“Be the Difference,” the tag line for the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies Fundraising Lunch, resonated on many levels. I joined several of the Central Florida GCSA Board of Directors as they were honored for their support of this worthwhile cause.
The lunch was memorable for the stories of enduring battles that eventually led to triumph in the face of very long odds. The message of hope that the families relayed as well as their appreciation for the doctors and nurses at the hospitals was heartwarming. The hospitals have been serving the area for 30 years with an annual average of 250,000 patients. If my Ohio State education serves me well, that is roughly 7.5 million patients that have walked through the doors at these facilities seeking treatment for various illnesses and injuries.
For the past several years, the Central Florida GCSA has been supporting the charitable contributions of Arnie’s Army. These efforts were well received but the donations were broad reaching and not necessarily designated to a specific cause. With the desire to have a greater awareness of where their donations were being utilized, the Central Florida GCSA decided that their support would be best served by contributing to the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Hospitals.
Representatives from the chapter have participated in two tours of the facilities to witness first-hand the compassionate care and leading-edge technology that is in place. Everyone that has participated in these tours has remarked how moving the experience has been and how giving to this cause has been personally enriching. For their $5,000 contribution, the Central Florida GCSA was recognized as a “Lead Gift Contributor.” More importantly, they know that their support is appreciated and being utilized within the community to help provide first class health care for the many in need.
This is just one example of how many in golf strive to “Be the Difference.” I take great pride in working among the benevolent groups and individuals who support worthwhile causes across the country. Within the golf community here in Florida, we see annual charitable contributions that exceed $383 million. If you have participated in the Florida GCSA’s BMP Certification Classes, you have probably heard me state that the charitable contributions of golf on the national level exceed the contributions of the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL combined. That fact alone serves as a true indication of how caring our industry is.
As we head into the holiday season, I know that many, if not all, of the chapters across Florida will be hosting events that are designated to assist some charity or another. I have always admired and try to support these efforts and know that the impacts are felt deeply by those who benefit from the contributions. May you all feel the joy that comes with sacrificing your time or making monetary or gift donations to causes you hold dear. The beauty of our industry is that we give throughout the year, every year, and we truly strive to “Be the Difference” in many capacities. We are the difference and will remain at the forefront of our communities through our consistent charitable giving.