The 16th So The World May Hear Awards Gala took place at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in Saint Paul, Minn. on Sunday, July 17

The annual event reflects the international, national, and local advancements made possible by the generosity of gala guests and partners of Starkey Hearing Foundation. This year marked a historic milestone with the opening of the Starkey Hearing Institute in Zambia, a simple, sustainable, and scalable WFA community-based hearing health care model developed by William F. Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation and global humanitarian. At the Starkey Hearing Institute, students are equipped with academic rigor, resources, and tools to advance hearing health care services.

In 2016, Starkey Hearing Foundation also expanded international missions with ongoing services and self-empowerment tools. Hear Now program is on track for a 15 percent increase over 2015 to provide more hearing devices to those in need domestically. For Minnesota, gala proceeds support grants for local and regional nonprofits.

Award honorees included Jennifer Garner, award-winning actress and advocate for early childhood education. As trustee for Save the Children, Garner has traveled the country to learn firsthand how these programs impact children and families in need and has advocated to policymakers and government officials at every level. Local humanitarian, Paula F. Goldberg, executive director and co-founder of PACER, was also celebrated for making PACER a lifeline for parents of children and young adults with all disabilities.

In Starkey tradition, this year’s gala featured a stellar line-up of special guests and entertainers including comedian Jay Leno; Hollywood Vampires Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp; singer-songwriter John Mellencamp; former British prime minister Tony Blair, country duo Maddie & Tae; The Tenors; American Idol winner Trent Harmon; and more.

“Starkey Hearing Foundation consistently grows and improves its mission to help more people reach their full potential and create a future filled with possibilities,” said William F. Austin. “We share the common belief with our honorees that we can change the world for the better.”

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