Navy SEAL Foundation Benefit Dinner in NYC Honors Blackstone & Gates - Raises Record Breaking $9.3M

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An estimated 1,900 patriots gathered at the Hilton New York on March 3rd for the eighth Navy SEAL Foundation New York City Benefit Dinner to recognize the courage, commitment and sacrifice of U.S. Navy SEALs, the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community and their families. The event raised a record-shattering $9.3 million dollars.

"The success of our fundraising efforts is a direct reflection of the support the American people have for the U.S. Navy SEALs, Naval Special Warfare support personnel and their families. It means there are people out there that care about the sacrifice

An estimated 1,900 patriots gathered at the Hilton New York on March 3rd for the eighth Navy SEAL Foundation New York City Benefit Dinner to recognize the courage, commitment and sacrifice of U.S. Navy SEALs, the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community and their families. The event raised a record-shattering $9.3 million dollars.

Blackstone was chosen to be this year's Patriot Award honoree for their ambitious commitment to hire 50,000 veterans in five years. "Blackstone organized surgically to be successful, and they audaciously executed to be on a path to exceed their goals. We are extraordinarily appreciative of Blackstone's generosity and leadership under Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman," said Rear Admiral (SEAL) Garry J. Bonelli, Chairman of the Navy SEAL Foundation. Vice Admiral (SEAL) Sean A. Pybus, Deputy Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the NSW community's most senior Active Duty SEAL, presented Mr. Schwarzman with the 2016 Navy SEAL Patriot Award.

The second honor, the "Fire In The Gut" Award, honors an individual or organization that demonstrates superior dedication, leadership and perseverance in rising to the top of their profession or accomplishing an extraordinary deed. This year, the award was given to The Honorable Robert M. Gates for his 40+ years of service spanning eight different Presidents from both sides of the aisle. "Dr. Gates came out of retirement to serve as Secretary of Defense when a war was in extremis, casualties were high and the political environment was as challenging as it is today," said Vice Admiral (SEAL) Joseph D. Kernan, who presented Dr. Gates with the coveted award.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), John O. Brennan, delivered the keynote address, outlining the complex terrorism threats SEALs are asked to face and recognizing the five CIA operatives, who were also SEALs that lost their lives in service to this country.

The chairman of the benefit was Stephen A. Schwarzman and was co-chaired by William A. Ackman, Roger and Elizabeth Ailes, Joseph Baratta, Grant Behrman, David Blitzer, Dave and Barbara Calhoun, Michael Chae, Henry and Vanessa Cornell, Jack and Metka Daly, John Finley, Bennett Goodman, Jon and Mindy Gray, J. Tomilson Hill, Tony James, David and Eugenia Janke, Daniel and Margaret Loeb, Joel S. Marcus, Howard and Nancy Marks, David J. McIntyre, Jr., Michael J. Muldoon, Harvey Schwartz, Tom and Cindy Wagner and Zide Family Foundation, led by Navy SEAL Foundation Board member, Jack Daly; and a healthy host committee led by Drew Fox.

The collective efforts resulted in the event selling out well in advance of March 3rd. "The success of our fundraising efforts is a direct reflection of the support the American people have for the U.S. Navy SEALs, Naval Special Warfare support personnel and their families. It means there are people out there that care about the sacrifices being made by those who serve," said Robin King, CEO of the Navy SEAL Foundation.

Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, laid the groundwork for what was a very exciting and patriotic evening by speaking to a captivated crowd during the Honoree's reception. The dinner program itself included comedian, Seth Meyers; narrator, Jim Kerr; renowned auctioneer, Jamie Niven, Gold Star wife, Courtney Retzer-Vargo; and a heartfelt toast to the fallen and to the “Brotherhood.”

About the Navy SEAL Foundation
The Navy SEAL Foundation's mission is to provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community, their families, and the families of the fallen, wounded and also transitioning veterans. U.S. Navy SEALs have been in sustained combat for over 14 years, performing hazardous work in unforgiving environments at an unrelenting pace. SEALs are currently deployed in over 35 countries across the globe and spend up to 270 days each year in harm's way. The Navy SEAL Foundation stands behind these warriors and their families by delivering comprehensive, world-class programs that specifically address the community's unique needs. Like the community it serves, the Foundation is a solid, high-performing organization committed to excellence. 95 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to current or future programs. This year the Navy SEAL Foundation received its 5th consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, a top charity watchdog, for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency (top 6% of all rated charities).

To learn more, visit http://www.navySEALfoundation.org or contact us at 757.363.7490 extension 204 or info(at)navySEALfoundation(dot)org
The Navy SEAL Foundation is a 501c3 national non-profit charitable organization. TAX-ID 31-1728910. The Navy SEAL Foundation is a non-federal entity. It is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status.

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Sara Berry
Navy SEAL Foundation
+1 (757) 363-7490 Ext: 211
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Jennifer Bragaw, Director of Development
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