Like a golf pro who retires while he’s still one of the best, the Founder’s Cup organizers have announced their golf tournament is going out on top.
Thursday afternoon, at the Swaneset member’s lounge, the event’s founder gave out cheques totalling $140,000 to 15 different local charities and organizations – money raised at the 2019 Founder’s Cup Charity Classic in September.
They also announced that after 25 years, and having raised a combined $3 million for charity, their tournament will not be teeing up again.
The event was started by West Coast Auto Group’s Ron Jones, chair the Founder’s Cup Foundation. The BC Sports Hall of Fame was an organization he loved and wanted to support, along with Rotary and other causes, so he approached the then-new Swaneset Bay Country Club about partnering in a fundraising tournament.
With the West Coast Golf Group offering the course for no cost for one day, and food and beverage provided at cost, he saw a great partnership – and a golden opportunity for a fundraiser.
“And it just kept growing, and being more successful,” Ron shared. “We weren’t the cheapest golf tournament – in fact, we might have been the most expensive – but we always treated the golfers to good food, drink, and prizes. And the camaraderie… some of those people were participants for the full 25 years.”
“It was fun, we had a good run, and I’ve really enjoyed it. But nothing lasts forever,” added Ron. “We decided to go out on a high note.”
He offered thanks to the committee, sponsors, and the many volunteers through the years.
It has been a family event, and Ron’s son, Scott, took over as the tournament co-chair with Drago Adam in recent years.
Scott said the community support has been great, including the generosity of some 60 sponsors. Some put up as much as $5,000, and organizers have received auction donations of “great prizes,” like a private jet to Oregon to play at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
These touches put the Founder’s Cup in a class above other fundraisers, Scott said.
“It was a fun, great, competitive event, where a guy could win some money, or himself give back to charities – every dollar raised contributed to over 30 different charities,” he added.
The Thursday luncheon and cheque presentation featured short speeches from each of beneficiaries of the event.
“It was an incredible feeling,” said Scott. “It hit home how worthwhile the charities are, and the difference Founder’s Cup has made to them over the years.”
While the tournament is over, the foundation remains. After a one-year break, Ron said they could return with a new fundraiser.
Some of the stats from over the event’s 25-year run:
• 3,750 participants
• More than 270,000 shots made
• 15,000 hole-in-one opportunities
• zero holes in one made
• More than $200,000 in 50/50 tickets sold and $100,000 won by participants
• $750,000 in tee prizes for participants
• $250,000 in winner prizes
• More than 15,000 volunteer hours contributed
• More than $2.5 million raised in live and silent auctions
• More than 1,000 sponsorships contributing more than $2 million