Sanctuary’s scenic and tranquil atmosphere provided a perfect backdrop for discussions on social issues and education for America’s youth. The weekend sparked conversations that forged new partnerships between Google and the Gates Foundation, Andre Agassi and Unicef, as well as a new Sports for Development program in South Africa and Ethiopia.

sanctuarypool

Sanctuary Receives 2013 ‘Stars of the Industry’ Award

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, the country’s premier luxury resort, was recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) with a 2013 “Stars of the Industry” award during its Summer Summit in Denver, Colo. Sanctuary’s 2012 “Escape for GOOD” fundraiser, which raised $10 million benefiting Athletes for Hope and UGIVE, two nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and enabling voluntary service nationwide, was honored in the “Special Events, One-Time Only, Small-Property” category.

The invitation-only weekend event at Sanctuary, limited to 75 couples at a minimum donation of $50,000 each, offered once-in-a-lifetime experiences with sports industry celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Cris Collinsworth, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Muñoz, Paul O’Neill and Annika Sorenstam. Activities included tennis with Andre Agassi on Sanctuary’s championship tennis courts, a morning run through Paradise Valley with track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and a cook-off with culinary masters Todd English, Sanctuary’s own Executive Chef Beau MacMillan, and Phoenix’s Mark Tarbell. The weekend concluded with an extravagant private dinner for Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Sanctuary’s scenic and tranquil atmosphere provided a perfect backdrop for discussions on social issues and education for America’s youth. The weekend sparked conversations that forged new partnerships between Google and the Gates Foundation, Andre Agassi and Unicef, as well as a new Sports for Development program in South Africa and Ethiopia.

Jennifer-Lopez21

Celebrity Fight Night raises $7.2 million

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 stars and athletes from around the country converged on the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona for Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XIX. The evening opened with the singing of the National Anthem by the Phoenix Boys Choir in which a rare Bald Eagle was released into the room. GRAMMY Award winning leading lady of country music Reba McEntirereturned for her eighth year as emcee, kicking off the night by introducing a special performance by Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers. With Muhammad Ali on stage, international superstar Jennifer Lopez, actor and musician Steve Martin, and philanthropist and owner of the Washington Companies Dennis Washington, were honored with the 2013 Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards. The awards portion of the evening concluded with a special video tribute to Muhammad and Lonnie Ali from legendary musician Paul McCartney.

Following the awards guests were treated to a host of performances under the direction of the multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter and producer David Foster, who returned for his 14th consecutive year as the evening’s Musical Director. Performers included Billy Ray Cyrus who sang “Hillbilly Heart,” “Achy Breaky Heart,” and “Johnny B. Goode,” along with American Idol finalist Haley Reinhart who sang her rendition of “Bennie and The Jets.” Actress and musician Rita Wilson returned to the Celebrity Fight Night stage to perform “Personally,” followed by the winner of The X Factor, Tate Stevens, who sang “I Got This,” and “Power of a Love Song” for the crowd. Andrea Bocelli gave an unforgettable performance including songs “Ave Maria,” “Funiculì, Funiculà,” Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender,” “O sole mio,” “Con Te Partirò,” and a special duet of “Quizás Quizás Quizás” with Jennifer Lopez, marking the first time the duo have ever performed together. Jennifer Lopez closed out the evening with incredible performances of “Get Right,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Club Tropicana,” “Let’s Get Loud” and “On the Floor.”

The black tie event also featured cocktails, a silent auction, an elegant dinner and an exciting live auction featuring one-of-a-kind luxury items. The live auction featured a dinner with Reba McEntire at her Beverly Hills, CA home, with special guests Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and David Foster, which went for a total of $800,000 – two bidders paying $400,000 each. Tom Hanks also threw in two tickets to his upcoming Broadway show “Lucky Guy” plus a backstage meet and greet via phone to seal the bids. Also included in the auction was a week long trip to Tuscany plus a special VIP performance by Andrea Bocelli followed by a private dinner with the musician himself, which sold for $550,000. Celebrity Fight Night XIX raised a total of $7.2 million benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. Each year dozens of celebrity guests attend the event that has raised $87 million dollars in 19 years.

