Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is pleased to announce that California Governor Gavin Newsom, will serve as Honorary Chair, alongside Steve Hearst, for the 16th Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola.

This year, Carl Guardino, one of Silicon Valley’s most distinguished business and community leaders and longtime Best Buddies supporter, will serve as the 2019 Event Chair. More than 2,000 people are expected to participate in the Challenge – a charity ride to benefit Best Buddies International – on September 7 from Carmel to San Simeon, along California’s majestic Pacific Coast Highway.

Both Honorary Co-Chairs embody the true spirit of Best Buddies and deeply believe in the power of inclusion and meaningful employment to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Governor Gavin Newsom is a dedicated public servant and loyal friend to Best Buddies who deeply believes in self-advocacy and gainful employment for those within the IDD community. During his tenure as Mayor of San Francisco, Newsom hired an individual with IDD to work in his office and in December 2018, he reappointed Best Buddies Jobs participant John Masterson, who has worked in the Office of the Governor of California for 12 years.

“It’s a privilege to serve as Honorary Co-Chair of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle for the ninth year. Best Buddies’ dedication to making our schools, workplaces, and communities more inclusive for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities is inspiring to all Californians,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “The amazing work of Best Buddies is an example of how we all benefit when society provides opportunities to those who are often overlooked or forgotten. It is an honor to showcase and support their mission.”

“I take great pride and pleasure in welcoming the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola back to Hearst Ranch and I am honored to serve as the Honorary Co-Chair for this year’s festivities, said Steve Hearst. “The Hearst Corporation and I maintain an overwhelming sense of community as we welcome Best Buddies to the Ranch again this year. We greatly enjoy our partnership with Best Buddies International and we salute and celebrate all of their milestones and achievements. Best Buddies International’s global volunteer efforts exemplify humanity, unity and dignity, making a positive difference in communities around the world, embodying the true meaning of the word Friendship. I am pleased that year after year, the Ranch has proven to be the perfect venue for this spectacular event. Let’s make this the best and most successful year yet.”

The Challenge kicks-off with the Official Opening Ceremony of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola on Friday, September 6 at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club in Carmel, CA. Participants, VIPs, sponsors and guests are invited to attend Opening Ceremonies, which will include musical performances and a program hosted by Best Buddies International Founder, Chairman & CEO Anthony K. Shriver, and Journalist/Author Maria Shriver, designed to celebrate Best Buddies programs and key supporters. During the event, Best Buddies will honor Donna Lucas, Chief Executive Officer and President of Lucas Public Affairs, with the 2019 Spirit of Friendship Award. This is Best Buddies’ highest accolade presented to individuals who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the Best Buddies mission of one-to-one friendship, integrated employment and leadership development for people with IDD.

On Saturday, September 7, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club for the 100-mile ride down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to San Simeon for a world class 100, 60, 30, and 15-mile ride, as well as 5K running and walking options. Cyclists will make their way through the course, until they arrive at the Finish Line Village at the picturesque Hearst Castle Beach Club. Open to all ages and athletic abilities, participants and supporters ride, run or walk side-by-side with celebrities, professional athletes and notable guests.

The Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola will be capped off with a gourmet barbeque, awards ceremony and live musical concert by KC and The Sunshine Band.

Challenge sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor, Pepsi-Cola, Official Beverage of Best Buddies Challenges; Hearst; Hublot; Chevron Corporation; Abaco Wines & Wine Bar; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Silicon Valley Bank; Capital Dynamics; Carnival Cruise Line; First Solar; Paramount Pictures; Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; Testa Catering, Official Caterer of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle; BMC Switzerland, Official Bike Sponsor; and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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