On Wednesday March 23rd the legendary former Heavyweight champion of the world Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield hosted a meet and greet fundraiser to benefit his own non-profit organization,” The Holyfield Foundation”. The venue chosen for this evening’s event was one of New York City’s most popular nightspots The China Club. This lavish night club located in the heart of the big apple’s midtown scene played host to an intimate evening in which those in attendance had opportunities to mingle and take pictures with “The Real Deal”. The China Club requested a donation of $25.00 for entrance; however The China Club donated 100% of the collected proceeds to the Holyfield Foundation. A silent auction featuring signed memorabilia from Evander's private collection as well as donations from many celebrity friends served as a co-feature during this evening. Items ranging from autographed gloves, ring worn attire, fight posters, photographs, lithographs and jackets were bided on. A hockey jersey was even in the mix signed by another sports great Mario Lemieux.
“I created the Holyfield Foundation as a way to give back for the support I received as a child and to help disadvantaged young people become successful, productive adults. Children need guidance, support, and discipline in order to become champions in their own right in whatever they choose. My foundation strives to enhance the lives of youth worldwide by establishing programs and facilities dedicated to their spiritual, educational and athletic development,” stated Holyfield.
“I do this because my faith tells me its right thing to do. God has given me so much in my life and has shown me so much that I do this from my heart,” said Holyfield.
Up to this point according to Holyfield he has donated $5 million dollars from his own personal wealth.
“My legacy outside of boxing is very important to me just as my boxing career is to me. I am about bringing people together. This is not for me I have made good money and I have money. There others who struggle however and need help from other people. My life’s mission is to give others an opportunity if I can help them do this, this sufficient for me,” said Holyfield.
This charity organization, which bares the ex-champs name, was originally founded in 1991 with the purpose of servicing needy youths. The Holyfield Foundation has various components to itself. One of which and the main beneficiary during this event is its scholarship program. The scholarship program was founded in 2000 and since its inception; Evander has raised over 1 million dollars in scholarship money for economically underprivileged students.
With the help of corporate and individual donations, as well as his own financial contributions, The Holyfield Foundation supports many organizations that assist underprivileged youth. One corporation that stepped up to the plate last night was the Universal Mortgage Bankers of New Jersey, who presented the foundation with a 50 thousand dollar check. A community center in Atlanta is currently in the works which will provide a safe haven for inner city youths to practice sports and enhance their academics.
Former middleweight champion of the world Iran “The Blade” Barkley was in attendance. The Bronx native said he came out because Evander has always been a class act and wanted to lend his support for a truly nice cause.
With professional athletes consistently making the front pages of our newspapers and headlining sports shows for all the wrong reasons I am not out of place in saying I that it’s refreshing when a true sportsman makes headlines for something positive. On the flipside of things you maybe hard pressed to find this story or one similar to it any of your “major” daily papers or dirt driven tabloid rags. If Mr. Holyfield were found in a drunken stupor creating chaos at a club, it would undoubtedly be a leading story everywhere. However it appears that those who pride themselves in bringing information to the public seem to only be concerned with negativity and sensationalism.
The Holyfield Foundation awards four-year scholarships to 10 deserving Georgia high school seniors each year. Anyone who is interested in further information can do so by going to www.evanderholyfield.com
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