By Delinda Lombardo on
The 12th Annual Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children Benefit Concert presented by Genworth Financial proved to be a raging success last weekend, raising more than $9 million for the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. The AACF raised $8.1 million through ticket sales and a silent auction, while Charles Heers, owner of Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas pledged an additional $1 million to bring the total to $9.1 million.
“I am grateful that there are so many people dedicated to helping kids,” Agassi said. “I’m thrilled with the turnout from the public, the generosity of our sponsors, donors and bidders, and the commitment and talent of the performers who so graciously give their time to the Grand Slam. It was one of the greatest nights of the year.”
The star-studded concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 6th attracted more than 8,200 fans who enjoyed live music by Tony Bennett, Kelly Clarkson, Matchbox Twenty and George Wallace. Several surprises throughout the night included performances by Jerry Seinfeld, the Goo Goo Dolls and Hall & Oates. Fans were also treated to a fantastic performance from Carlos Santana and Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas, who teamed up to close the evening with their multi-Grammy Award- winning hit “Smooth.”
A pre-concert reception and live auction was held for VIP sponsors, who bid on a variety of items including a Porsche Cayenne from the Sopranos signed by James Gandolfini and Edie Falco; Robin Williams' movie premiere and after-party; an in-home food and wine pairing for 12 with Emeril Lagasse; an evening at a Six Flags park for 500 friends; and vacation packages such as a Costa Rican getaway with private tennis lessons from Agassi and Stefanie Graf.
The two most noteworthy auction items were the Porsche Cayenne and a Dale Chihuly chandelier. The 2005 Porsche Cayenne SUV, which was plucked from the set of the Sopranos, fetched $100,000. The vehicle once driven by ‘Carmela Soprano’ boasts a 4.5-liter V8 engine, as well as a 350-watt, 14-speaker Bose stereo and only has 6,758 miles on it. Richard and Theresa Beauchamp from Steamboat Springs, Colorado placed the winning bid for $90,000, but auctioneer Jack Williams added $10,000 of his own money to bring the total price to $100,000. The Beauchamps’ new ride comes complete with a bronze plaque bearing the signatures of Sopranos stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco.
Perhaps earning the highest bid of the night was the Mercato del Pesce di Rialto Chandelier, sculpted by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly created the chandelier during his two years of work in Finland, Ireland, Mexico and Italy, where the chandelier was then suspended over the canals and piazzas of Venice. The historical piece is six feet wide and six feet tall and is composed of approximately 126 glass elements. Final bid: $250,000.
Since its inception in 1994, the Grand Slam for Children concert fundraiser to benefit the AACF has raised more than $70 million for charity. Specific charities benefiting from the AACF fundraiser include the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a model charter school in West Las Vegas; Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club; Assistance League of Las Vegas’ Operation School Bell; Boys Hope/Girls Hope of Nevada; Child Haven; Cynthia Bunker and Joy McClenahan Memorial Scholarship Fund; I Have A Dream Foundation; Greater Las Vegas After-School All-Stars presented by Inner-City Games; Las Vegas Philharmonic’s Youth Concert Series; Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp; and YMCA of Southern Nevada.
The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation is a 501©(3) not-for-profit public charity created to provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk boys and girls. The Foundation strives to assist those underprivileged, abused and abandoned children who may be deprived of basic options in life. The AACF also offers a combination of emotional, physical and academic programs designed to enhance a child’s character, self-esteem and career possibilities. For information, visit http://www.agassifoundation.org.
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