Sawgrass Country Club Board and Strategic Planning Committee express a desire to find a way to support our staff, demonstrate commitment to our employees, and foster the feeling of an outstanding place to work. A sub group, led by William Palmer, suggest a Foundation be formed with the possible objective of offering scholarships.
A retiring Board member volunteers to lead the start of a Foundation focused on scholarships for employees and their families. An outstanding group of experienced members is assembled and administrative steps started. It is determined that it is important to have a Foundation Board independent of the Club Board and management.
It is discovered that the Foundation is able to provide direct support to staff impacted by a national crisis, namely the Covid-19 pandemic. A charter is adopted to provide both crisis relief and scholarships to employees and their families.
A 501c3 charitable organization that will help collect money from members and distribute relief payments to staff during the COVID-19 pandemic is established. CPA John Brantley helps register the Sawgrass Foundation with the IRS and a board of directors is established.
The Foundation distributes its initial round of stipends to sixty five employees, thanks to the generous donations from more than 225 Sawgrass members. The Sawgrass Foundation website is launched with great success, spearheaded by Board member Ken Schulz.
The Foundation distributes its second round of stipends, provided by the the more-than 250 Sawgrass members who collectively contributed more than $70,000 over the two rounds of payments.
The Foundation debuts its scholarship program for Sawgrass staff and their dependents. A Scholarship Committee is formed to manage the process, led by Cathy Wichert.
Additionally, the first fund raising event was held as a part of the Greenkeepers’s revenge tournament and raised more than $4200 from Sawgrass golfers.
July & August 2020
Scholarship applications begin to come in, already 6 by the end of August and 7 for the spring term, showing the need and desire for this assistance.
An annual report is created demonstrating the success to date with over $121,000 in contributions. Acknowledgment letters were sent to all 400 members who contributed. Our first mentor stepped forward to offer advice to students.
The new Clubhouse opening Gala was held with 400+ members attending. The Foundation posted pictures of scholars, distributed reply cards, and talked to scores of members about our mission and needs. Posters continue to be placed around the Club to encourage participation.
Our first graduate received a degree. It was Teresa Buffalino, wife of Dario Lucic in Fitness, who obtained a Masters Degree in Orientation and Mobility/Visual Disabilities from North Carolina Central University. Teresa works at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.
Contributions during the Greenkeeper’s Revenge Golf Tournament resulted in over $8000 from members.
The year ended with scholarships for 10 people and prospects for more in 2022. During the year, 262 donors contributed a total of $100,000 to our cause.
The women’s and men’s member-member tournaments were opportunities for raffles/auctions that resulted in approximately $8,000 in donation to the Foundation.
We began assistance to staff with particularly acute hardships such as medical issues, funeral expenses and personal emergencies. Four cases were approved during summer 2022.
The Greenkeeper’s Revenge tournament provided the opportunity for each golfer to have a pro hit a shot for them in return for a donation too the Foundation. Approximately $8,000 was also raised here.
The 2022 Annual Report was published. We raised over $105,000 from 327 different donors. We funded 32 semesters of scholarships and 8 cases of acute hardship. Only $900 in expenses were required. Total disbursements were approximately $80,000.
The first annual Foundation Day was held very successfully with over $30,000 raised. See our special section for more details.