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How Sponsors and Athletes Came Together to form the Perfect Fundraiser for Angel City Sports

Charity-based events which had to rely on innovative strategies during Covid19 are relieved to be back to in person for their fundraising get togethers. Click here to see the fundraiser

Charley C. Walters, co-organizer of Gold Meets Golden, the annual event where veteran athletes from across the world mingle with Hollywood talent, acknowledged how thrilled he was to regain the support of sponsors, celebrities and Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the Virginia Robinson Gardens gala venue last month.

“While in the past few years, we’ve had to improvise with virtual programming, it was truly wonderful to return to an in-person event for our 10th anniversary, raising great awareness and funding to benefit Angel City Sports, a Los Angeles organization that helps support youths and adults with physical disabilities achieve their dream of playing sports,” enthused Walters, who co-founded and produced GMG along with Scott Orlin, actress Nicole Kidman and Olympic athlete Nadia Comaneci.

“Angel City Sports has been a perfect charity partner for Gold Meets Golden for several years now,” noted Walters. “Since its inception, ACS has provided the opportunity for hundreds of children in the disabled community to find an outlet in adaptive sports. We’ve seen first-hand how these introductions enhance their lives,  as starting with Tokyo, some of the grown kids are now competing in actual Paralympic Games. It’s an amazing full circle moment.”

Olympians such as Nadia Comaneci, Tom Daley, Greg Louganis, Ian Thorpe, Chloe Kim, Missy Franklin and Adam Rippon were all present. Ryan Chen, co-owner of Neuro Gum, who trained with the U.S. Paralympic team while holding a 2nd degree black belt in Kendo, also attended the event, along with celebrities like Cheryl Burke, Lance Bass and Gus Kenworthy.

Among the many sponsor perks for attendees during the day: Ride-sharing app Lyft offered a discounted ride to the charity event; Chinese Laundry/42Gold gifted custom gold shoes and totes, and Celsius sampled many flavors of their sports drinks.

“Celsius was a great new partner as they have a new ‘tropical vibe’ flavor that is a favorite amongst our celebrity and athlete hosts,” Walters added.

In addition, Franklin Sports provided equipment for lawn games, and Fabletics had yoga mats and branded 5 panel black hats to “strike a pose.” United Airlines flew international athletes to the event in POLARIS class. And BOSE supplied new audio speaker and soundbar technology for a musical performance between Grammy nominee Shoshana Bean and multiple Grammy winner Stephen Schwartz, gifting attendees their earbuds.

Ottobock, a leading manufacturer of prosthetic and orthotic devices and world-wide Paralympic sponsor, was an integral part of the GMG event, as new title sponsor.

“Ottobock has been a global supporter of the adaptive sports community and an official partner of the paralympic movement since 1988,” said Jan-Philip (JP) Rahmann, vp of marketing.

“For 104 years, we have made it our mission to help individuals regain their freedom of mobility through the use of our products and clinical services,” said Rahmann. “We are proud to have had the opportunity to expand on our mission by partnering with organizations like Gold Meets Golden.”

He continued: “At the event, we showcased some of the products that our athletes compete with at the games as well as products that are used for everyday use, like microprocessor knees and our new industry exoskeletons. We brought the future of adaptive sports with us too, a group of young and talented kids between the ages of 6 and 12, who showed all attendees that living with an amputation has little to no bearing on your freedom of mobility.”

Rahmann added: “Together with our global ambassadors, who held a panel discussion with Greg Louganis on overcoming adversity under pressure, we were able  to continue to raise awareness around adaptive sports and look to the bright future of the paralympic movement as it returns to Los Angeles in 2028.”

Looking over the many interactive activations and outdoor decor, events organizer Gerry Owen marveled how well everything went. “Love it when caring people and brands can come together and execute an amazing event for a worthy cause!” she enthused.

Florals for the event, with gold accents, were provided throughout the venue by White Fig Designs.

First time sponsor Barbara Paldus, who runs CODEX Beauty Labs, enjoyed talking to guests like Olympic athlete Missy Franklin, about what her breakthrough company has been up to and gifting an assortment of product.

“Our new custom bio-testing combines the science of DNA with the essence of natural ingredients to create a perfect custom regimen for every type of human. Gold Meets Golden provided us with the perfect platform to roll out this technology, with a group of Olympians and Paralympians who compose the upper echelon of humanity.  These are people who not only care about every ingredient that goes on and in their bodies, but have varying skin and biome conditions based on their sport and climate that need special attention.”

