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Miracles on the Golf Course

Written by Jim Hartlieb, President and Board Member

“Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle.” – Unknown

What can I say about golf. Like anyone, at times I find it frustrating. Successful golf games don’t seem to follow any rhyme or reason. Sometimes the more competitive you feel, the worse you play, and the day you go out with no expectations, you have your best game ever. So when we were planning the First Business Golf Invitational for Charity seven years ago, we knew we’d get some competitive local business leaders who would bring their “A” game to the event. What we didn’t accurately gauge was the extent of their generosity.

This year did not disappoint. In fact, there were more players this year than ever, and more money raised for charities. While First Business picks up the cost of the tournament, each two-person team donates $1,500 to the pot — 100% goes straight to local charities — so we’re talking $48,000 of donations for this one-day event. In the years we’ve hosted it, the First Business Golf Invitational for Charity has raised almost $300,000 for nonprofits.

First place this year went to Canopy Center/Dane County CASA, a small nonprofit that works to treat sexually abused children. The winning team who played for this charity specifically cited its mission of working with children and its small budget as factors in their decision to choose this charity.

Donna Fox, the executive director of the Canopy Center, said she came to the golf reception in good spirits and was thinking that 5th place ($2,000) would be an amazing boost to their budget this year. Much to her surprise, she left knowing a $28,000 donation was headed to the Canopy Center! She said she was trembling and in disbelief, and she couldn’t fathom everything they’d be able to do with the windfall — how many kids they’d be able to help.

I’ve come to see the golf event as a gathering of friends, business associates and colleagues, all from amazingly generous companies. And with that, I can forgive the ‘endless series of tragedies’ that seem to plague my golf game on occasion — the miracles that happen as a result are more than worth it.

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