Additional celebrity guests included Billy Crystal, Yank Barry, Jerry Colangelo, Bo Derek, Keith Harkin, Evander Holyfield, Mannie Jackson, Michael Johns, Nancy Lieberman, Mario Lopez, Nick Lowery, Harvey Mackay, Joe Manganiello, Sam Moore, Frankie Muniz, Lute Olson, Chris Rich, Ralph Sampson, Kevin Sorbo, Verne Troyer, Kenny Williams and many more.

currie

First Job: Sean Currie

Sean Currie is the executive director of Celebrity Fight Night, an annual gala that raises money for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center (MAPC) at Barrow Neurological Institute.

What was your first job?
I was a promotions ball boy for the Phoenix Pride, a Major Indoor Soccer League professional team. I was only 15 years old and my dad had to drive me to and from the games at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

What did you learn from your first job?
I learned what it meant to be responsible and accountable for the way you present yourself to the public and to your employer. Be where you are supposed to be; when you are supposed to be there; and make a positive, lasting impression.

Do you remember the salary of your first job?
It is pretty easy to remember when your salary equals zero. For me, it was just a great opportunity to be in front of thousands of people having fun and creating smiles. It’s a lot of fun to run onto the field and have people begging you to throw a mini soccer ball to them.

What was your first job in your current industry?
My first job in the hospitality industry was a parking valet for a local valet company. After that, I worked as a valet and eventually a bellman at The Phoenician.

What lessons did you learn from those first jobs that still help you today?
I learned how to make every effort to exceed people’s expectations in everything I do. I have always prided myself on working for companies that strive for excellence in their service. That mindset has always stayed with me in my work ethic.

How did you end up working with Celebrity Fight Night?
I originally met the founder of Celebrity Fight Night when I was working at The Phoenician and I remember thinking he had an appealing job.  Coincidentally, a few years later when I was working in Deer Valley, Utah, I noticed he was looking for an unpaid intern. So, I left the highest paying job I had ever had to move back to Phoenix and work for no salary — full circle I guess. It worked out well, though, since I was the first employee ever hired by Celebrity Fight Night and have been the executive director for 15 years.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Although I’m proud to have nurtured meaningful relationships that go deeper than just a cordial hello, I must say it stirs up emotional joy within me to know we are improving numerous lives all the time with every dollar we raise.  I have led the charge on an annual event that people will always remember, while at the same time helping less fortunate people in need.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you like to be doing?
I would probably like to be a tour guide exploring the world’s most interesting locales. But, since my favorite travel partners are my wife and four children, I suppose I would have to start my own family travel business.

Jennifer Lopez

J-Lo will Perform at Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most significant charity events, announces that international superstar, Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to perform at Celebrity Fight Night XIX on Saturday, March 23 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The primary beneficiary is the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is the most comprehensive Parkinson’s Center in the country.

Lopez just wrapped her ‘Dance Again World Tour” performing to packed houses around the world.  The Golden Globe nominee will star opposite Jason Statham in a new film release, Parker, premiering Jan 25.   Music artist, entertainer, actress, film & TV producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Jennifer Lopez has been called one of the most powerful and celebrated celebrities in entertainment.   A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will go to the Lopez Family Foundation.  The organization is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and women around the world (www.LopezFamilyFoundation.org).

“We’re honored to have Jennifer Lopez give a special performance this year. Her generosity and humanitarian work align with the vision of Celebrity Fight Night and will inspire a successful night of fundraising for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other great causes,” said Jimmy Walker, founder and president of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation.

During the gala, Muhammad Ali will honor Jennifer Lopez with a Celebrity Fight Night Award. The Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards acknowledge leaders in the sports, business or entertainment community who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and have been instrumental in giving back to charity – key qualities associated with the Champ.

