Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic Raises More Than $1.5 Million

Published: October 7, 2007  |  Source: money.cnn.com
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Tournament’s Total Benefit to Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis now stands at approximately $3.5 million in Three Years

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — The third annual Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic, which is hosted by Ameristar Casinos, Inc. and will be held Oct. 9 at The National Golf Club of Kansas City, has raised more than $1.5 million this year to benefit The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. The Buoniconti Fund is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project, the world’s largest and most comprehensive research facility dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis.

Ameristar Casinos, which operates eight properties in seven markets across the United States, began presenting the Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic in 2005 to provide its key business partners with an opportunity to make a significant contribution toward spinal cord injury research. The 2007 tournament is dedicated to Craig H. Neilsen, Ameristar’s founder, who created the event in the belief innovative scientific research will find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

“During my career I have met many people who are committed to social responsibility and community service,” said Ameristar CEO John Boushy. “But few have had the passion or devoted their time, talent and resources to a cause like our founder, Craig Neilsen, did. Craig was driven to help people with spinal cord injuries live a better life, and it is that spirit that motivates us to continue his mission with this third annual golf classic.”

Including the more than $1.5 million raised this year, the Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic has raised approximately $3.5 million for The Buoniconti Fund. The event has raised more money than any golf tournament fundraiser in Kansas City history and raises the most money of any golf event in the spinal cord injury community.

“I’m thrilled and humbled that we’ve been so successful in just three years,” said Marc Buoniconti. “This achievement is a testament to Ameristar Casinos and their business partners, who understand the profound contribution this research makes to the many people whose everyday lives are impacted by spinal cord injures.”

The money raised through the tournament has been invested in 12 research grants thus far. Some of them are working diligently in basic science to regenerate the spinal cord while others are attempting to improve Rehabilitation techniques.

The Miami Project and the University of Miami are pioneers in the headline-making Hypothermia research that recently was used to treat injured Buffalo Bills football player Kevin Everett. Shortly after suffering a massive spinal cord injury that often results in paralysis, Everett was able to move his arms and legs. His doctors are optimistic Everett will walk again.

“While everyone who knew my father knew there were no limits to his vision, I think even he would have been surprised that in three short years the Ameristar National Charity Golf Classic would raise almost $3.5 million for research,” said Ameristar Co-Chairman and Senior Vice President Ray H. Neilsen. “I know he would appreciate the tremendous support of the event sponsors.”

“Craig set the highest standards, and he was able to connect with people in such a way that he motivated them to reach their full potential,” said Ameristar Co-Chairman and Executive Vice President Gordon Kanofsky. “We are honored to dedicate this event to Craig. His spirit and his voice live on through this event and through the work of his Foundation.”

John Hockenberry, an award-winning journalist, author and internationally recognized advocate for the rights of the disabled, will attend the event and speak at an opening-night dinner Oct. 8. At the age of 19, Hockenberry suffered a spinal cord injury during a car accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. His work has been recognized with four Peabody Awards, four Emmy Awards, and the Edward R. Murrow Award.

In addition to this annual national golf classic, Ameristar and its Team Members donated a total of $8.6 million in 2006 to organizations where the company’s properties are located. Each year, the Ameristar Cares charitable giving program provides direct financial donations to a variety of organizations and encourages Team Member volunteerism. Through the Ameristar Cares Workplace Giving Campaign, Team Member donations are matched dollar-for-dollar by the company, with an additional match for rehabilitation facility partners by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Established by the Buoniconti family in 1992, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis is a non-profit organization committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again. The Buoniconti Fund serves as the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project. It is designed to complement the scientific accomplishments of The Miami Project by generating funds and high levels of awareness. The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is the world’s largest, most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center dedicated to finding more effective treatments for, and ultimately, a cure for paralysis. For more information, or to make a contribution, please call 1 800 STAND UP or visit http://www.thebuonicontifund.com/Page.aspx?pid=201

About Ameristar

Ameristar Casinos, Inc. is a leading Las Vegas-based gaming and entertainment company known for its premier properties characterized by innovative architecture, state-of-the-art casino floors and superior dining, lodging and entertainment offerings. Ameristar’s focus on the total entertainment experience and the highest quality guest service has earned it a leading market share position in each of the markets in which it operates. Founded in 1954 in Jackpot, Nevada, Ameristar has been a public company since November 1993. The Company has a portfolio of eight casinos in seven markets: Ameristar St. Charles (greater St. Louis); Ameristar Kansas City; Ameristar Council Bluffs (Omaha, Nebraska and southwestern Iowa); Ameristar Vicksburg (Jackson, Mississippi and Monroe, Louisiana); Ameristar Black Hawk (Denver metropolitan area); Cactus Petes and The Horseshu in Jackpot, Nevada (Idaho and the Pacific Northwest); and Resorts East Chicago (Chicagoland area), which was acquired Sept. 18, 2007.

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