The Kelly Cares Foundation Honored John W. “Jay” Jordan, II, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, and the KeiraSTRONG Foundation at its 6th Annual Irish Eyes Gala
Gala Raised More Than $1 Million; Jon Bon Jovi Closed out the Night with a Special Performance of Top Hits
(March 15, 2016 – New York, NY) – The Kelly Cares Foundation, established by Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his wife Paqui, held its 6th Annual Irish Eyes Gala on Monday, March 14, 2016 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. The Kelly Cares Foundation honored John W. “Jay” Jordan, II, Notre Dame Trustee and Co-founder of the investment firm The Jordan Company, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, professional football Hall of Famer and Founder of The Bus Stops Here Foundation, and the KeiraSTRONG Foundation, started by the family of Keira Enright, which supports families going through pediatric cancer treatment and other life threatening diseases. The gala raised more than $1 million which will support causes locally, nationally, and globally.
The Irish Eyes Gala, the Kelly Cares Foundation’s signature event, celebrates those that have demonstrated a dedication to improving the lives of others, in turn inspiring hope to all those they encounter along the way. The Kelly Cares Foundation will use the funds raised to help improve the lives of others, notably through organizations that focus on Health, Education and Community.
“As part of the Notre Dame family, I especially feel privileged to honor Jay and Jerome, two former Domers, who exemplify the values we hold so dearly at the Kelly Cares Foundation,” said Brian Kelly. “Both of these gentlemen have become friends of mine and have the same passion for bettering the communities around them through education and a unique passion to give back. We are incredibly inspired by their vision and philanthropy.”
“I could not be more proud of the work the KeiraSTRONG Foundation is doing to relieve the burdens felt by families who are facing such difficult situations while fighting pediatric cancer,” said Paqui Kelly. “When I first met Keira I was amazed by her maturity and everything she has endured in her young life. As survivors, we will always have a special bond, and I applaud the entire Enright family. Keira, you truly are an inspiration to your mom and dad, your brothers, your friends and teachers at school, and everyone who has the chance to meet you.”
Jay Jordan was honored with the “Leadership in Education Award” for his unwavering commitment to further education at Notre Dame with donations that support the Jordan Hall of Science, the Mendoza College of Business, scholarships, fellowships, research, athletics, and the University’s Alliance for Catholic Education. He serves as Chair of the University’s Investment Committee, which has grown the University’s endowment from $1 billion to over $10 billion under his leadership. Jay also chaired the University’s Spirit of Notre Dame campaign, from 2004-2011, which raised over $2 billion toward its $1.5 billion goal. Intended primarily to advance Notre Dame’s undergraduate experience, research, and graduate studies as well as its Catholic intellectual life, the campaign was the largest ever in Catholic higher education and made Notre Dame the first university without a medical school to surpass $2 billion in a traditional seven-year capital campaign.
Jordan also founded the Jordan Family Sports Foundation in Chicago to help give children living in less privileged areas the same access to sports, particularly team sports, as their peers. He also created the Jordan Scholars in Brooklyn to help underprivileged young men with exceptional character and athletic ability on the football field receive a top-notch private school education, as well as enabling them to receive athletic scholarships at our nation’s colleges.
“Notre Dame, the Kelly Cares Foundation, as well as talented youth in Chicago and Brooklyn who are so deserving of a chance to shine are all very near and dear to me,” said Mr. Jordan. “I am privileged and honored to be here tonight with Brian and Paqui, and with all of you, as we come together to do our part to make the world a better place for anyone who needs hope.”
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis was honored with the “Leadership in Community Award” for his critical work in establishing The Bus Stops Here Foundation, which works to improve the overall quality of life for troubled and less fortunate youth by offering programs to help them succeed in life. The professional football Hall of Famer, inducted in 2015, works to support children with programs that range from computer engineering programs for middle school students, to sports classes, to SAT/ACT preparation. For more information on The Bus Stops Here Foundation, please visit www.Thebus36.com.
Bettis won the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award in 2002 for his community involvement and foundation work. Because of this work and his dedication to the mission of the University of Notre Dame, the Kelly Cares Foundation is proud of how he represents the University and its football team across the country.
“In one way or another, we are all on a team. Whether it’s a sports team, a group of students in a computer science class, or an SAT study group, we look out for each other and lend a hand whenever we can,” said Mr. Bettis. “Tonight everyone here is on Team Kelly Cares, and I’m so humbled to be a member. Thank you, Brian and Paqui, for having me and for this incredible honor.”
The KeiraSTRONG Foundation, based in New York, was honored with the “Spirit of Giving Award” for paying it forward by establishing the Foundation that supports families undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer and life threatening illnesses. The Foundation was created by the family and friends of Keira Enright in 2012 after she was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 7-years-old. The KeiraSTRONG Foundation fundraises through annual golf outings and lacrosse tournaments. Keira’s parents, Jim and Heather, are both teachers and the proud parents of their three children – Keira, her twin Connor, and their younger brother Aiden. Keira is a big fan of Taylor Swift, and was surprised to receive a signed guitar by the singer from Paqui Kelly.
“Four years after our daughter Keira was diagnosed with leukemia, it is an incredible honor to be recognized by the Kelly Cares Foundation. We were on the receiving end of an incredible amount of support and generosity from family, friends and colleagues as we faced the challenges of childhood cancer,” said Heather and Jim Enright. “Now we are fortunate to be on the giving end and our goal is to give back to organizations that provide support to families facing childhood cancer. We think of Paqui Kelly and how she too went from receiving support to giving it and that truly is what the Spirit of Giving award symbolizes to us.”
Jon Bon Jovi performed a powerful set of songs including top hits to the delight of the crowd of nearly 400 guests.
Brian Caufield of Moore Capital Management served as the event chair. The co-hosts for this year’s Irish Eyes Gala were Eamon McAnaney, sportscaster for ESPN and SportsNet New York, and Jack Nolan, the Voice of the Fighting Irish. Bruce Beck, sports anchor for WNBC-TV, led the gala’s live auction.
Additional attendees included Myra Biblowit, President of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; NBC’s Anne Thompson; Mort and Linda Bouchard; and Jack O’Callahan, former American ice hockey player and member of the 1980 Winter Olympics United States national team in the famous “Miracle on Ice” game.
At the gala, guests were encouraged to share their stories of strength, resilience, hope, and courage to help others that may be battling something similar. Guests used #ShareYourStory and posted inspirational stories on the Kelly Cares Foundation’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
The Kelly Cares Foundation, now in its seventh year, was founded with the objective of supporting organizations, initiatives, and programs that closely align with the goals and values of the Kelly family in the three pillars of Health, Education, and Community. The Foundation is establishing itself as a “Playbook for Hope” in its local Indiana community and beyond as it seeks to provide direct and immediate assistance for as many people as possible.
Since its founding in 2008, the Kelly Cares Foundation has donated nearly $3 million to support causes locally, nationally and globally. Some notable organizations that have received contributions from the Kelly Cares Foundation include the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund, Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, and the Notre Dame Hesburgh Library.
CONTACT: Rubenstein Communications, Inc., Public Relations
Eileen Sullivan, 212-843-8016; cell: 646-467-0674 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Cares Foundation, Director of Communications
Becky Beckman, 574-307-9139; cell: 419-265-1717 or email@example.com