The Matt Leinhart Foundation gathered sports and television celebrities at the Hollywood Lucky Strike for their 5th Annual Celebrity Bowl Thursday night. In my opinion, the best thing about this event is that 100%, yes, you read that correctly, 100% of the purchase price (not proceeds, subtracting a mysterious amount for overhead) benefits the charity, which is committed to helping disadvantaged youth. They grant wishes, support learning centers, provide sports activities, assist with academic achievement, etc. It’s very rare that a charity holds an event where all the money you spend is benefiting those you want to help (in this case, disadvantaged children). I like that they’re clear about the money all going to the right place. The mysterious “percentage” of the proceeds line always bugged me and Leinhart’s foundation just goes for the amount you pay benefiting the children.
Obviously, it wouldn’t be possible for the Matt Leinhart Foundation to do this without the help of their sponsors. iRenew, O.N.E. Coconut Water , and jetBlue made sure the money could go directly to the charity by sponsoring the event. They also provided prizes and samples. The wrist bands to get into the charity bowl were actually iRenew bracelets. Every guest got one of the comfortable iRenew bracelets, which promotes balance, endurance, & strength. O.N.E. Coconut Water distributed samples, which was cool. I can’t stand the taste of coconut, but was pleasantly surprised that the flavored beverages don’t even have a lingering taste of coconut. For his part, Gus Renny, owner of iRenew, “loves working with kids.” They sponsor the golf tournament with Leinhart, as well, since they love helping kids.
Matt Leinhart (who seemed sure that the NFL strike will be resolved quickly) said he’s not a big bowler, but chose to hold this event “because I wanted to do something different. Lucky Strike is a great venue with the music and the dancing and the bar and everything.” Their other big event is a golf event, which Leinhart described as “fun and pretty standard.” I couldn’t agree more about the venue. I’d never been to the Lucky Strike in Hollywood before, but I’m a big fan of the chain of upscale bowling alleys. The idea of being able to bowl while also being in a sports bar/club (depending on the hour) with great food and a full bar is wonderful. The Lucky Strike in Hollywood is smaller (only 12 lanes), but still had enough space for the tons of memorabilia being auctioned for the Matt Leinhart Foundation and the buffet without feeling like the venue was over crowded. Sadly, my Lucky Strike favorite food (mac n’ cheese balls – try them at a Lucky Strike near you, trust me) wasn’t a part of the buffet, but they did have make your own sliders, french fries, vegetable pesto pizza, and pepperoni pizza which was all incredibly fresh and delicious and great drinks from the full bar.
Naturally, since Leinhart’s sport is football, there were a lot of football stars supporting the Celebrity Bowl. Quinton Aaron, star of The Blind Side, even bridged the gap between entertainment and the sport with his attendance. Tara Lipinski, Olympic Figure Skater stood out among the athletes as being the only female athlete I saw walk the red carpet. She looked more like she’d belong with the TV stars than the athletes, since most of the other athletes could probably bench press the petite gold medal winner.
In support of the Celebrity Bowl being an event benefiting children, the best shirts I saw were Ephraim Salaam (NFL)’s Angry Birds shirt and Andrew McFarlane’s Green Eggs and Ham shirt. When I told McFarlane I liked his shirt, he thanked me and mentioned that the Seuss “teaches kids about life,” which definitely makes it a great choice for an event benefiting disadvantaged youth.
Chester Pitts, who surprised me by being the only one on Thursday’s red carpet to take the time to personally introduce himself before answering my questions, said he’s done a few of these deals. He said, “My brother played at SC with him, so I’ve known him many years.” He mentioned that Leinhart is a good guy and that he does anything he can to always support the good guys. Pitts went on to explain that “at the end of the day it’s all about the kids, so what kind of man would I be if I didn’t show up for it?” Makes sense to me. What better reason can there be to support a charity than believing in the work the charity does? The Leinhart Foundation seems to work hard to ensure that as much money as possible goes directly to the disadvantaged youth, which is admirable. I can see why those who known Leinhart do their best to support the organization.
photo by Kealy
editors note - iRENEW also supports iRESCUE which rescues dangered or imperiled wildlife 24/7. I am trained in search and rescue so I applaud them for this and I've been using the bracelet for months and feel it has helped my balance and strength - - Russ Cohen
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