Milton Verret, an Austin entrepreneur and philanthropist who works with a number of charities, both locally and nationally, kicked of the festivities ahead of the US Grand Prix in style. Verret hosted a private VIP event at his Lake Travis home, nicknamed Acqua Villa. The home was designed by award-winning architect Winn Wittman, Aqua Villa is a visually sweeping tour-de-force of luxury, green technology, and modern aesthetics.

Verret has made available hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to nearly a dozen non-profit organizations including the Make a Wish Foundation of Central Texas and the Superhero Kids Fund of the Children’s Blood Cancer Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Many of Verret’s philanthropic endeavors are well-known in the Austin community. Verret’s donations from the 2007 GuitarTown auction are now displayed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and, as a major underwriter, Verret made possible the 2011 CowParade Austin campaign, which raised nearly $1.5 million for the Superhero Kids Fund.