D-backs’ Evening on the Diamond raises $1.7M

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Saturday that the previous night’s Evening on the Diamond fundraising event at Chase Field raised a record $1.7 million to benefit the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Overall, the event has raised $8.2 million to be given back to Arizona charities and nonprofit organizations since 2007 and has been ranked by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the largest fundraising events in the Valley.

“Last night was a truly unforgettable evening for everyone in attendance, and the community will feel the impact of our attendees’ generosity for years to come,” said D-backs’ managing general partner Ken Kendrick. “We are humbled by the efforts of so many who made last night such a success, and we are grateful that so many people, including our entire team and coaching staff, took the time to be a part of it.”

The theme of the gala was Teaming up for Education, as the University of Phoenix served as the presenting sponsor and the school’s president, Dr. Bill Pepicello, co-chaired the event with his wife, Kris. A portion of the program geared specifically toward education raised $100,000 from the attendees, with the University of Phoenix matching an additional $50,000 for $150,000 in total donations.

Lee Hanley, chairman and CEO of Vestar, received the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation Community Leadership Award for his philanthropic endeavors to assist Arizona charities and the community throughout the Valley.

The event’s live auction raised more than $680,000 and featured a South African hunting/photographic safari, a James Bond experience in London, a vacation in the Bahamas aboard a 145-foot yacht, a Hawaiian vacation at Kapalua, a five-day hunting expedition with Kirk Gibson, an Eddie Matney-prepared personal dinner with D-backs legends and more than a dozen current players as well as VIP trips to Napa Valley, the Oregon coast and New York, where the winning bidder will get to dine with members of the Trump family and take in the live finale of “The Apprentice.”

More than 700 people were in attendance and enjoyed dinner on the infield of Chase Field followed by a live performance by Grammy Award winner Natalie Cole, who performed an hour-long set.

D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall also announced that the $30 million mark has been reached in combined charitable giving between the D-backs and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Those organizations gave back more than $4 million in 2011 and later this week will dedicate the 32nd field in the Phoenix metro area, Justin Upton Field at University Park.