Bausch & Lomb Championships Partners with Rally Jacksonville!

April 03, 2008  

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton today announced that the 2008 Bausch & Lomb Championships will again partner with RALLY Jacksonville! to further strengthen the initiative by donating $1 for every ticket sold to the tournament's day session on Tuesday, April 8. All monies raised will be used to support RALLY Jacksonville!, an effort to enhance early literacy.

“We are delighted to partner with the Bausch & Lomb Championships for the second time to celebrate literacy and raise money for this important initiative,” said Mayor John Peyton. “This generous donation will help arm our children with some of the critical tools they need to enter school ready to learn and succeed.”

RALLY Jacksonville! is a fantastic initiative. We believe the Bausch & Lomb Championships can help bring awareness to the Mayor's program. Certainly the combination of physical activity and education is a great message to deliver to the First Coast youth,” stated tournament director, John Arrix.

Along with raising money for the initiative, the tournament has arranged for a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player (to be announced) to visit the Don Brewer Early Learning Center on Tuesday, April 8, at 10 a.m. Children at the center will have the unique opportunity meet one of the top player's in women's professional tennis and listen as she reads a selected story.

“The Tour and our players are committed to supporting the local communities and social causes across the globe,” stated Stacey Allaster, President of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “This program supported by the Bausch & Lomb Championships and the Mayor of Jacksonville is a wonderful opportunity for the players to work with children and encourage them to build on fundamentals, such as reading, in order to open as many doors in the future as possible.”

In addition, members of the Mayor's Book Club from Happy Acres Ranch childcare center and their families will join Mayor John Peyton for an official recognition presentation on Stadium Court during the Bausch & Lomb Championships semifinals on Saturday, April 12 at approximately 2 p.m.

RALLY Jacksonville!, otherwise known as the Mayor's Literacy Initiative, is Mayor John Peyton's plan to get every child ready to read. This strategy will make early literacy a core value in Jacksonville, improve the quality of childcare centers, and increase the number of children who are ready for school at the beginning of kindergarten.

Now in its fourth year, RALLY Jacksonville! has garnered remarkable community support. More than 34,000 pre-kindergartners have joined the Mayor's Book Club, more than one million books have been distributed to low-income families, individuals work to improve the quality of hundreds of childcare centers and a rating system is being piloted to help parents make smart choices about their child's care.

To learn more about RALLY Jacksonville!, visit the Jacksonville Children's Commission online at www.jaxkids.net or call (904) 630-4754.

The Bausch & Lomb Championships is a premier women's professional tennis tournament, part of the worldwide Sony Ericsson WTA Tour consisting of more than 1,400 players representing 75 nations competing for $60 million in prize money at the Tour's 63 events in 35 countries. The 2008 Bausch & Lomb Championships is set to take place April 7-12 at the oceanfront resort of Amelia Island Plantation in Amelia Island, Fla. The historically rich tournament annually features many of the top names and up-and-coming stars in women's professional tennis and is one of the most anticipated stops on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour for both players and fans. Tickets for the 2008 Bausch & Lomb Championships are now available. For daily tickets, box seats and package information call (800) 486-8366 or visit the tournament web site at blchamps.com.

The Bausch & Lomb Championships is managed and owned by Octagon, the world's largest sports and entertainment representation and marketing agency with global expertise in consulting, athletes & personalities, event management, property representation, marketing solutions, licensing and merchandising and talent procurement. As part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services, Octagon employs more than 1,000 people in 60 offices around the world. For further information please visit: www.octagon.com.

Bausch & Lomb is the eye health company, dedicated to perfecting vision and enhancing life for consumers around the world. Its core businesses include soft and rigid gas permeable contact lenses and lens care products, and ophthalmic surgical and pharmaceutical products. The Bausch & Lomb name is one of the best known and most respected healthcare brands in the world. Founded in 1853, the Company is headquartered in Rochester, New York. Bausch & Lomb employs approximately 13,700 people worldwide and its products are available in more than 100 countries. More information about the Company is on the Bausch & Lomb Web site at www.bausch.com. Copyright Bausch & Lomb Incorporated.