Gifting the coveted GMG gold gift bags, global shopping marketplace Fashwire championed a fashion show at the event, helping Hollywood celebrity, athlete and adaptive athlete attendees alike to look and feel their best throughout awards season.

“The @fashwire team took on an incredible @goldmeetsgolden event with an exciting fashion show and raising donations for @angelcitysports! Stay tuned for more fashion, philanthropy and fun from the star studded event!” they enthused on their social media. Their sister company. GlossWire, gave away an assortment of luxury beauty products.

The GMG golden gift bag also featured a variety of brands, including Nike (hat); Neuro Gum (Peppermint Energy & focus); Immunocologie (lava mask); Saint Jane Beauty (luxury skin ritual pure smoothing spf 30 sunscreen);  Levain Bakery (double chocolate chip cookie) and WeSake (Japanese Junmai Ginjo sake owned by Brooklyn Beckham).

Other items in the bag were P&G (products to support the Thank You Mom campaign); BusterPro (flyer for the Pro Tennis shop in Brentwood, CA); Goodr (Circle G sunglasses); Franklin Sports Apparel; Hu Kitchen (assorted chocolate bars); Rind (dried fruit snacks); The Giving Keys, (gold giving keys necklace); BeautyMarks Sunless (glow tanning dust);  Louis XIII (exclusive cognac tasting); Fair Harbor (tote bag); and Paralympian Mallory Weggemann’s poignant biography, Limitless, was also included.

“Our gift bags have truly become one of the most coveted and GOLDEN gift bags of Hollywood Awards Season,” enthused Shay Gibson, director of partnerships and gift bag organizer.

“This year the bag really reflected our Sports-meets-Hollywood theme including an equal amount of sporting equipment / athletic wear and fitness supplements, combined with all types of great & golden beauty products to help our attendees feel both fit and glam,” she said.

Selkirk gifted guests and media their amped mid-weight fiber flex pickleball paddles. “#TeamSelkirk is honored to be showcasing all the pickleball action at the @goldmeetsgolden 2023 charity event, where money is being raised for @angelcitysports! What an amazing event to be a part of!” they said on their social media.

Herradura Tequila poured custom libations for guests. “Guests drank Herradura Ultra, which is a Cristalino tequila, aged but cristal clear, beyond smooth,” said Mariana Esquinca. “As one of the most historic and legendary tequila brands in the world, it felt great to partner with Gold Meets Golden to gather the best in sports and entertainment, supporting and celebrating extraordinary people.”

Bestselling cookbook author Chef Katie Chin–who was just featured on The Kelly Clarkson show– was one of the caterers serving tasty items. “I was so excited to be part of this fantastic event! One of the appetizers I created for guests is tequila lime chicken, which is being infused by Herradura. It made this dish come alive!”

Also present was Chef Jazzy Harvey and Crenshaw Coffee Company’s Tony Jolly, who served up a delicious & refreshing beverage & food pairing.

“Cooking is the ultimate form of giving, in that nature, to be a cook is to serve a purpose greater than self,” Harvey acknowledged. “As a former NCAA Div. 1 track runner and lifetime athlete I am extremely excited to participate in Gold Meets Golden and give back to support young future Paralympians through Angel City Sports. Having worked in education and navigating life with a neurological disability I make it a point to always give back to youth that need extra support and be a beacon of hope that truly anything is possible.”

Added Jolly: “Our slogan is ‘we fuel the creative,’ so it was an honor for us to support the remarkable mission of Gold Meets Golden.”

Beverages included: Cortado, Cappucino, Pistachio Latte, Lavender Latte, Rose Matcha & Cingular Cold Brew. Chef Jazzy curated a plant based variation including: candied plantain skewers, krab cakes & mango salsa, vegan jamaican patties and vegan ceviche.

Among the other options offered were spiced pinarita and prickly palomas from the nonalcoholic agave drink, Parch. The following day, Remy Martin kept the party weekend going by providing a special Louis XIII Cognoc for all the Olympians who attended this years event.

After a decade of growth and success for our event and charity, Cullen Walters was thrilled to announce that next year’s event will go to Europe next year.

“The theme will appropriately be “Parisian 2024 Karat” to lead up to the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in France, with events in both Los Angeles on the Globes weekend in January, and Summer in Cannes and Paris as a special send-off from Hollywood to the athletes of both Team USA and Team France.”

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