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Nazareth Best Buddies Club Receives National Fundraising Award

Published July 22, 2019

Nazareth College’s Best Buddies Club was recognized with a national award for raising nearly $15,000 for the group’s annual Friendship Walk. While at the Best Buddies Leadership Conference at Indiana University-Bloomington, the group earned a top national fundraiser award beating out schools four times the size like the University of South Florida.

Seven Nazareth representatives traveled to Indiana to the international conference in July to learn important skills to becoming leaders and advocates for change and inclusion in their community.

“This is an incredible award and it shows how inclusive our small campus has become in terms of people of all abilities,” said Jaxon Smith, ‘19, who recently graduated from Nazareth. “While at Nazareth I was the president of the Best Buddies Club. In only three years, we’ve worked to make Nazareth an inclusive place free of discrimination for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Many different countries and representatives from all 50 states attend the conference. Best Buddies International is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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Julie Long | Chief PR Officer | 585-389-2456 or

Best Buddies

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.

Jaxon Smith | Spanish ‘19, Miranda Hughes | Occupational Therapy ‘22, Maddie McIntee | Communication Sciences and Disorders ‘22, Jessica Riley | Inclusive Child/Childhood Education and Sociology, Maricela Perez | LifePrep@Naz ‘19, and Simon Aldrich | LifePrep@Naz ‘20 and Alex Aquino LifePrep@Naz '20 (not pictured) traveled to Indiana University Bloomington in late July for the International Best Buddies Leadership Conference.