In celebration of the Lindt Gold Bunny, the bunny that gives back, premium Swiss chocolatier Lindt is kicking off Easter one month early with the 2012 Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction.

During the weekend, autism advocate Holly Robinson-Peete joined representatives from Lindt and Autism Speaks in New York to officially open the bidding and to honor the 60th anniversary of this iconic product. Through March 18, 2012, fans will be able to bid on any of the 75 celebrity-autographed, porcelain Lindt Gold Bunny figures by visiting LindtGoldBunnyAuction.com – with 100 percent of auction proceeds benefitting Autism Speaks.

“It is an honor to help launch the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction,” said Peete. “As the parent of a child with autism, I’ve dedicated my life to helping families navigate the journey through autism and erase the stigma of the disorder. Giving friends and family a Lindt Gold Bunny is just another fun and impactful way to make a difference.”

Also teaming up with Lindt and Peete for the auction, which will run from March 8 – March 18, 2012 on LindtGoldBunnyAuction.com, are 75 celebrities who have lent their signatures to raise funds for the cause, including Harrison Ford, Lance Armstrong, Katherine Heigl, Carrie Ann Inaba, Kristin Chenoweth, Brooke Burke, Mario Batali, Toni Braxton, Kenny Chesney, Lauren Conrad, Billy Crystal, Roger Federer, Fergie, Betty White, Carrie Underwood, Tim Tebow, Donald Trump, Barbra Streisand, Martha Stewart, Paul Simon, Gordon Ramsay, Al Roker, Joan Rivers, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner, Ricky Gervais, Tony Hawk, Hugh Hefner, David Letterman and many more.

“We at Lindt USA are honored to partner with Holly Robinson Peete to kick off the Easter season with the 2012 LINDT GOLD BUNNY Celebrity Auction and to celebrate the 60th anniversary of LINDT GOLD BUNNY,” said Thomas Linemayr, president and CEO of Lindt USA. “We are inspired by her dedication to the autism cause and are grateful for the support from the 75 celebrities participating in this year’s auction.”

The LINDT GOLD BUNNY Celebrity Auction is just one way Lindt is commemorating the 60th anniversary of its iconic product. Lindt will support Autism Speaks again this Easter with a 10 cent donation from all LINDT GOLD BUNNY purchases, a $2 donation from all Lindt Easter basket purchases, and a $1 donation for every free e-card sent from LindtGoldBunny.com. New in 2012, Lindt will also donate up to $10,000 for consumers who use Pinterest to express their Easter traditions.

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