Meet the Founders of Golf to Give, Darren and Scott
As we head into peak Golf season in the NW, one event we look forward to each year is the Golf to Give Challenge. In terms of fun and fundraising, it exceeds expectations each and every year. We talked to the founders of Golf to Give, Darren and Scott, to learn more about why they started it, and what keeps them motivated each year.
What inspired you two to create Golf to Give?
In brief, Scott and I (Darren) played a round one day. Afterwards, we were having a beer and Scott said â€œWouldnâ€™t it be cool if we could write a check for like 5 or 10 grand for a good cause?â€ We ordered another beer and kept talking. We decided that we have both played in a ton of golf tournaments, we both know how to throw a helluva party, and we have a great social circle, both personally and professionally. That night we searched and bought the domain name www.golftogive.com
Over the next few weeks and months, we put a plan together and started looking at charities. We wanted something local that helped the people in our community. One night, we were having another beer (we do that a lot 🙂 and I said â€œwhat about Candlelighters?â€ Before Scott could answer, a mutual friend that was sitting at the table behind us said, â€œExcuse me, did you say Candlelighters?â€ Scott asked him what he knew about it and our friend replied something to the effect of â€œMy daughter had cancer. It was terrible. I lost everything. My job. My house. My marriage. Everything. But because of those people, my daughter is alive today.â€ Scott turned to me and said â€œDone. set it up.â€ We reached out to Candlelighters and met at Starbucks. That day, we committed to giving $5000. Even if we didnâ€™t raise it all, we shook hands and said we would split the difference to get there.
The way I learned about Candlelighters was that when I was in high school, my family participated in a small snowmobile fundraiser. We had a pancake feed and auction and we gave Candlelighters and their families rides. I gave a little girl a ride with the group and we stopped at a lake a few minutes away. A photographer from the Oregonian rode on another snowmobile and took pictures. She looked out over the scenery and said â€œthis is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I wish I could come backâ€ I replied â€œwe do this every year, just come find me.â€ She (her name is Beccy)said â€œI donâ€™t think I can.â€ I didnâ€™t understand why. And I didnâ€™t for a long time. I didnâ€™t realize that she was dealing with a life threatening condition. I still carry that article with me every day.
Back to the present, on a Wednesday morning in April of 2017 I attended the cancer warrior breakfast to promote the event. After the breakfast, Candlelighters asked me what they could do to support us. I shared that we had everything worked out, we just needed participants. I then shared that I had told the story about the girl from the snowmobile with a lot of people. Many asked what happened and at the time I didnâ€™t know. I shared that I was finally ready to learn the outcome. Candlelighters shared that they might not be able to tell me because of the private nature but they would look into it. 3 days later, my wife and I came home Friday evening after having dinner. I opened my email and to my surprise, I had an email from Beccy. We connected for dinner and I shared our story. That is when she shared that she became a pediatric cancer nurse and worked at Randall Childrenâ€™s Hospital. She asked if she could come to the tournament and volunteer and of course we said yes.
As we were getting close to ready for the tournament, we knew that we were going to reach our $5000 goal. So, we set a stretch goal of $10,000. Mark, the gentleman with the daughter, who survived cancer, asked if he could come to the tournament. He said he didnâ€™t play golf and didnâ€™t really have anything to donate, but he wanted his kids to see the effort that went into supporting Candlelighters. The morning of the event, Scott and I were standing there with a couple other people, including Beccy when Mark showed up with his daughters. As they were walking across the parking lot, his daughter looked up and saw Beccy and the two of them ran towards each other and embraced deeply. None of us knew what was happening. Thatâ€™s when Beccy turned to the group and said â€œoh my goodness! I took care of Sarah when she was at Randall Childrenâ€™s Hospital!â€
We all looked at each other, and with tear filled eyes knew that the months and months of planning in the hundreds of hours that went into building a golf tournament and recruiting golfers and sponsors was worth every bit of the effort.
By the way, we didnâ€™t make our stretch goalâ€¦ We didnâ€™t donate $10,000. We donated $19,000. The next year, it wasnâ€™t really a decisionâ€¦ All of our golfers had a great time and wanted to do it again! So we set up a second year. Year two we donated another $19,000. Year three we donated $33,500. Year four (2020 during the pandemic) we werenâ€™t sure if we were going to be able to hold the tournamentâ€¦ But we did and we donated $50,000. Our fifth year was our largest donationâ€¦ We were able to donate $66,000 Last year, year six we donated $62,500. In six years, two guys who had an idea while drinking a beer and a goal of donating $5000 were able to donate $250,000 to Candlelighters For Children With Cancer.
What exactly does Golf to Give entail for participants?
We throw a full service golf tournament that includes play, driving range, cart, gift bag, lunch, all the beer you can safely drink, and a great atmosphere for a great cause. We know people can play golf for less money but everybody who is involved does this to help the kids and they do it with a smile on their face.
What is one memorable experience that has proven why you guys continue to organize Golf to Give year after year?
see the above two answers, if somebody needs more of a reason than thatâ€¦ I donâ€™t know what it would be.
What is your favorite part of Golf to Give?
My favorite part is the community and the good. We are able to do by all going out and just having a great time
How can individuals help support Golf to Give?
So many ways!
1. Participate as a golfer.
2. Participate as a sponsor. We have opportunities at many levels for people to be involved.
3. Purchase Helicopter golf balls .
4. Donate through our website.
5. Donate gifts in kind for player bags and auction items.
6. Share our story.
Will this year’s event be the same as last years?Â
It will be exactly the same except more fun!