Giving thanks for charity through golf
Each year, golf tournaments and related activities raise about $4 billion for charity, according to industry reports.
Millions of this total come from sponsored professional tour events such as the PGA Tour or the LPGA Tour. However, hundreds of local fundraisers generate most of this money.
The pandemic had a significant impact in 2020. Many fundraisers were canceled, postponed or downsized. Logistical, safety and organizational restrictions created significant hurdles to overcome.
Fortunately, the lifting of most COVID activity restrictions helped produce a successful year for Cape Region charity golf in 2021.
Here are a few representative examples.
Paul Caras is a fire police officer for the Milton Fire Department and works as a starter for The Rookery golf course. For the last five years, Caras oversaw the volunteer department’s annual golf fundraiser.
This year’s event generated more than $14,000, about $4,000 above the prior record, according to Caras. He expressed appreciation for the fact that despite limited resources, many businesses and restaurants stepped up to help with the mix of auction and prize options for the participants.
The Cape Henlopen Elks Lodge 2540 held its first Golf Outing to Benefit Veterans Oct. 22 at Mulligan’s Pointe in Georgetown. The event was fully subscribed with 26 foursomes and 42 sponsors. After play, participants convened at the Elks Lodge near Lewes for dinner.
Sponsors provided services, products, cash donations, hole sponsorships and a beverage cart sponsorship.
The tournament generated a net of $7,000 for the Elks Veterans Committee, and proceeds will be distributed for various local veterans’ charitable needs. Organizations receiving Elks support in the past have included the Delaware Veterans Home, a veteran scholarship to Delaware Technical Community College, Frets4Vets for a music scholarship for a PTSD veteran, Canines Assisting Service Heroes for a service dog for a PTSD veteran, and the Home of the Brave.
“The success of this event enables the veterans committee to continue and expand our support of veterans’ needs in Sussex County,” said Bob Trafton, chairman of the lodge’s veterans committee.
The Lewes Historical Society held its second golf tournament Oct. 7 at Peninsula Golf & Country Club. Event proceeds help support the society’s work on historic preservation, educational programming and publications.
Nancy LaMotte of LHS told me the event netted $22,000.
The Trinity Foundation held its 15th annual Golf Tournament Sept. 25 at Heritage Shores Golf Course in Bridgeville.
Money from the event supports community organizations and events focused on local needs, youth leadership development, and health and wellness in Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware, and Dorchester and Caroline counties in Maryland. The tournament is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser. Christine Morris, marketing communications specialist for Trinity Logistics, said this year’s tournament raised $30,000 to this point.
Since 1986, Delaware State Golf Association has generated over $1.4 million for college scholarship stipends to high school seniors demonstrating academic achievement, community service and a love for golf. Many recipients graduated from Cape Henlopen High School and other Sussex County schools.
The primary money-raising vehicle is the late summer/early fall tournament held at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. This year’s event brought in $58,333, more than $14,000 above the 2020 tournament proceeds.
Delmarva Christian Schools held its annual Golf Classic Tournament July 16 at the Heritage Shores Golf Club in Bridgeville. The school’s Accessible Tuition Program assists full-time students tailored to the families’ ability to pay.
The tournament helps offset ATP costs. Head of School Matt Kwiatkowski said, “Support from the community at this event ensures we are able to continue this program.” This year’s event raised more than $60,000 from a field of 140 golfers and 40 sponsors.
“We are appreciative of the golfers, sponsors, volunteers, DCS staff and the team at Heritage Shores for putting on a top-notch tournament,” said DCS Director of Advancement Justin Savini.
Clothing Our Kids is one of most successful grassroots charities to be created in the Cape Region. The organization provides clothing and footwear to needy elementary school-age children throughout Sussex County.
A fall golf tournament at Peninsula G&CC, where many of the charity’s supporters live, became a primary fundraising tool. Held this year on Sept. 27, it added approximately $88,000 to their resources, according to COK’s Kathleen Blouin.
The First Tee of Delaware is part of a national organization supporting junior golf. The First Tee’s programs use golf to develop character and personal growth, without losing sight of the fact that this is a fun game to learn and play.
The Rookery’s long-running annual pro-am to support The First Tee of Delaware took place Nov. 3 and raised more than $6,000, according to Rookery Director of Golf Butch Holtzclaw. That is a $1,500 improvement over 2020’s total.
Brooks Massey, Chris Lowe, David Bloodsworth and Brad DeHaven won the foursome contest, and Jesse Williams of The Peninsula won low ball among the pros.
If you have the time or the dime, please consider participating in these and other charity golf events as part of meeting your own charitable goals in 2022.