Miracles for Kids held its fourth annual Golf Invitational fundraiser on Monday at Orange County’s Santa Ana Country Club. I was invited to cover it, and having had a recent encounter with this charitable organization, I was delighted to do so.
In February, I did a Feel-Good Friday feature on the non-profit’s project manager Ruby Foster, so it was nice to see the organization at work. Founded in 2002, the charity supports children suffering from catastrophic and critical illnesses–and their families–with resources that include year-round financial assistance, wellness programs, housing, and providing of basic needs.
The closest I have ever come to being a sports enthusiast is baseball. It is the only game I can claim to actually understand. On the other hand, Golf? It remains a mystery why anyone wants to watch people try to get a small ball into a small hole from a great distance. But since it is one of the most common sports used to frame fundraisers of this kind, who needs to understand it? It’s a draw for the common man, as well as the well-to-do.
It is probably the well-to-do who are the main targets, as they traffic in these types of elite settings; and the Santa Ana Country Club is definitely an elite venue. While Santa Ana’s club is not Augusta National, it boasts a 73.4 USGA rating, which according to those in the know, is a challenge for semi- and professional golfers. The greens have a pristine elegance, which was enhanced with a recent $6.5 million upgrade to the pathways and landscaping. So, participants in the invitational were some of the first to experience the fresh remodel. I haven’t covered a non-political event in over seven years, but I recall that the high point of doing so was that I literally got to see how the other half lives, without having to pay for the privilege.
As it happened, Ruby Foster was one of the first faces I encountered when I arrived at the course. Foster was delighted to give me information on the lay-of-the-day, as well as the importance of putting on this type of invitational in terms of fundraising for the org.
Last year, Miracles for Kids raised over $200,000. This year, they are hoping to achieve that same level of contributions. With a lineup of sponsors like Perricone Farms, TRAFFIK, Fletcher Jones Motorcars, Tito’s Vodka, Marcus & Millichap, and a host of others, they no doubt exceeded it.
The heart of this non-profit is Co-Founder and CEO Autumn R. Streier. She was the radiant host and face of the event, greeting and posing for photos with the celebrity guests and golfers, ensuring everyone from volunteers to media got something to eat, and reinforcing the message that,
“it’s the community involvement that helps us put this together.”
And with any fundraiser, the celebrity presence is icing on the cake. From social media influencers, to musicians, to reality and sports stars, the course was peppered with the glitterati, some there to enjoy the fun and to be eye candy, others there to actually get involved in the game.
Slade Smiley and Gretchen Rossi from The Real Housewives of Orange County were primed to try out the 18-hole course. Smiley shared his own experience with his son, who was battling a life-altering illness, and why organizations like Miracles for Kids are so important.
There would be no event without the sponsors, whether that be funding or product. Co-founder Dan Markel of BURN180 described why sponsoring Miracles for Kids is a privilege, the importance of supporting families and helping them to remain whole, and his unique product.
Fundraisers are not only about pulling in money; they are about bringing together the community to not only increase awareness of the non-profit’s goals, but the difference that is made when the community is united around concerns that affect it. We have seen communities come under attack these last few years, but we have also seen how the community comes together to undergird and protect what is most important.
The Orange County community rallied around Miracles for Kids to support the pivotal work that they do for children and families, and contributed in whatever way they could toward that work. This is of infinite importance, and part of what makes America great.
If one must be up early in the morning, this was not a bad way to have spent it.