By Jerry Venters, a member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza
Some golfers played 54 holes, some played 65 holes. Others played 100 holes, and one played 126 holes. All in a single day in September, in a drive to raise money to help eradicate polio. And, oh, how they succeeded!
In our district’s first-ever Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon, Rotary members in District 6040 (north Missouri) raised $42,530 in pledges and donations. When you figure in the Bill & Melinda Gates pledge to match 2-to-1 every dollar that Rotary commits to polio eradication (up to $35 million a year through 2018), our inaugural golf event generated a grand total of $127,590 to support Rotary’s drive to eradicate polio.
I had played in a one-day golf marathon many years ago, when I was a lot younger, and I had been thinking about how to stage this golf marathon as a polio eradication fundraiser for two or three years. Happily, I was finally able to bring it to fruition this year.
It was the first time many Rotarians had heard of a golf marathon, and I had to do some pretty hard salesmanship to get them involved. But when they did, they had a lot of fun. The golfers in a club could play on any day and on any course they wanted, and the challenge for the rest of the members was to make pledges or donations and ask non-Rotarians to do the same.
Nineteen of the District’s 56 Rotary clubs fielded one to four golfers and raised money in the event. In some cases, members of Interact clubs also played golf with the Rotarians and collected pledges, a wonderful example of building up these young people for future membership. We announced the final results of the marathon with much fanfare at our district’s annual Foundation Dinner in November.
This fundraiser was such a great success, our 2015-16 district governor said he’ll stage it again next year. I definitely recommend it for other districts.