In addition to Jennifer Lopez’s performance, entertainment will include fellow Celebrity Fight Night Award honoree, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Crystal, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rita Wilson and much more. Grammy® Award-winning leading lady of country music, Reba McEntire will join featured guest Muhammad Ali at the star-studded gala. McEntire will return as the evening’s emcee for her eighth consecutive year. Also returning will be 16-time Grammy® Award-winning songwriter and producer, David Foster who will serve as Musical Director for his 14th year.

Celebrity Fight Night premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities. Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.

Over the past 18 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $80 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year for this celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. Previous guests have included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Rascal Flatts, Miley Cyrus, Jim Carrey, Larry King, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Randy Jackson, Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie, Bo Derek, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more.
Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $5,000 each, and tables of 10 range from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, please call 602-956-1121.

Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visit www.celebrityfightnight.org.

Jennifer Lopez

J-Lo will Perform at Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most significant charity events, announces that international superstar, Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to perform at Celebrity Fight Night XIX on Saturday, March 23 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The primary beneficiary is the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is the most comprehensive Parkinson’s Center in the country.

Lopez just wrapped her ‘Dance Again World Tour” performing to packed houses around the world.  The Golden Globe nominee will star opposite Jason Statham in a new film release, Parker, premiering Jan 25.   Music artist, entertainer, actress, film & TV producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Jennifer Lopez has been called one of the most powerful and celebrated celebrities in entertainment.   A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will go to the Lopez Family Foundation.  The organization is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and women around the world (www.LopezFamilyFoundation.org).

“We’re honored to have Jennifer Lopez give a special performance this year. Her generosity and humanitarian work align with the vision of Celebrity Fight Night and will inspire a successful night of fundraising for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other great causes,” said Jimmy Walker, founder and president of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation.

During the gala, Muhammad Ali will honor Jennifer Lopez with a Celebrity Fight Night Award. The Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards acknowledge leaders in the sports, business or entertainment community who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and have been instrumental in giving back to charity – key qualities associated with the Champ.
 
In addition to Jennifer Lopez’s performance, entertainment will include fellow Celebrity Fight Night Award honoree, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Crystal, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rita Wilson and much more. Grammy® Award-winning leading lady of country music, Reba McEntire will join featured guest Muhammad Ali at the star-studded gala. McEntire will return as the evening’s emcee for her eighth consecutive year.

Also returning will be 16-time Grammy® Award-winning songwriter and producer, David Foster who will serve as Musical Director for his 14th year.

Celebrity Fight Night premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities.

Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.
 
Over the past 18 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $80 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year for this celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. Previous guests have included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Rascal Flatts, Miley Cyrus, Jim Carrey, Larry King, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Randy Jackson, Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie, Bo Derek, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more.

Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $5,000 each, and tables of 10 range from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, please call 602-956-1121.
 
Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visit www.celebrityfightnight.org.

Jennifer Lopez

J-Lo will Perform at Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s most significant charity events, announces that international superstar, Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to perform at Celebrity Fight Night XIX on Saturday, March 23 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The primary beneficiary is the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is the most comprehensive Parkinson’s Center in the country.

Lopez just wrapped her ‘Dance Again World Tour” performing to packed houses around the world.  The Golden Globe nominee will star opposite Jason Statham in a new film release, Parker, premiering Jan 25.   Music artist, entertainer, actress, film & TV producer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and humanitarian, Jennifer Lopez has been called one of the most powerful and celebrated celebrities in entertainment.   A portion of the proceeds from the charity event will go to the Lopez Family Foundation.  The organization is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and women around the world (www.LopezFamilyFoundation.org).

“We’re honored to have Jennifer Lopez give a special performance this year. Her generosity and humanitarian work align with the vision of Celebrity Fight Night and will inspire a successful night of fundraising for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other great causes,” said Jimmy Walker, founder and president of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation.

