Natalie Cole to headline sixth annual Evening on the Diamond

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation announced today that Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Natalie Cole will headline the sixth annual Evening on the Diamond, presented by the University of Phoenix, on March 30 at Chase Field. The Foundation’s marquee event raised more than $1.25 million last season and is considered among the top fundraising events in the Valley each year.

“We expect this to be a truly unforgettable night and we are proud that this has become a ‘can’t miss’ event for so many people,” said D-backs Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick. “Evening on the Diamond raises money that we give right back to the local communities of Arizona and I’m really looking forward to all that we have in store this year.”

Cole, who will perform her “Unforgettable” show, is a nine-time Grammy-Award winner whose seminal “Unforgettable…With Love” came out in 1991 and set a new standard for reinventing the Great American Songbook. The CD, which captured six Grammys including Album and Record of the Year, spent five weeks at No. 1 and sold more than eight million copies in the U.S. alone. In 2009, she released “Still Unforgettable,” winning two more Grammys.

Evening on the Diamond has raised more than $6.5 million in its first five years and has included live performances from The Beach Boys, Bill Cosby and Jay Leno, among others. Last year, the event’s live auction raised more than $500,000 and this year, it will feature one-of-a-kind experiences including an African Safari; a road trip with the D-backs including a behind-the-scenes experience with D-backs coaches; and a fishing adventure in Alaska.

University of Phoenix President Dr. Bill Pepicello and his wife, Kris, will serve as dinner co-chairs while the University of Phoenix will be the presenting sponsor of the gala. Lee Hanley, chairman and CEO of Vestar, will receive the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation Community Leadership Award for his philanthropic endeavors to assist Arizona charities and the community throughout the Valley.

“Kris and I are proud to serve as co-chairs of this great event on behalf of the University of Phoenix,” said Pepicello. “We have been to Evening on the Diamond for several years now and it has truly become one of the best fundraisers in the Valley year in and year out.”

Dozens of D-backs players and coaches will be in attendance at the event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Last year, the event drew more than 700 attendees and was ranked by the Phoenix Business Journal as the seventh-largest fundraising event in the Valley. Tables are available for $10,000 and $25,000.

Next month, the D-backs and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation will surpass $30 million in combined donations since their inception in 1998, including more than $4 million in 2011. The organization focuses its charitable efforts in three main areas – homelessness, indigent health care and youth programs of all kinds.

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