Philanthropic foursomes from nine of Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities, golf clubs and The Immokalee Foundation corporate sponsors, along with local club golf pros, recently gathered at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples to participate in the 2014 Inter-Club Challenge, a lively golf tournament that pits local golf clubs against each other in a friendly rivalry to support a brighter future for the children of Immokalee through The Immokalee Foundation’s education programs. The eighth annual tournament raised $151,268 to benefit Immokalee’s youth.
The tournament included 19 foursomes from area country clubs along with area club golf pros. At day’s end, the Bay Colony team was overall team champions and both the men’s and ladies’ winning teams were from The Old Collier Golf Club. The overall team champions from Bay Colony were Joyce Hagen Fites, Don Fites, Carol Lund, Tom Lund with golf pro Jeff Raimer. The winning men’s team included Clint Harkins, Rick Zona, Dick Stonesifer and Nick Trigony, with pro Steve Waugh. The women’s winning team was Carrie Scanell, Rene Zona, Eileen Golden and Ann Bain, with golf pro Brian Yarusevich. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Harry Rose, Mediterra; Mike Lyons, Bonita Bay; Skip Hildebrand, Mediterra; and Alice Sanneman, The Old Collier Golf Club. The team from Bonita Bay, consisting of Don Boudreau, Bob Herdman, John Howard, Mike Lyons and pro Rick Nalyd, was the winner of the putting contest.
Kevin Johnson, a TIF board member and member of the Inter-Club committee, was pleased with the event, “The day was awesome. Course conditions were great and we had fun playing.” Most importantly though, was the reason they were all there, “The Inter-Club Challenge provides the unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Immokalee students by giving them the chance to advance themselves socially, civically, economically and academically through TIF programs.”
A team of TIF students, consisting of Alan Cuevas, Charity Gonzalez, Heather Martinez and Rolby Seneus, played as a foursome alongside PGA Professional Mark Fogg. The tournament allowed the students the opportunity to interact with their benefactors and pro golfers. Cuevas, a junior at Immokalee High School and a TIF Take Stock in Children student, not only enjoyed playing in the tournament, but also appreciates the lessons gained through golf, “Golf teaches you patience, builds communication skills and is a great way to network.”
For the TIF supporters, having the opportunity to meet the students whose lives they are directly impacting is often their favorite part of the annual tournament.
“Through TIF, we are giving kids the opportunity to have a career and solid education,” Johnson said. “Seeing how they’ve have grown and matured each year is such a good feeling.”
David Call, a member of the TIF board of directors, appreciates that TIF “takes care of a lot of people. You are able to see where all the money goes. You can see it firsthand – almost every dollar goes back to helping kids in Immokalee.”
Michael Benson, 2014 Inter-Club Challenge chair and TIF board member, is happy to be part of an organization that is making a big different in a community that needs help, “The Immokalee Foundation is a phenomenal, results-oriented organization. One hundred percent of the 700 plus students in the program have graduated.”
The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of annual fundraising events aimed to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, the 2014 Charity Classic Celebration, is slated for Nov. 14 at The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, Naples. The Charity Classic Pro-Am tournament at The Old Collier Golf Club, will take place Monday, Nov. 17.
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about TIF, signature events, volunteer opportunities or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.