During the gala, Muhammad Ali will honor Jennifer Lopez with a Celebrity Fight Night Award. The Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards acknowledge leaders in the sports, business or entertainment community who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and have been instrumental in giving back to charity – key qualities associated with the Champ.

In addition to Jennifer Lopez’s performance, entertainment will include fellow Celebrity Fight Night Award honoree, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Billy Crystal, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rita Wilson and much more. Grammy® Award-winning leading lady of country music, Reba McEntire will join featured guest Muhammad Ali at the star-studded gala. McEntire will return as the evening’s emcee for her eighth consecutive year. Also returning will be 16-time Grammy® Award-winning songwriter and producer, David Foster who will serve as Musical Director for his 14th year.

Celebrity Fight Night premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities. Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.

Over the past 18 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $80 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year for this celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. Previous guests have included Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Rascal Flatts, Miley Cyrus, Jim Carrey, Larry King, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Randy Jackson, Sharon Stone, Lionel Richie, Bo Derek, Rod Stewart, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Forest Whitaker, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more.

Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $5,000 each, and tables of 10 range from $15,000 to $100,000 each. For reservations, please call 602-956-1121.

About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker to support the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visit www.celebrityfightnight.org.

celebrity fight night - business man with boxing gloves

Celebrity Fight Night Foundation Adds Three New Board Members

Celebrity Fight Night, one of the nation’s premier charity events, today announced three new additions to its Board of Directors: Mark Cavanaugh, Jon Hunter, and Hope Leibsohn. These are the first additions to the board since 2004.

Cavanaugh, Sr. Vice President and CFO of Firetrace USA, has supported Celebrity Fight Night throughout the years. He and his business partner, Bill Eckholm continue to be Celebrity Fight Night Founders Club members and premier table sponsors.

Hunter is the Sr. Vice President and General Manager of North American Sales for CA Technologies. CA Technologies has been a prominent sponsor for Celebrity Fight Night for many years and has been instrumental in the organization’s success.

Leibsohn, a prominent estate planning attorney with Sherman & Howard, will bring a welcome perspective to the board as a successful businesswoman in the community.

“These three community leaders have demonstrated dedication and passion to our cause over the years,” said Jimmy Walker, Chairman and CEO of Celebrity Fight Night. “We’re pleased to have them join the Celebrity Fight Night board.”

Cavanaugh, Hunter and Leibsohn will join the seven existing board members: Jerry Colangelo, Lee Hanley, Dale Jensen, John Langbein, Harvey Mackay and Nancy and Jimmy Walker.

Celebrity Fight Night premiered in the Valley in 1994 when local celebrities donned oversized boxing gloves for a comedic fight in the ring before 400 attendees. Today, more than 1,200 guests attend the annual event to accompany Muhammad Ali and other A-List celebrities. Celebrity Fight Night no longer features celebrity boxing, but by attending the event and bidding on live and silent auction items, each guest does their part to join Ali in winning the fight for charities.

Over the past 18 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised $80 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and other charities. Celebrities and professional athletes from around the U.S. join Muhammad Ali each year for this celebrity-filled night complete with live auction items and musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars. Previous guests include Reba McEntire, David Foster, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Billy Crystal, Kevin Costner, Matchbox Twenty, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, Jon Bon Jovi, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Donald Trump, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, Larry Fitzgerald, Kurt Warner, Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Tony Hawk, John Mellencamp, Chris Tucker, Larry King, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicklaus and many more.

In 2013, Celebrity Fight Night will be held on March 23 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. Individual tickets range from $1,500 to $5,000 each. For reservations or additional information, please call 602-956-1121.

For more information on Celebrity Fight Night, visit their’s website at celebrityfightnight.org.

Celebrity Fight Night

Celebrity Fight Night XVIII Raises $9 Million [PHOTOS]

This past weekend, friends gathered and bars of “Happy Birthday” were sung by many, including actor Kevin Sorbo and Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort where celebrity guests gathered for a special event — Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday celebration and Celebrity Fight Night XVIII.

