CLAYTON KERSHAW’S 4TH ANNUAL PING PONG 4 PURPOSE CELEBRITY TOURNAMENT
HONORS DENNIS GILBERT;
EVENT AT DODGER STADIUM RAISES OVER $500,000 FOR KERSHAW’S CHALLENGE
LOS ANGELES, CA (AUGUST 11, 2016) – Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw hosted the Fourth Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose celebrity ping pong tournament tonight, Thursday, August 11 at Dodger Stadium. The event raised over $500,000 for Kershaw’s Challenge, launched by Clayton and his wife Ellen in 2011 to challenge and encourage people to utilize their individual passions and talents for the betterment of others. They currently partner with a host of local, national and international philanthropic organizations. Ann Higginbottom is Executive Director. The evening honored Dennis Gilbert with the inaugural KERSHAW’S CHALLENGE IMPACT AWARD. Gilbert is founder of The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, former super-agent, sole benefactor of the Dennis Gilbert baseball field in South Central, LA and a nationally recognized life insurance agent.
Co-host Will Ferrell welcomed the more than 500 guests to an evening of “food, fellowship and ping pong” and highlighted the night’s two Kershaw’s Challenge beneficiaries, The Dream Center of Los Angeles and CURE International in the Dominican Republic. Dream Center LA provides transitional housing that takes homeless families off the streets and allows them to rebuild. Kershaw’s Challenge also supports their annual Back to School bash, donating back packs and school supplies. For CURE International, Kershaw’s Challenge supports a child focused hospital, providing surgeries for the underprivileged as well as contributing to capital improvements and new programs.
Ferrell was joined on stage by Kershaw’s Challenge founders, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw. Noted Ellen Kershaw, “Kershaw’s Challenge has one main heartbeat, to make life better for vulnerable and at-risk children worldwide. We are praying that 2016 is a record-breaking year for the number of lives touched and the number of children who receive hope, thanks to the benevolence of others.”
In presenting the evening’s inaugural Kershaw’s Challenge Impact Award to Dennis Gilbert, Clayton Kershaw recognized the honoree “for his extraordinary commitment to helping vulnerable children through sports and the game of baseball and for sharing our vision of improving the lives of those in need.” Among his many philanthropic contributions, each year Gilbert buys and donates 1,000 Dodger tickets to underprivileged youngsters from South Central Los Angeles.
Actress, ping pong social club SPiN Co-Founder and the evening’s Honorary Chair Susan Sarandon expressed her gratitude for inviting SPiN to partner with Kershaw’s Challenge, noting “Giving back and ping pong…who could ask for anything more!” She offered a special thanks to sponsor Stiga for donating 12 of the ping pong tables used and valued at over $36,000 to local community centers and schools thanks to the Dodgers Community Outreach programs. These include: Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, Sotomayor Learning Academies, Salvation Army Red Shield Youth and Community Center and five elementary schools.
SPiN Creative Director and the evening’s MC Matheiu Forget was on hand to explain the rules of play to the 60 celebrity, sports and VIP players which featured a single elimination tournament. Taking home top honors were Mike Singer and Steve Kunimoto.
The jam-packed night also featured food, drink, live music by Half the Animal (Chase Johnson, Nick Gross, Evan Smith, Alex Asch), a DJ and giveaways. A silent auction included such one-of-a-kind collectables as an official game-worn Clayton Kershaw jersey, a duel signed photo of Magic Johnson and Muhammad Ali and a framed photo of Sandy Koufax from his first career win, being congratulated by Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella, including autographs by all four of the Dodger Hall of Famers.
An online auction, produced by Harlan Werner and Sports Placement Service and Art of the Game, also benefitting Kershaw’s Challenge was launched July 28 at MLB.com/auctions. Among the one-of-a-kind items featured were: a vintage 1960’s microphone, signed by Vin Scully and framed in a shadow box; Mike Trout signed, game-used jersey; Corey Seager signed, game-used home jersey and a third base used during the 7th through 9th innings of Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter, signed and dated June 18, 2014.
The organization also partnered with Crowdrise, offering fans a chance to win a spot in the tournament. The lucky winner was Kelsie Wright, a self-proclaimed “diehard Dodgers fan” who counts Clayton Kershaw as her favorite player. Introduced to the team as a child by her late grandfather, she admits that her family regularly makes the four-hour drive from their home in San Luis Obispo to attend home games.
Additional guests in attendance included: Eric Stonestreet, Orel Hershiser, Claire Holt, Troy Garity, Mario Lopez, Derek Hough, Brian Baumgartner, Jerry Ferrara, Justin Hartley, Emily Osment, Ben Lyons, Diplo, Benjamin and Matthew Royer, Tank, Malin Pettersson (14 Time Swedish Ping-Pong Champion), Soo Yeon Lee, Luke “The Dingo” Trembath, Tyler Toffoli (LA Kings), Anze Kopitar (LA Kings), Austin Rivers (LA Clippers), Nomar Garciaparra, Mia Hamm, Brooks Laich (NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs), Dodgers Chairman and Owner Mark Walter and Dodgers teammates Kike Hernandez, Chris Hatcher, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, Justin Turner, Rob Segedin, Scott Van Syke, Joc Pederson, Jesse Chavez, Howie Kendrick, Aj Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez.
Southern California Acura Dealers served as the presenting sponsor with additional sponsors and partners including Milky Agency; Find Your Grind Foundation; SPiN – A Ping Pong Social Club (http://wearespin.com/) and Stiga. Additional Sponsors and Partners included: Los Angeles Dodgers, Goldman Sachs, Security Benefit, Under Armour, Knowledge Society, Budweiser, Johnnie Walker, Surfair, Los Angeles magazine, Time Warner Cable Sports, Papa John’s Pizza, Diageo, Classic Party Rentals, TopSpin, Art Of The Game, Excel Sports Management, Summer Steinfeld Jewelry, Lindsey Meyer Art, Sprinkles, Hidden Garden Flowers, Montage Beverly Hills, Unity Jets, SJM Industrial Radio, Sweet E’s, Hawaiian Springs, Crowdrise, Charitybuzz, The Vanity Project and Time Machine.
ABOUT KERSHAW’S CHALLENGE
Ellen and Clayton Kershaw founded Kershaw’s Challenge in 2011 to challenge and encourage people to use whatever passion, purpose or talent they have been given to make an impact on the lives of others in need. Ann Higginbottom is Executive Director. The charity partners with organizations both locally and abroad who are on the front lines of change in the lives of vulnerable and at-risk children. In the United States, Kershaw’s Challenge seeks to foster strong connections in the Los Angeles and Dallas communities, working with beneficiaries who do transforming work in foster care, community development and family outreach and welfare. The work of the charity also reaches across seas to have impact abroad. Specifically, Kershaw’s Challenge works closely with an organization in Zambia supporting two children’s homes and community schools. In the Dominican Republic, the work of the charity covers pediatric surgeries and supports capital improvement campaigns in a local, non-profit hospital. www.kershawschallenge.com