This year, it’s stunningly quiet with the team working from home and the event as well as the summer camping program for children with life-threatening or chronic diseases both cancelled.
Executive Director Angie Carmignani wrote in an email, “…we are still a bit heartbroken over postponing our programs until next year. You and I both know it is the best decision for the children. We have decided to postpone are normal fundraising as well until next year.
“Our summer interns have done an amazing job at putting together program pieces for the campers and local families. I am so proud of them and their work. We will do a small ask this month in hopes to help keep all of our wellness programs afloat for the year.”
Given that their campers are, by definition, at high-risk for COVID-19 it was the only rational choice.
For other non-profits, they’ve pivoted their key fundraisers with many of them taking them online in virtual program. Shepherd’s Gate, the Livermore-based program for recovery program for women and their children, will be online on Oct. 19 instead of in-person with its Backyard Barbecue and Blue Grass. Teen Esteem, the prevention and education program for young people and their parents, pivoted its programs to online and saw its reach explode. Its event will be Sept. 26 for one hour.
Next Step, which supports and educates women with unplanned pregnancies, is taking advantage of the big screen at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton instead of its traditional banquet. The Fall Drive-in Event on Sept. 17 runs from 7-9 p.m. and is free unless participants want to order a tri-tip dinner. Cars will be parked six feet apart and masks will be required if people leave their car or the windows are rolled down.
Organizers of charity golf tournaments, like those running banquets as fundraisers, have also struggled to figure out suitable events. The team at the College Golf Fellowship cancelled their tournament and then sent out an email appeal asking participants to contribute what they’d normally pay to participate or sponsor the event. I will be checking back on all of these to see how they did.
For JDRF, a foundation dedicated to research on Type 1 Diabetes, it was able to profit from one spring event that was cancelled after its fundraising was largely done and then took its second big Bay Area event digital. It needed to figure out how to deal with its fall golf tournament at the Course at Wente Vineyards. That event is chaired by my friend and former newspaper colleague Zoe Francis. She’s been involved with the organization since her oldest daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed when she was 5. She’s now 27.
The organization has taken a huge financial hit nationally because its fundraising is event oriented. It has laid off 40% of its staff and is consolidating chapter offices from more than 60 to 29, Zoe wrote me in an email. Revenue in 2019 was $232 million across the country with much of it devoted to funding research into the cause and potential cures of the autoimmune disease.
The Summer Classic will be digital from Sept. 13-19. It will include a silent and voice auction as well as a livestream on Sept. 19. The different spin is a partnership with the online World Golf Tour that will allow a virtual golf tournament. The online app is owned by the innovative Top Golf company. Its physical locations feature target-oriented two-story driving ranges coupled with music, food and drink. Fun is the first objective.
The online game features 18 world-famous courses such as the Old Course at St. Andrews, Pinehurst No. 2, the Pebble Beach Golf Links, Edgewood Tahoe and the Olympic Club to name a few. The JDRF tournament will be held at Wolf Creek, physically located in Mesquite, NV, but available digitally on any device anywhere.
The Bay Area chapter will honor the Oakland A’s for their long-term partnership with the group.
By contrast, Heart for Africa, which cares for 273 children at Project Canaan in Eswatini, has its U.S. headquarters in the Atlanta area. It is moving ahead with its golf tournament in October with business pretty much as usual except for not pulling pins and an attendant serving food at the buffet. Different states, different approaches.