“This is a great place and great organization,” said actress Melissa Peterman. “There’s a powerhouse of people, and they’re here because of Muhammad and the cause — they love what this cause does.”

Celebrity Fight Night, held on Saturday, March 24, featured live auctions and entertainment to help raise donations for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, along with many notable, smaller charities. One generous donation was made by Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy.com, of $1 million.

The live auction featured items such as dinner at Reba McEntire’s Beverly Hills, Calif. home, which included special guests Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson; this went for $1.8 million — three bidders paid $600,000 each for a chance to dine with the superstars. Another item that sold for $1.4 million was a vacation in Tuscany and dinner with Andrea Bocelli. Celebrity Fight Night XVIII raised a total of $9.1 million; the event has raised nearly $80 million dollars in 18 years.

“At this event, good people are doing great things,” said Sorbo. “I’m thrilled to be here, and I will keep coming back.”

Miley Cyrus, Lionel Richie, Rascal Flatts, Rita Wilson, John Corbett, Sinbad and Jackie Evancho all performed under the direction of David Foster. And Mauro Castano of the popular TLC television show “Cake Boss” provided the birthday cake.

While some of the guests have been attending for years on end — including Bo Derek, who said this was her 12th year attending Celebrity Fight Night; and Frankie Muniz, who said this was his fourth year — this was also a year of firsts for a few guests, including Castano and Hanks and Wilson, who made surprise appearances that night.

“I really had no idea how great this would be,” said actress and model Bo Derek. “Thinking I had been to so many of these events in big cities, this one blew me away. I think the support from the community and the love, heart and soul — it’s really unique.”

But everyone made it clear on the red carpet that night the importance of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation and giving back, especially to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. For Nancy Lieberman, former professional basketball player, she emphasized the importance of the research that will go into finding the cure for Parkinson’s. Hanks said it has always been about awareness and commitment and being able to contribute and help out in any way one can.

“There’s no reason not to be here,” said Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder. He added that, in the future, he hopes for the foundation to be “more prolific and better than ever” as well as for it to grow to more cities.


View photos from the Celebrity Fight Night XVIII red carpet:

[slickr-flickr tag="celebrityfightnight" items="51" type="sets" id="54004193@N04"]

Photos by Cory Bergquist

For more information about the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, visit celebrityfightnight.org.

Celebrity Fight Night

Awards, Auctions And Celebrations In Store For Celebrity Fight Night 2012

It is one of the nation’s most notable charities, raising nearly $70 million in 17 years, and this year’s nonprofit Celebrity Fight Night will be a particularly special, black-tie event — it’s Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.

Muhammad Ali, Celebrity Fight NightOriginated in 1994 by long-time Arizona resident, Jimmy Walker, the event featured local celebrities who donned oversized boxing gloves and entered the ring for a friendly match of boxing in efforts to raise money for local charities.

Two years later, boxing legend Muhammad Ali became involved in the event. Since then, Celebrity Fight Night has traded celebrity duke outs for live auctions and big name entertainment to help raise donations for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, along with many notable smaller charities.

With the annual event set to commence for its 18th year on Saturday, March 24, seven-time returning emcee, Reba McEntire; 13-time returning musical director, David Foster; and live performances from Rascal Flatts, Lionel Richie, Miley Cyrus and many more, will help to celebrate Ali’s 70th birthday and raise yet another astonishing amount of charitable donations.

As expectations for the evening are set high, Executive Director Sean Currie describes his involvement with the foundation, “as a blessing to be able to donate.” Marking his 15th consecutive year with Celebrity Fight Night, Currie adds, “going from a 400-person event to a 1,200 person event and raising millions of dollars has been an amazing experience.”

Reba McEntire, emcee, Celebrity Fight NightWith the audience comprised of well-known celebrities, Currie notes that, “this year, unlike many years in the past has been incredible in the amount of seats we have sold, but not just that, the high-priced seats in the front were the ones that went first, which is something we haven’t seen in years past.”

