Spirited golf tournament will benefit The Immokalee Foundation programs

By Liz Albritten

Don O’Neill and Gerardo Lugo at 2013 Inter-Club Challenge

Don O’Neill and Gerardo Lugo at 2013 Inter-Club Challenge

Foursomes from some of Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities and golf clubs – along with the clubs’ golf pros – will gather at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples Monday, May 5, for the eighth annual Inter-Club Challenge, a lively golf tournament that pits golf club against golf club in a friendly rivalry.

The Inter-Club Challenge is not your typical golf tournament. It is an opportunity to make a difference, as the proceeds from the tournament will support a brighter future for the children of Immokalee through The Immokalee Foundation’s programs. The day is filled with golf, camaraderie and fun, but also with gratification as philanthropic golfers set out to help accomplish goals and to set dreams in motion.

The tournament is under the direction of 2014 Inter-Club Challenge chair and TIF board member Michael Benson, chairman and CEO of Insurance Management Consultants LLC. Joining Benson on the Inter-Club Challenge committee are Chuck Campbell, Kevin Johnson, Don Gunther, Mark Lye, Iain Mossman and Steve Waugh.

Benson said he is happy to give his time and resources to an organization that is getting results, “With a 100 percent graduation rate for students involved in its programs, we know the TIF model works. We are helping to provide education and opportunity to kids and giving hope to a community.”

Steve Smith, Michael Benson, Mark Lye, Dick Schulze and Joe Zednik at 2013 Inter-Club Challenge

Steve Smith, Michael Benson, Mark Lye, Dick Schulze and Joe Zednik at 2013 Inter-Club Challenge

He added that by participating on a small level, individuals may give back in a big way, “For those unfamiliar with the foundation, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about TIF and its mission.

Assisting with the day’s activities and cheering on teams from clubs such as Bay Colony, Bonita Bay, Mediterra and The Old Collier Golf Club will be students from The Immokalee Foundation. The kids will also have the chance to play with the teams, allowing them to interact with their benefactors and pro golfers. The teams, in turn, are able to meet the students whose lives they are directly impacting by taking part in the tournament. For many of these philanthropic golfers, meeting the kids is the best part of the day.

Participation in the Inter-Club Challenge is $1,250 per golfer or $5,000 per foursome. Registration, breakfast and driving range practice begin at 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 9:15 a.m. Lunch will begin at 2 p.m., where prizes will be awarded to the winning men’s and women’s teams, as well as a closest to the pin. Additionally, there are multiple underwriting opportunities available for individuals and corporate partners, including hole sponsorships starting at $750 that help raise additional funds for TIF’s mission in Immokalee.

The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of fundraising events designed to provide students with the tools, opportunities and encouragement needed to succeed at each level of their education and in their careers. Each event is vital to the success of the foundation and its programs.

The largest fundraising event of the season is the Charity Classic Celebration, which will take place Nov. 14 at The Ritz Carlton, Naples. An evening to remember, the event features a live bidding experience called Fund A Dream. Here, guests bid on packages that enable TIF students to have unique life and educational experiences.

Although TIF has enjoyed many accomplishments over the past 20 years, the need still exists to continue its important mission. Each year approximately 80 applications come in from students wishing to Steve Smith, Michael Benson, Mark Lye, Dick Schulze and Joe Zednik at 2013 Inter-Club Challenge take part in TIF and its programs, but only about 30 of those can be accepted due to lack of funding.

The objective is to increase that number and make aspirations come true for more young students.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239.430.9122239.430.9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Liz Allbritten is executive director of The Immokalee Foundation and can be reached at liz.allbritten@immokaleefoundation.org.

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