Up2Us Sports, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring youth through coaching and sports, welcomed celebrities and pro athletes to its annual gala at Guastavino’s in New York City on Thursday.
The star-studded event raised more than $400,000 to support the organization, which will go towards training coaches in sports-based youth development and placing them in under-resourced communities. The fundraising total this year increased by approximately 20 percent compared to 2017, which raised $350,000.
“We started this organization with the goal of changing kids’ lives using sports and coaching as an avenue to do so,” said Paul Caccamo, founder and CEO of Up2Us Sports. “Sports is and will continue to be a vital component of youth development, and the 2018 Gala just reaffirmed the importance of our work and commitment to this cause.”
The gala honored impactful players in coaching and the sports industry. Honorees included Kathy Carter, founding member of MLS and former president of Soccer United Marketing, and Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players Inc., who received the Legacy Awards.
Up2Us Sports also honored hometown hero, Tayquan Faulkner, Up2Us Sports coach at Curtis High School in Staten Island, with the Coach of the Year Award. Faulkner, after tragically losing his father at the age of 15, met Joe Baratta, his math teacher and football coach. Baratta served as a mentor and ally throughout his teenage years, which led to Faulkner following in his footsteps and becoming an Up2Us Sports coach.
“When I was introduced to Up2Us Sports, I knew I had to get involved,” said Dan Mannix, CEO of CSM LeadDog and Up2Us Sports board chair. “Particularly since Paul Caccamo’s dad was my travel team soccer coach, I know firsthand the positive impact that coaches can have on young kids.”
Other distinguished guests included Sandra Bernhard, Famke Janssen, Michele Hicks, Sugar Rodgers, Dana Goldberg, Adam Rosante, Adam Glassman, Jill Demling, Amy Wesson, Collette Smith, Kim Vandenberg, Jojo Starbuck, Sharon Monplaisir and Michelob ULTRA influencers Adam Rosante and Dale Moss.