Tourneys an ace for non-profits?

Local groups looking to the links to raise funds
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Many Auburn non-profits are hoping locals will get out their drivers to drive fundraising efforts. With golf tournaments springing up weekly on local greens, tournament chairs, like Theresa Fultz of Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice, have had to plan creative ways to attract participants. Fultz said the hospice tournament on Friday at The Ridge is offering youth, ages 10 to 14, the opportunity to compete with and against adults. “It is unique to this tournament,” Fultz said. “I’m a golfer myself and we like to see the upcoming talent. They must meet certain criteria and actually be proficient.” Fultz said she is hoping the chance for youth to play and a blind bogie handicap, which allows players of any level the chance to win, will be two features that attract people to the tournament. Fultz said Sutter Auburn Faith is aiming for the four-person scramble to raise $20,000 to go toward the local hospice program. Currently, about 90 people are signed up with 144 being the ultimate goal. Fultz said hospice was a comfort to her and now is her chance to give back to the program. “My mom had hospice care and I was so impressed that when I retired and was looking to give back to the community I chose hospice,” Fultz said. “An example of how we use hospice is during the winter in Colfax and other outlying areas when they lost all the power hospice brought them to Auburn and put them up in hotels. The net will go to reinforce these funds.” Fultz also said no one is turned away from hospice for lack of funds. Ayden Danovaro, 10, attends Bowman Charter Elementary School. Ayden, who has been golfing since he was 8, said he is looking forward to competing with his father Andy. They play golf together every Sunday. “I saw hospice help my great grandpa a lot and it helped my grandma get through a lot of stuff,” Ayden said. “I want to give back.” Ayden said he hopes to play in the PGA one day, but until then he will hone his skills in local tournaments. Mindy Danovaro, Ayden’s mother and the Executive Director of the Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation said with so many tournaments in Auburn, the hospice tournament is impacted. She is hoping the youth price is a draw for tournament go-ers. The Auburn Fire Department is hosting the sixth Auburn Fire Open June 24. Auburn Fire Captain Tom Carlisle said the department raises $6,000-$7,000 per year on average to benefit the Auburn Hook and Ladder Auxiliary. Funds from this year’s tournament will be the final dollars needed to restore the old fire house on the corner of Lincoln Way and El Dorado Street. Next year’s tournament proceeds will go toward restoring fire truck from 1935. Carlisle said local business have gotten on board to sponsor the event, though many participants are from outside Auburn. That helps draw more people, according to Carlisle. “It’s a hodge podge of supporters,” Carlisle said. “They are supporters of the fire department, locals and fireman. Some come from all over the state.” Nella Oil of Auburn runs a tournament that raises about $50,000 each September to benefit the Special Olympics. Nella Oil Marketing Director, Shelly Thomas, said that while the tournament is not open to the public and is for vendors like Coke and Red Bull, who have products in their convenience stores, she has picked up some principles for running a successful benefit tournament. While Nella Oil aims for 144 participants, they have had as many as 160. “It’s pretty competitive as far as spots go, but on the course we just have a good time. We like to decorate holes with different things,” Thomas said. “They have a good time out there. It just gets better every year.” Thomas said the tournament generates the most revenue for the Special Olympics out of all of the fundraisers they hold each year. Organization is the key to running a successful tournament, according to Thomas. “Plan ahead and make a checklist,” Thomas said. “We are planning now and it’s not until September.” For Andy Danovaro, the draw of playing with his son, make the hospice tournament an easy choice. “This is the first time he will play all 18 holes. So we are going to see how he handles his game with that,” Danovaro said. “His first time playing golf with me was about equal to his first ride on a motorcycle with me. I looked down, saw him sitting beside me and got goose bumps.” Reach Sara Seyydin at