Bailey ups the ante for Sir Elton’s AIDS fundraiser

Bobbie Bailey gives largest gift ever received by Sir Elton John's AIDS charity event; challenges others to match

Georgia (Oct 14, 2008) — Longtime Kennesaw State University supporter and KSU Foundation trustee Bobbie Bailey helped Sir Elton John's Advanta WTT Smash Hits charity tennis event raise more than $400‚000 on Sunday‚ Oct. 12. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund. The event was held at KSU's Convocation Center.

Bailey opened a pre−match reception — attended by 600 VIP ticket holders — with a $100‚000 challenge grant prior to the opening of a live auction. Bailey's gift was the largest one given by an individual in the event's 16−year history.

"We're Georgians‚ and this foundation helps people in Georgia with HIV/AIDS‚" Bailey said. "We appreciate Sir Elton John and his foundation for everything they've done‚ and we're going to help them today."

According to John‚ the South has become a "boiling point for AIDS in America."

"All of the money raised here today will stay here in the Atlanta market and in Georgia‚" John said at a press conference during the Oct. 12 fundraiser. "Forty six percent of AIDS cases are now being reported in the South. We are distinctly aware of the problems here and the South will continue to be a priority for the foundation."

The first item up for auction was a black piano bench John used on a recent concert tour.

"If you buy it‚ I'll sign it for you‚ and I'll sit on it again for you‚" he said‚ driving the final bid up to $8‚500.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King co−hosted the tournament with John‚ who was also joined by tennis superstars Andy Roddick‚ Anna Kournikova and Martina Navratilova‚ as well as up−and−coming players Jesse Levine and Marietta's Melanie Oudin.

Other auction items included two Wimbledon packages with King's personal center−court seats‚ which sold for $21‚000 each; a Super Bowl package; artwork created by Navratilova; and a private‚ hour−long tennis lesson with Roddick‚ which fetched $15‚000 from a female fan.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit