Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -: For the third consecutive year, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Ministry of Sport and Diriyah E-Prix Official Promoter CBX has held its annual gala dinner, which last night raised more than $1.8 million for three charities: Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF), The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Held at the Cultural Palace, the event was attended by familiar faces from the sport including Formula E drivers, plus members of the Saudi Arabian business and motorsport community. The event marks the start of race week as the Kingdom prepares to host the only night-races on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Diriyah tomorrow (26 January) and Saturday (27 January).
More than $1.8 million was raised through the auction hosted by Jonny Gould which featured a variety of incredible lots including one-of-a-kind pieces of art, a Copacabana pearl chocker necklace by Dior worn by Princess Charlene of Monaco, signed Cristiano Ronaldo Al-Nassr FC football shirt, exclusive Usain Bolt signed Puma running spikes and even the chance to drive the Formula E GEN3 car around the Diriyah circuit. The top pick on the night was a painting by Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody named ‘Big Heart’ which received a number of offers with $275,000 topping the bids. Adrien attended the awards and was able to explain the vision behind the painting.
His Highness Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF Chairman, said: “We are appreciative of the support for the children and youth under our care. This collaboration with Formula E not only strengthens our objective but also sheds light on the subject of autism. It is an honor for everyone to take part in an event that unites our community.”
Carlo Boutagy, CBX Founder, said: “I am always humbled by the generosity of those who not only bidded for the items, but donated them too. To raise more than $1.8 million is incredible and will go such a long way in supporting the good work of our three charities: SAF, The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and The Nelson Mandela Foundation. The gala dinner is a great way to kick off what will be an exciting weekend of electric racing.”
Alejandro Agag, Founder and Chairman of Formula E, added: “We’re thrilled to be racing here in the Kingdom for the fifth time and celebrating 10 seasons of electric motorsport. It is one of our most iconic races, set at night amongst the ancient city walls of Diriyah. By raising vital funds for important causes we reaffirm Formula E’s duel purpose of racing and reason, delivering for the communities and charities where we compete. We’re honoured and thankful of the enormous generosity of those who attended the 2024 Gala Dinner.”
SAF has had a strategic partnership with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship since Season 6, which has, and continues to aspire to improve autism services across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and become a global example of best practice. The organisation cares for 5,000 families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with children of all ages across the Kingdom and aims to improve autism services by launching high-quality and sustainable projects to help.
Launched in 2012, The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation’s primary objective is to save lives by putting an end to drowning. It creates and facilitates a variety of programmes aimed at teaching people to swim, raising awareness of the dangers of water and teaching children preventative measures to decrease water-related accidents.
The final beneficiary of last night’s efforts is the Nelson Mandela Foundation that has a mission to contribute to the making of a just society by mobilising the legacy of Nelson Mandela, providing public access to information on his life and times, and convening dialogue on critical social issues.