The New York Jets hosted their 20th Annual Kickoff Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday. Jets coaches, players and legends came together at the green carpet event to help raise roughly $750,000 to benefit both the New York Jets Foundation and the Lupus Research Alliance, and to give fans a glimpse of the upcoming year.
Attendees entered the deluxe venue, which has hosted the event since 2007, through Cipriani's golden revolving doors and were welcomed by Jets Flight Crew Cheerleaders lining both sides of the green carpet. Bob Wischusen, the radio voice of the Jets and emcee of the occasion, opened the event by introducing a number of guests, including CEO Christopher Johnson with his mother Mrs. Betty Wold Johnson, President Neil Glat, GM Joe Douglas and many more.
Wischusen then welcomed the Jets players and coaches to the stage and presented a synopsis of the team's "Take Flight" journey and motto. He spoke in depth on the Jets' community service and wide-ranging programming developed by Jets 360 Productions.
"This is the 20th year we've done this, so this is a milestone. This is a really important event for us," Johnson said. "It's our chance to get our entire football team together, the coaches, our fans and supporters. It's our team but it's also a community. It's so important that we do well as a team, but part of that is being a great part of this community and giving back, and so many good things come from what we do here. There are wonderful effects that come from this event, so I couldn't' be happier about this being here today and what it means for the Jets, football, and our community."
Top Photos from the Kickoff Luncheon Benefiting Lupus Research Alliance at Cipriani on Wall Street
Ken Farber, President and CEO of the Lupus Research Alliance, also spoke about the relationship with the Jets and how the luncheon has assisted in providing funds for research, technology and opportunities to find cures for lupus.
"The New York Jets and the Lupus Research Alliance are a great team," Farber said. "Every single penny that we raise at this event goes directly to scientists who are trying to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus. … The New York Jets want a championship more than anything else in the world, and all Jets fans deserve that. But the other thing they're committed to is the community. The community and the community empowerment and helping find treatments and cures for a variety of devastating diseases — that's at the center of what the Jets do too."
Fans later got the opportunity to listen in on exclusive interviews on stage conducted by Wischusen with Jets players such as QB Sam Darnold, S Jamal Adams and LB C.J. Mosley, and received insight into the year ahead from Douglas. Nearly 800 people were in attendance this year for the Jets Kickoff Luncheon, which has helped raise over $12 million over the past two decades.