Tony Hawk, Lance Armstrong, Mia Hamm, Andre Agassi, and Annika Sorenstam Gathered for a Private "Philanthropic Boot Camp" Weekend

"escape for GOOD," Organized by, paired champions from both sport and philanthropy for a weekend focused on service, personal legacies and the inspiration of Muhammad Ali
Mar 13, 2012 6:00 PM ET
UGIVE.ORG ESCAPE FOR GOOD Tennis great, Andre Agassi greets skateboard legend Tony Hawk at and Athletes for Hope's "escape for GOOD" philanthropic boot camp at the Sanctuary on Camelback February 23-26, 2012. (PRNewsFoto/ PARADISE VALLEY, AZ UNITED STATES

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz., March 13, 2012 /3BL Media /PRNewswire/ -- As a once-in-lifetime private "boot camp" and Athletes for Hopeorganized a weekend "escape for GOOD" for major donors, family philanthropists and social change experts at The Sanctuary Spa and Resort on Camelback on February 23-26, 2012.

(Photo: )

The "escape" was hosted by elite champions including Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Johnny Bench, Julie Foudy, Stefanie Graf, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Tom Jackson, Andrea Jaeger, Dhani Jones, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Munoz, Annika Sorenstam and six Iron Chefs: Todd English, Doug Keane, Francois De Melogue, Elizabeth Falkner, Beau MacMillan and Julian Serrano.

What made the "escape" unique is that every participant came prepared to meet their heroes on equal ground, to re-examine their legacies and to accelerate their power to make a difference. Without focusing on just one cause or social issue, the weekend coordinated "passion chats" across a spectrum of interests and allowed guests to tackle social problems from a variety of perspectives.

"The 'escape' concept began with a unique opportunity to bring together an amazing group of people for GOOD," said Deanna Castellini, Co-founder of escape for GOOD,, and family owner of the Cincinnati Reds. "What it became was more than any of us ever imagined - a weekend of true bonding, exciting physical challenges, authentic conversations between all participants with each having a truly equal voice.  All of us experienced something larger than ourselves, we each examined our personal legacies as well as the incredible opportunity to work together to make the world a better place. is excited to support the many causes highlighted during the weekend, using our platform to connect the next generation to give back on their own terms and by pursuing their own passion for change."

Daily highlights included cycling with Lance Armstrong, golf clinic with Annika Sorenstam, tennis with Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Andrea Jaeger and Tony Hawk, power workouts with NFL players and others, all balanced out with "passion chats" that included the same mix of athletes and guests.

"The biggest thing was being surrounded by accomplished people who care deeply about their success having a more meaningful purpose. And, even more importantly, they valued collaboration with others to do even more for the next generation and the world around us," Julie Foudy, former captain US women's Soccer Team, Founder Julie Foudy Sports Academy, ESPN analyst.

The theme of service culminated in a celebration of Muhammad Ali's life and legacy, emceed by Johnny Bench. This private celebration featured tributes from nearly all the athletes:

  • Lance Armstrong acknowledged a little known fact that genetics testing had uncovered a distant cousin relationship between Lance and Muhammad;
  • Mia Hamm shared her 6-week old son Garrett with Muhammad and toasted the moment:
  • Ben Utecht, Super Bowl champion, scripted a song for Ali;
  • Iron Chef Elizabeth Falkner created a special birthday cake featuring a Pink Rolls Royce – the car Muhammad had always dreamed of; and
  • American Idol, Richie Law performed Muhammad's favorite song, "Stand by Me."

The weekend "escape" served to connect different segments of the philanthropic world that are not often integrated in discussions, to create a greater understanding of the platform that sport can play in supporting social change, and to empower guests to do more and reach out more intentionally to the next generation as partners in making a difference.

Select testimonials from the event:

"escape for GOOD was a convergence of wonderfully talented, imaginative and intelligent people from all corners of the philanthropic world, who offered up novel ideas and discussions that may change the rubric throughout which future philanthropic models are viewed." -Lonnie Ali, wife of Muhammad Ali and Ali Center Co-Founder

"I have had the opportunity to attend a lot of great events in my life, but escape for GOOD has been the most exciting and meaningful, hands-down. This is the best event I have ever been to.  Ever." - Tom Jackson, NFL analyst for ESPN and former Pro Bowl linebacker for the Denver Broncos

"escape for GOOD provided a glimpse of a power and potential of a new philanthropy fueled by the shared passion of athlete-celebrities and high net-worth families." - Ralph R. Smith, Senior Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation is Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

"The escape for GOOD gathering was an inspiring mix of athletes, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and wonderful organisations like  This unique experience helped to generate some brilliant ideas and catalyse partnerships that will certainly make a difference in the world." - Jean Oelwang, CEO, Virgin Unite

"escape for GOOD super charged my thinking on how to maximize impact for good. I left with concrete ideas on how to improve our philanthropic work and a new network of top caliber thought leaders and in the field. The mix of informal discussions while hiking and running, roundtables and celebrations left me energized and inspired."- Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Charitable Giving and Advocacy, Google, Inc.

"We started the weekend as strangers, but as the conversations wove together through shared meals, Passion Chats, casual discussions and interactive athlete-related experiences, a web of connectivity was formed that created the foundation for this transformational event. escape for GOOD was the turbo boost to jumpstart collaborations that will no doubt have lasting and impactful effect on the world of sports philanthropy." - Joanne Pasternack, director, San Francisco 49'ers Foundation and head of Community Relations

"escape for GOOD is one of the best weekends I have ever been a part of. The setting was impeccable, the experience was a once in a lifetime. But what impressed me most was to hear the passion of the people and action being  taken to make a difference in so many lives." - Anthony Munoz, Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman and President of Anthony Munoz Foundation

ABOUT UGIVE.ORG is a non-profi­t organization, on a mission to catalyze, excite and empower the next generation of volunteers. We make philanthropy relevant to students, guiding them to give their time and talents to help build communities. Since 2007, has provided a platform to connect and capture the impact of more than 70,000 student volunteers across the country. was co-founded by Cris Collinsworth and Deanna Castellini in 2007.

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