There are ample opportunities to help fellow exhibit-industry families facing tragic circumstances while working on driving, approach shots and putting strokes this summer and fall.
The 9th Annual Chicago Randy Charity Golf Outing was on Aug. 6 at the Maple Meadows Golf Club in Wood Dale, Ill. Proceeds benefit the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic, which provides financial relief for exhibit industry families stricken by tragedy, such as a death in the family or severe illness.
Participants paid a $150 fee, which included green fees, cart rental, two drinks and dinner. Those who only golfed paid a $100 fee while those who only attended the dinner donated $45. The Chicago event is a preliminary golf outing for the primary event scheduled this fall in Georgia.
More than 80 golfers turned out in perfect weather conditions during what otherwise has been a long, hot summer in Chicago and other parts of the nation. Despite early bad weather in the Windy City, the tournament increased its participation by more than 50 percent with about 30 more golfers participating than last year.
“We had ideal weather. Attendance was way up from last year with between 78 and 88 golfers,” said Nancy Virene, national accounts and operations manager, TERM Group. “I’m hoping to up that number by another 30 golfers next year.”
And greater attendance means even more money raised for the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic held annually near Atlanta. Although actual numbers are not known yet, Virene expects this year’s total to exceed the 2011 total of about $9,000 donated to the main event later this year. The Chicago event is the largest contributor to the annual Randy Smith Memorial near Atlanta, and funds are used to help struggling families involved in the exhibit industry.
The primary Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic is slated for Oct. 23 at the St. Ives Country Club and the Standard Club in Johns Creek, Ga. This year marks the 18th time the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Tournament will be held in Georgia. Golfers may participate with a $250 fee plus another $45 to attend the dinner reception. Individuals also can help sponsor the event with donations of as little as $95.
Last year, the Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic assisted 10 exhibit-industry families with loved ones who either died or became afflicted with serious injuries and illnesses, including several with cancer. Proceeds help families pay medical bills and other costs from obtaining medical care, and more than 70 families have received support since the charity golf tournament began in 1995.
Also scheduled this summer is the sixth annual Tournament of Hope at the Celebration Golf Course on Aug. 24 in Orlando, Fla. Activities planned include hole-in-one, longest drive and closest-to-the-pin contests as well as a raffle and silent auction. Event proceeds have assisted 16 Orlando-area families involved in the exhibit industry when dealing with serious illness or injury or the loss of a family member.
Last year, the tournament raised about $22,000, making a total of about $75,000 raised since during the first five years of the event to help local families. And with participation increasing every year, there is an excellent chance the group will top $100,000 in total funds raised after adding proceeds from this year’s event.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” said Christina Spoon, coordinator, Tournament of Hope, in reference to the possibility of topping $100,000 in total funds raised during the first six years of the Tournament of Hope. “We always get new people and companies that hear about it and join every year. It just keeps growing.”
About 60 golfers have registered for the event with about 100 expected by Aug. 24. And up to 150 are expected to participate in the charitable lunch and auction.
“Registration is going great, and we have two recipients selected. We raised $22,000 last year and should raise more this year,” said Spoon.
This year, proceeds from the Tournament of Hope will be used to provide financial assistance the families of Susan Ellis and Tanya Gray, both members of the International Alliance of the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 835, in dealing with their respective ailments. Individuals can sign up for a round of golf by paying an $85 fee, while foursomes can sign up for a combined $340 per group. Those wishing only to attend the luncheon may do so with a $25 donation. Last year, all proceeds were used to assist Exhibit Employee Union member Mike Black recover from a nearly fatal auto accident and learn to walk again.
The Silverstone Golf Club in Las Vegas hosts the third annual Ryan Kendall Iverson Golf Tournament, which hosted more than 200 golfers during last year’s event. Ryan became handicapped by a rare neurological disorder as an infant and attended the John F. Miller School for Special Education until his death in 2010. His family organizes the annual event with a great deal of assistance from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and Global Experience Specialists.
Unlike many charities, the Iverson Foundation has virtually no overhead with Todd and Bonnie Iverson serving as officers while accepting no pay for the registered 501(c) (3) charity.
“All of the money goes to the school – every penny, every dollar. We don’t want money going to salaries,” said Bonnie Iverson, president and secretary, Iverson Foundation. “It all gets used to buy equipment only for the children. They’ve been buying computers, iPads, software programs and other things.”
The tournament has raised some $70,000 during its first two years with all proceeds donated to the John F. Miller School for Special Education. Individuals and groups of up to four can sign up for the annual event by paying a $90 per-person registration fee that includes green fees, cart rental, practice balls and putting green use as well as breakfast and lunch. And the charitable gold outing has proven to be very popular among the exhibits industry.
“It’s really nice to see the exposition events industry come together for such a great cause,” said Iverson, adding that various exhibits houses, vendors and a mixture of other companies have embraced the event and its cause.