Parishes, schools benefit from summer golf fundraisers

  • Written by Morningstar Stevenson
  • Published in Local
Alumni from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School play in the 21st annual BBHS Golf Classic tournament June 18 at Willows Run Golf Complex in Redmond. The event raised about $13,000 for school needs. Photo: Courtesy Bishop Blanchet High School Alumni from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School play in the 21st annual BBHS Golf Classic tournament June 18 at Willows Run Golf Complex in Redmond. The event raised about $13,000 for school needs. Photo: Courtesy Bishop Blanchet High School

FEDERAL WAYIn 1993, the mother’s group at St. Vincent de Paul Parish was looking for a way to raise funds for the parish nursery.

Parishioner Jennifer Tankiewicz suggested a golf tournament — even though she wasn’t a golfer. “It became one of those ‘uh oh, be careful what you say’ kind of moments,’” said Tankiewicz, who ended up coordinating the event for the next few years.

Starting out with 19 teams of four, the tournament grew to more than 100 foursomes in five years. Now in its 25th year, the Federal Way parish’s Mothers and Others Tournament raised about $7,000. In past years, the typical $5,000 to $6,000 in proceeds helped purchase playground equipment, flooring and nursery furniture. This year’s tourney funds haven’t been earmarked yet, Tankiewicz said.

St. Vincent’s tournament is just one of the summer golf events held by parishes and Catholic schools in the archdiocese to raise money for ministries, scholarships and facility improvements. Most of the funds come from tournament sponsorships, in addition to entry fees, according to organizers.

Besides raising money, the tournaments foster teamwork and a connection with the community, Tankiewicz said: “When we step out of [our parish walls], we continue to be the body of Christ.”

The teamwork aspect took some pressure off Seton Catholic High School senior Sean Ball during the Knights of Columbus tournament in Vancouver July 28, he said. “We won by one shot with eight under par,” said Ball, who will play on the school’s golf team this fall. “Everyone contributed to the team in a positive way.”

Helping the community, parishes

The Vancouver event has been sponsored for 15 years by Knights of Columbus Council 12899 at Vancouver’s Holy Redeemer Parish. This year, some 70 parishioners played in the tournament, which usually raises about $1,500 for community projects, said Knight Bill Moran, who has chaired the event for five years.

In the past, the proceeds have been donated to Birthright, a nonprofit pregnancy center in Vancouver. “We try to support ‘right to life’ in any way we can,” Moran said. Money raised by the tournament has also helped support seminarians at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. This year’s proceeds will go into the general fund that the Knights use to “support the parish and pastor in any way we are called upon,” Moran said.

Other parishes use their golf tournaments to raise money for facility improvements.

“Our church needed help,” said Ken McCulloch, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mount Vernon. So he and three others started the Mary’s Home Open Golf Tournament, a joint effort with Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Sedro-Woolley. The name honors their parishes’ patron saint, McCulloch said.

The $7,600 raised at this year’s June 29 tournament will help fund expansion of the parking lot at Immaculate Conception, he said. During the last five years, the tournament has raised close to $20,000 for the two parishes, he added.

Golf Tournament Team
The team of Tyler Davis, left, Sean Ball, Seton Catholic High School Principal Robert Rusk and Michael Naughton won the July 28 Knights of Columbus Golf Tournament in Vancouver. Photo: Courtesy Sean Ball

‘Driven by the cause’

Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges also benefit from summer golf events.

At Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School, the 21st annual BBHS Golf Classic tournament drew 135 golfers and raised about $13,000. The money from the June 18 event benefits the Brave Fund, which supports seven areas of need from fine arts to faith and service, said Robert Lukevich, Blanchet’s assistant development director.

Kennedy Catholic High School’s Lancer Golf Classic, slated for August 17, will support student scholarships at the Burien school. One of those funds is the Derek R. Orozco Memorial Scholarship, honoring a 1987 graduate who died in 2016, according to Rebecca Nuffer, alumni relations manager.

“His friends and family came together to do something in his memory to honor his love of golf and the University of Washington Huskies,” Nuffer said. She noted that the tournament will be held at Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, home to UW’s golf teams.  

Some of Kennedy’s student golfers usually play in the summer tournament. “We have some really talented students,” Nuffer said, “and this is a great way to let them show off their skills.”

In Thurston County, several schools were beneficiaries of the July 28 “Bernie Tourney” hosted by Knights of Columbus Council 1643 of Olympia.

The event typically raises about $6,000, which is distributed to Holy Family School, Pope John Paul II High School and St. Martin’s University, all in Lacey; and St. Michael School in Olympia, said event organizer Ron DeGroot, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Parish in Lacey.

“Most participants are basically driven by the cause,” DeGroot said. “There’s a real love for Catholic education.”