Those lucky attendees will enjoy a night filled with live entertainment and live and silent auctions on items you normally wouldn’t be able to get your hands on. As Currie gave light to a possible duet with Lionel Richie and Rascal Flatts, the evening will honor this year’s 2012 Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Award winners — Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals; Bill Austin, CEO and founder of Starkey Labs; and Diane and Bruce Halle, philanthropists and founders of Discount Tire.

“[These] are good people with strong characters that represent what Muhammad stands for,” Currie says. “Each honoree makes the world a better place through their charities and what they do in their specific field.”

In attempts to create an event unlike those in the past, Currie looks forward to the celebration of Ali’s 70th birthday the most.

“I’m excited for seeing Muhammad Ali excited for everyone to sing him happy birthday,” Currie says. “When you see his eyes light up and a smile come across his face that you don’t get to see as much anymore, it really warms your heart to see that you made a difference in his life and the opportunity to give back to many people.”

For more information about the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, visit celebrityfightnight.org.

Visit Celebrity Fight Night Foundation’s website for a complete list auction items.

Celebrity Fight Night

Nonprofits And Corporations Continue To Work Together As The Economy Falters

Ravaged by the effects of a devastating disease, boxing legend Muhammad Ali can still draw a crowd. Fans who remember the former heavyweight boxing champ in his prime as the handsome, graceful pugilist with the mile-a-minute mouth, still flock to catch a glimpse of this now frail man.

That’s helped turn the annual Celebrity Fight Night into one of the most successful charity events in the Valley. The creation of Jimmy Walker, president of Walker Financial, an estate planning and wealth management firm, Celebrity Fight Night has raised millions for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Celebrity Fight Night is a perfect example of where corporations and philanthropy intersect. However, that intersection is now threatened.

Corporate philanthropy pumps millions of dollars into Arizona nonprofits every year, but there is concern that a troubled economy will result in some restraints on giving.

Cutbacks could occur, even though businesses see philanthropy as a win-win: Organizations that benefit from corporate generosity are able to continue to do all the good things they do, and at the same time, corporations reap the benefits of good PR. They are seen as good citizens giving back to the community. Of course, tax write-offs generally enter into the philanthropic picture.

Even though corporate donations that support myriad causes are estimated at about 20 percent of the total, with individuals giving by far the lion’s share of philanthropic dollars, nonprofits agree that they couldn’t survive without corporate help. Which means it will be up to nonprofits to be more creative and innovative in telling their story.

Robin Dunn, CEO of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Arizona and president-elect of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Arizona Chapter, cannot emphasize enough the importance of corporate philanthropy.

“We have a lot of corporate alliances,” Dunn says. “Our brand is one that companies like to use for cause-related marketing. As a result, quite a bit of income comes from corporate philanthropy.”

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to grant the desires of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

“It lets the community know that a company is helping a charity, which ultimately helps the company,” Dunn says. “We could not do what we do without corporate philanthropy.”

Despite that, Dunn says cutbacks in giving are a distinct possibility.

“I think it’s obvious to think people are being more frugal and maybe a little more tentative,” she says. “I think it’s too soon to say whether that’s going to impact overall giving, but I think there’ll be some impact.”

Patricia Lewis, senior professional in residence at the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation at Arizona State University, expects a slowdown in corporate philanthropy.

“So much of our community is tied up with the financial markets, so it’s bound to have an impact. I think we are already beginning tosee a decline in support for nonprofit events and activities,” says Lewis, who is a former president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “That includes direct support, as well as support in buying a table at an event. The economy is having an impactful trickle-down effect.”

Perhaps the fundraiser with the most star power is Celebrity Fight Night. Since its inception in 1994, it has raised more than $52 million, primarily for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the Barrow Neurological Institute. Sean Currie, executive director of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, says the event last spring pulled in $6.5 million.

Ali clearly is the draw. Entertainers, including Celine Dione, Garth Brooks, Diana Ross and Rod Stewart, are among those who have performed at the fundraiser. Some 50 to 60 celebrities attend each year.