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August 9, 2011

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Joins Maria Shriver as Co-Captain of Team Maria Best Buddies


Team Maria Best Buddies, formed in 2008 by award-winning journalist, best-selling author and former California First Lady Maria Shriver to support Best Buddies International, announced today that Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has joined the team as Co-Captain to help raise money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and ride in this year’s Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle.

On September 10, 2011, Lieutenant Governor Newsom and Maria Shriver will be joined by Lauren Potter, who plays Becky on the hit FOX TV show Glee, in the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle along with celebrities, athletes, political leaders, friends, and people with IDD, coming together as Team Maria on bike and on foot to make a difference and change lives. Challenge participants can select from a 100, 62, 30, or 15-mile bike ride along the majestic Pacific Coast Highway, or take part in a 5K run or 3K walk at the beachside finish area in San Simeon.

Maria Shriver is the Honorary Chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle and a longtime supporter of Best Buddies. Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership development for people with IDD—all efforts she and her family are committed to. Team Maria rides to honor the memory of Sargent and Eunice Shriver and celebrate the Shriver family’s commitment to changing the lives of people with IDD.

“Whenever Lieutenant Governor Newsom has had an opportunity to support persons with intellectual disabilities and provide opportunities for acceptance, friendship and dignity, he has answered the call,” said Maria Shriver. “I am honored that he has joined Team Maria Best Buddies as a co-captain and look forward to riding alongside him to bring much needed funding and attention to this cause that is so near and dear to our hearts.”

Lt. Governor Newsom demonstrated his strong support of Best Buddies International during his two terms as mayor of San Francisco. He was one of the first mayors in California to hire an individual with an intellectual disability as a full-time employee.

“I have seen the tremendous impact Best Buddies can have on people’s lives,” said Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. “It’s truly amazing that organizations like Best Buddies are helping to connect people who are normally overlooked for jobs and change commonly held perceptions one may have about individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

In recognition of his leadership in promoting inclusion opportunities for people with IDD, Newsom will also serve as honorary co-chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle.

In 2010, Team Maria recruited 97 Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle members and came in first place for fundraising with $306,000, earning the team the Challenge’s highest honor—the Citizen’s Cup. With the support of Lt. Governor Newsom, the team hopes to exceed that success this year.

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