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Elton John, Billy Crystal, Tony Bennett, and Gladys Knight Help Starkey Hearing Foundation Raise More than $5 Million at Annual Fundraiser

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- An evening of entertainment and fundraising that included performances by Elton John, Billy Crystal, Tony Bennett, and Gladys Knight resulted in Starkey Hearing Foundation, the global leader in delivering the gift of hearing, raising more than $5 million to support its mission of helping the world to hear. Starkey Hearing Foundation hosted its Ninth Annual "So the World May Hear" Awards Gala on Sunday, July 12 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn. The funds raised will enable the Foundation to distribute 50,000 hearing aids to children in need worldwide.

"Elton John. Billy Crystal. Tony Bennett. Gladys Knight. What a line-up, and what a magnificent evening of entertainment, celebration and generosity. The kind of generosity that is simply unprecedented. The kind of generosity that is born of passion and commitment. The kind of generosity that will allow us to open the world as we know it -- a world of music, laughter, language, and love -- to kids all over the world by giving them the gift of hearing," said William F. Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. "I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who made our 2009 Gala a success."

The evening featured the comedy of Billy Crystal as well as performances by Gladys Knight, Tony Bennett, Ethan Bortnick, and Nita Whitaker. Elton John capped off the evening with a one-hour performance that included such hits as "Rocket Man," "Your Song," "Daniel," and "Circle of Life." A live auction included a hearing mission trip to Kenya to fit 5,000 people with hearing aids. That auction item earned the evening's top bid of $250,000. The inspirational evening would not have been complete without the recognition of others who have made their own significant contributions to humanity. This year's award recipients included comedian Norm Crosby; the 1961 New York Yankees, who were represented by Moose Skowron, Whitey Ford, Ralph Terry, Bob Turley, and Mickey Mantle's son David Mantle; Minnesota philanthropists and business leaders Marilyn and Dr. Glen Nelson; and Rayovac, a long-time supporter of Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Additional celebrity guests who attended this year's Gala included performers JC Chasez and Sam Moore; actors Lou Ferrigno, Verne Troyer, Sean Pyfrom, and Robert Culp; TV personalities Alan Kalter and Paige Hemmis; astronaut Buzz Aldrin; golf legend Arnold Palmer; Southern Methodist University head football coach June Jones; songwriter Paul Williams; Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress; Minnesota Vikings trainer Eric Sugarman; University of Minnesota head basketball coach Tubby Smith; and many others.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF)

Starkey Hearing Foundation is the global leader in the gift of hearing by delivering hearing instruments via hearing missions in 86 countries. Founded by William F. Austin in 1984 with the vision So the World May Hear, countless numbers of lives are touched by better hearing through Starkey Hearing Foundation missions. With the goal to heighten social consciousness on the importance of hearing, Starkey Hearing Foundation launched a hearing conservation program, Sound Matters, to educate the public about responsible listening. Today the Foundation is sustained by the selfless efforts of volunteers and donors spanning the globe. Since 2000, the Foundation has distributed nearly 340,000 hearing instruments to those in need around the world. Become a Starkey Hearing Foundation fan by visiting Facebook at, follow Starkey Hearing Foundation on Twitter at, or visit us at


Starkey Hearing Foundation


SOURCE Starkey Hearing Foundation
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