In golf, you may drive for show and putt for dough, but it’s what you do with that money that truly makes a statement about your sportsmanship. Matt Olson and some of his closest friends are putting their putters where their hearts are – with children battling tough medical conditions at Cincinnati Children’s.
“My family has been doing charitable golf outings for years,” Matt said. “Eight years ago, four of my buddies who are passionate about golf came to me to see how we could start our own charitable golf outing.”
The Cincinnati Golfers for Charity was born. Each year, they choose a different beneficiary that helps children. Several divisions and departments at Cincinnati Children’s have benefited, like the Kelly O’Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Division of Rheumatology, Cincinnati Children’s Hearing Aid Trust and, this year, the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (CCED).
The CCED is especially close to the hearts of Matt’s family since his daughter has eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) – a devastating disease that causes the body to treat food like a foreign invader and attack internal organs.
“Cincinnati Children’s has the best researchers and doctors working on finding a cure for EE,” he says. “We don’t think she will live her whole life with this disease because of the work they are doing.”
And Matt isn’t the only one whose family has been personally impacted by the Cincinnati Golfers for Charity’s contributions.
“When the board is deciding on the beneficiary for the year, we like to help people we know. We like to see who really needs the money and how much that can affect children,” Matt says. “We want to have a big impact for as many local people as possible.”
Keeping kids healthy, well and engaged in the community is what drives the players, because while golf may be a favorite pastime, organizing a golf outing can be quite a challenge.
“We play 100 holes in one day,” Matt says. Due to time and space constraints, the group is limited to about 45 golfers on the course, so to raise more money and help more kids, we would need to open the event up to more golfers on another course.
The event has raised more than $1 million in just eight years, and Matt says the key to its success is an active and engaged board. Matt, the other founders and original board members, Dan Ryan, Pete Kopf, Dave Geppert and Mike Stagnaro, and new board member Andy Sathe have built a board that is committed to – just like Cincinnati Children’s – bettering the lives of kids and families in Cincinnati and around the world.
If you are interested in learning more about hosting an event to benefit Cincinnati Children’s, learn more about our Giving Hope Program or contact Megan Boesing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-636-0184.