Outside of striving to make the world a better place through a community mission, one of the most rewarding and humbling parts of working in the nonprofit arena for more than 15 years has been witnessing with a front row seat the faith-affirming, anything-is-possible, dreams-can-come-true generosity from people who want to lend a hand.
A shining example of this was the 2015 Mark Wiebe Golf Classic to benefit Adam’s Camp that we held on September 28 at the magnificent Colorado Golf Club. The No. 1 reason this event represents the single largest fundraising day of the year for Adam’s Camp is a level of generosity from all angles that words cannot adequately describe. Being stewards of this generosity is a responsibility and obligation we do not take lightly. Living up to the trust of this generosity and support inspires us to work hard and be worthy of it.
It all starts with our uncompensated Board of Directors who are so dedicated and passionate about our cause that they generously step forward with to provide us with time, relationships, connections, equipment and expertise. Our outgoing President Bill Harmon creatively devised a package where not one, but 13 (yes, one-three!) companies generously stepped forward to serve as title sponsors for the event, ensuring a monstrous net financial gain. Board member Jim Brennan and his wife Veronica Brennan take the day off from their paying work to spend the day shooting photographs of the event, then haul in and set up their personal audio-visual equipment for our dinner program. Former board member Paige Schuster spent months serving as our event chair running down prizes and locking in small details that added up to a big experience for our players. This list goes on and on.
Then there is Mark and Cathy Wiebe, who have been a large part of this tournament since it started. All year long, they work to gather prizes and figure out ways to make the tournament a standout memory. On the day of the tournament, Mark spends time with each individual golfer, making them feel like an old friend. It is not every day that a British Open Champion tells you a story about playing with Tom Watson or that you put a nice swing on the ball. Same goes for Tom Green, who generously serves as our Emcee and brings his legendary ability to engage and entertain a crowd and provides too many laughs to remember.
Where the generosity truly became overwhelming was after the last putt was made and all the golfers gathered for dinner to celebrate the day. Board member Jeff DePasse (who worked tirelessly to help improve the tournament experience) and his wife Melina set a great tone for the celebration by courageously sharing the story of their daughter Ally, a long-time Adam’s Camper, and the impact that Adam’s Camp has had on their family.
“We come out here and we play some golf and have some laughs and think, ‘this is fun and we are doing good.’ Then you hear Melina and it makes you stop and say, ‘wow, so what we are doing here is real and does have a big impact.’ That’s very cool,” Mark said at the end of the event.
After hearing Melina’s stirring speech, we held our live auction for nine marquis items, and nobody held back, with all the generous bidding leaping over where we had hoped. A breathtakingly generous highlight was golfer Sanjay Mehta finally winning a torrid auction for an NFL football autographed by Peyton Manning, only to immediately present it to Melina as he knew she and Jeff are big football fans.
(Melina and Sanjay, with Peyton Manning autographed football)
After our auction, it was time to beg for scholarship support for Adam’s Camp families who need financial assistance to participate in our programs. After asking people to pay to play in the tournament, buy mulligans and bid on auction items, I was a little sheepish to ask for more, but my reservations quickly melted as arms shot in the air to donate in return for nothing other than the satisfaction of helping families attend Adam’s Camp. Who were the first to raise their hands? Adam’s Camp board members, whose example motivated many in the crowd to join in. It was a stunning, humbling display of generosity.
To think that a simple golf tournament would net more than $150,000 in a single year, and would be responsible for $1 million collectively raised in 10 years, no matter how great the cause, seems implausible. Implausible, that is, until our golf tournament screamed with the power of a 100-watt amplifier to remind us: “never underestimate the power of generosity when it comes to Adam’s Camp!”
(Adam’s Camp Executive Director Jay Clark experienced his first “Mark Wiebe Adam’s Camp Golf Classic.” Please pardon any typos)