On Thursday, May 10, Arsenal Football Club hosted its Annual Charity Ball, which in the Club’s 125th year celebrated the launch of The Arsenal Foundation. The event raised over £250,000 which will help to deliver even more Arsenal projects to motivate and inspire young people.
The Club’s flagship fundraising event saw the Arsenal manager and first team come together at Emirates Stadium with a host of special guests to help raise funds and celebrate the work undertaken in the Arsenal community and its support for charitable causes.
The fundraising extravaganza saw a live performance from chart-toppers Rizzle Kicks and a menu of fine food designed by Raymond Blanc who also attended the event. Sotheby’s auctioneer, Philip Hook, led a live grand auction with a private dinner with Arsène Wenger fetching £20,000, while a signed boot from Gunners legend Thierry Henry went to the highest bidder, Robin van Persie, for £13,000.
A silent auction also attracted some competitive bidding among the Arsenal squad with Yossi Benayoun splashing out £5,000 for the signed shirt that Robin van Persie wore when he scored his 100th goal for the Club. The Gunners captain himself snapped up a signed pair of Mo Farah’s Arsenal-themed Nike running spikes, while Per Mertesacker also supported the cause by successfully bidding for a VIP trip to a local wildlife park!
To complete an outstanding evening of generosity, manager Arsène Wenger pledged £25,000 and each member of the first-team squad a further £1,000, to help fund the creation of two emergency classrooms for Arsenal’s global charity partner, Save the Children.
These classrooms will help to provide essential resources and meet children’s educational needs in areas affected by natural disaster, providing a safe learning environment for as many as 200 children over a period of six months.
To complete a truly memorable evening, renowned DJ, Judge Jules, performed a set in Emirates Stadium’s exclusive WM Club.
Ivan Gazidis, CEO Arsenal Football Club, said: “The launch of The Arsenal Foundation in this, our 125th season, made this year’s event extra special. The generosity shown by our supporters, players, manager and staff meant we raised more money than our wildest expectations. It underlines Arsenal's sense of community and will help us to make a huge difference to the lives of young people both here in the UK and overseas.”
Fergus Drake, Director of UK Programmes, Save the Children, said: “We were incredibly proud to be a part of the Arsenal Charity Ball. It was an amazing evening of entertainment and celebration which most importantly raised a fantastic amount to support Save the Children and the Arsenal Foundation’s joint aims to help children fulfil their potential through education. It was humbling to see the generosity of Arsenal’s players, Manager and supporters alike throughout the evening, particularly in their support of Save the Children’s vital education work in emergencies.”
As a grant-making charity, The Arsenal Foundation will focus largely on education and sport programmes to help young people reach their potential and be the best they can. The diverse work of Arsenal in the Community and the Club’s global partnership with Save the Children will be supported by The Foundation to grow the reach and help even more young people globally.
Arsenal Football Club has a long history of helping others through charitable partnerships and of using the power of the Arsenal name to positively engage its community in a meaningful way. The Arsenal Foundation will ensure that the Club’s long legacy of helping young people continues for many more years to come.”
Click on the PLAY button to watch our Charity Ball video featureCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 May 2012