Founder and CEO, Bill Austin, Acknowledged for Bringing the Gift of Hearing to Those in Need
MINNEAPOLIS, May 3, 2012 – Celebrities, athletes, actors and honorees convened in Phoenix on March 24 for the star-studded 18th annual Celebrity Fight Night fundraising event. Nearly 1,300 people attended, including one of the night’s honorees, Founder and CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies and Starkey Hearing Foundation, Bill Austin. During the event, Starkey Hearing Foundation supporter Miley Cyrus presented Austin with an award for his charity work and tireless efforts to fit more than 100,000 hearing aids to underprivileged children and adults around the world each year.
“Bill will not rest until every child that has the ability to hear can hear. Believe me, I have seen this firsthand,” said Cyrus in her speech. “I had the opportunity to join Bill and the Starkey Hearing Foundation team twice last year in Haiti. The experience changed my life and filled me with hope.”
Austin was grateful to be recognized alongside the evening’s other honorees: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, and founders of Discount Tires, Bruce and Diane Halle.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized at an event such as Celebrity Fight Night,” said Austin. “The Foundation’s mission – So The World May Hear – is the driving force behind our efforts to assist the hearing impaired both domestically and internationally. This work has had a profound impact on my life, and I will continue to spread awareness about the importance of hearing health as we fulfill our commitment to fit one million hearing aids to those in need by the end of the decade.”
In addition to his philanthropic accomplishments, Austin has also been a business leader over the course of his career. He turned a small earmold laboratory he purchased for $13,000 in 1967 into Starkey Hearing Technologies, the largest hearing aid manufacturer in the United States.
“No matter how much success he achieves in the business world, Bill Austin will always be defined by his caring heart, generosity and steadfast belief that the gift of hearing can change the world,” said Brandon Sawalich, Senior Vice President of Starkey Hearing Technologies. “He embodies the idea that we live through what we give, and I applaud Celebrity Fight Night for recognizing that.”
This year’s Celebrity Fight Night benefit raised more than $9 million for various charities including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at St. Joseph’s Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. After the third annual Celebrity Fight Night event, the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards were established to acknowledge supporters in the cure for Parkinson’s Disease, which Ali was diagnosed with in 1984.
For more information about Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit StarkeyHearingFoundation.org.
About Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation is striving to foster greater understanding among individuals and communities through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education, protection and treatment so the world may hear. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. From 2000 to 2010, Starkey Hearing Foundation fit more than 500,000 hearing aids to people in need in the U.S. and around the world. The Foundation has grown that commitment to more than 100,000 hearing aids annually and is dedicated to fitting one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit StarkeyHearingFoundation.org.
About Starkey® Hearing Technologies
Starkey Hearing Technologies is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn. The company is recognized for its innovative design, development and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Founded in 1967, Starkey Hearing Technologies currently employs more than 3,500 people, operates 21 facilities and conducts business in more than 100 markets worldwide. The company develops, manufactures and distributes hearing aids via five distinct brands – Audibel, AudioSync, NuEar, MicroTech and its original brand, Starkey. For more information, visit StarkeyHearingTechnologies.com