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The tournament has now raised more than $500,000 towards awards, bursaries, and emergency funds for students at the College since it began in 1991.
On Thursday, May 26, nearly 150 players walked the fairways of Okanagan Golf Club to celebrate the anniversary, reflect on what has been accomplished, and add to the fundraising total.
“From day one, this tournament has always been about helping students,” says Terry Flannigan, one of the tournament’s founders and a past Director of Development for the College (1991-1995). “Over the years, the Foundation has done a tremendous job of carrying it on and building it up, and the response from the community has been nothing short of terrific.”
Flannigan has played almost every year since the tournament’s inception. He says the continued popularity of the fundraiser, despite competition from many other charity tournaments throughout the spring and summer, is a testament to the way in which the region embraces the College’s mission to transform lives and communities.
“I think people in the Okanagan appreciate the College’s efforts to make education accessible to a wide array of learners,” he notes. “That mission really seems to resonate with a lot of people, and the legacy of this tournament is proof of that.”
Since 1991, more than 3,000 golfers and 600 sponsors have supported the tournament, with many returning each year, such as 2016 title sponsor Western Financial Group, which has now been the title sponsor for more than a decade.
“The 25th annual golf tournament proved to be one of the best,” said Western Financial Group’s Senior Vice President Sales – Pacific, Greg McGill. “We had great support from all the sponsors and golfers. Western is proud to be part of this prestigious event and we are looking forward to next year’s tournament.”
Scotiabank, another returning supporter, once again matched donations raised through a contest prize raffle; to cap off the evening, Vernon Branch Manager, Sales and Service Gladys Fraser presented the foundation with a cheque for $3,455.
“Scotiabank employees are proud to continue to support Okanagan College through the Foundation golf tournament,” said Fraser. “This is our 9th tournament directly volunteering to raise funds. Many of our customers and employees benefit from the educational offerings provided by Okanagan College and our employees are happy to volunteer to make a difference.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the way this year’s 25th anniversary tournament played out,” says Okanagan College Foundation’s Executive Director Kathy Butler. “We had another tremendous response from golfers, from sponsors, and from businesses around the valley.”
And as impressive as the $500,000 milestone may be, Butler says the philanthropic ripple effect generated by the event is far greater.
“This tournament really has helped to build and grow relationships with our donors,” explains Butler. “It’s an event everyone can feel good about being a part of—especially when you consider that the funds raised have impacted literally hundreds of Okanagan College students over the years.”
The Okanagan College Foundation would like to acknowledge the support of title sponsor Western Financial Group and media sponsor The Capital News, and many others that contributed to another successful event this year.