RIVER VALE, NJ – Members of the New York Red Bulls team and front office turned out to support The Valley Program Foundation for Children with Autism’s fourth annual Wine and Whiskey Tasting Event on Wednesday evening. The event, held at The Estate at Florentine Gardens in River Vale, raised over $10,000, which will directly benefit the foundation’s initiatives.
“This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart,” said Marc de Grandpre, General Manager of the New York Red Bulls, whose daughter has been in the program since 2011.
“The Valley Program Foundation operates right in our own backyard, and offers special needs children so many outstanding experiences to grow and learn in and out of the classroom.”
The Bergen County-based non-profit is run by parents, educators and community members, and is dedicated to enhancing services for children with Autism who attend specialized programs within the area’s public schools. Funds raised are used to supplement socialization and recreational activities, as well as music and arts enrichment programs, and life skill experiences.
Eleven Red Bulls players were on hand at the event, including MLS’ leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips and goalkeeper Luis Robles. This event drew the largest crowd in the foundation’s history, according to Valley Program Foundation President Rich Perez.
“Partnering with the Red Bulls added energy and excitement to the event,” said Perez. “It was a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with professional athletes from a local team, and it helped draw in new people to the event.”
“As an organization we’re fortunate to be able to play a part and help out with this event," added de Grandpre.
In addition to meeting and interacting with players, the event offered tastings of over 100 unique wines and whiskeys from around the world, hors d’oeuvres, a raffle and silent auction for items including a signed Red Bulls jersey and Red Bulls season tickets. The Red Bulls also donated soccer balls that were sold and signed by players at the event.
"Our players’ turnout exemplifies the commitment we have to be part of the local community and support programs such as the Valley Program Foundation,” said de Grandpre.
Money raised from past events has gone towards buying the foundation its own school bus, as well as installing SMART Boards, an interactive learning tool, in 22 classrooms.
To learn more about the Valley Program Foundation, visit http://valleyprogramfoundation.com.
To view photos from the event, check out the foundation’s Facebook page