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NEWPORT POLO'S CHARITY GALA GOES PLATINUM

Sep 21, 2021 6:04 PM

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R&B music legend Jeffrey Osborne serenaded and greeted guests at the 20th Annual Newport International Charity Ball as a beneficiary for the Jeffery Osbourne Foundation. ©Newport Polo Club
R&B music legend Jeffrey Osborne serenaded and greeted guests at the 20th Annual Newport International Charity Ball as a beneficiary for the Jeffery Osbourne Foundation. ©Newport Polo Club

The 20th Annual Newport International Polo Charity Ball in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was a smash hit, reaching platinum status and shattering the past record in total fundraising. But the road was a long, uphill drive of inspiration. The Bon Voyage Ball overcame a postponement from 2020, then a second untimely setback when the original beneficiary pulled out in March, due to pandemic related challenges, and the threat of the emerging Delta variant this year.

The idea for a new beneficiary came within days, in a March 8, 2021 news column "This Day in RI History: March 9 - Jeffrey Osborne is Born". Gala organizers found that R&B music legend, Jeffrey Osborne's annual celebrity golf classic had been cancelled for a second consecutive year, due to the pandemic, leaving the beneficiaries of his Foundation without the significant annual private funding that had buoyed these vital Rhode Island organizations since 2012.

Osborne returned the phone call on the same day, from his Los Angeles home, embracing the opportunity to support his Foundation and its Rhode Island beneficiaries through the gala's fundraising, and personally assembled a committee of professionals to work with Newport Polo, oversaw each detail in zoom meetings, traveled to Rhode Island and personally attended each event on the August weekend to meet & greet supporters, and performed a cameo serenade at the gala.

"As you might imagine, Jeffrey's schedule was fairly well booked, but to our surprise he rearranged it to make sure that he could travel from Los Angeles to attend in person," explained Dan Keating, Newport Polo Founder & President. "A magnificent impromptu performance of three greatest hits, in his legendary baritone voice brought the house down, eclipsed only by his gracious personality in thanking guests and posing for photos".

With personal gladhanding, posing for photos and selfies and a cameo performance by Jeffrey Osborne to bring the house to its feet with his hit singles On the Wings of Love, Back In Love Again, and You Should Be Mine, over 400 generous and fun-loving attendees heralded the Bon Voyage Ball's victory by exceeding $80,000 in fundraising, more than doubling past results, for the Jeffrey Osborne Foundation's mission to support initiatives and organizations in Rhode Island that keep music and the arts in our public school systems and provide food, shelter, and a safe haven for families and children in need.

To read the full story of the gala's 2021 comeback tour and view the album, visit Newport Polo Club's website.

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