The beneficiary of those funds was Room at the Inn, a temporary, emergency shelter for homeless women and families that serves the greater St. Louis area.
The Webster Groves Christian Church and Westborough Country Club First Annual Charity Golf Outing to Benefit Room at the Inn came about as a creative land-use and parking agreement between the church and the country club.
“The tournament became a collaborative answer to what could have been a divisive question,” said Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore, pastor of Webster Groves Christian Church. “I started thinking to myself, what could we do so that Webster Groves Christian Church saw that our mission and ministry were being advanced, and that we were also good neighbors?”
Westborough Country Club provided 120 rounds of golf, golf carts, lunch, a pro-shop gift certificate for each golfer and general setup for the tournament.
In addition to generating good will, the tournament created a brand new fundraising opportunity. “There are finite dollars available to the same group of non-profits in the metropolitan area who are competing for these dollars,” said Ana G. Shulz, Director of Development for Room at the Inn. “The singular collaboration between Webster Groves Christian Church and Westborough Country Club allowed Room (at the Inn) to achieve optimal results with new dollars.”
Room at the Inn was chosen to be the recipient of the money raised from this year’s golf outing in part because of its 23-year relationship with Webster Groves Christian Church. “We are one of the longest, continuous congregations participating in that program,” Moore said. “It was a natural fit.”
The weather cooperated on the day of the tournament with sunny skies and highs reaching into the 70s. Dozens of volunteers from Room at the Inn affiliated congregations helped to make the day a success.
Spirits were high and enthusiasm abounded according to Webster Groves Christian Church member and Room at the Inn volunteer John Pahl.
“The participants seemed to revel at being in a beautiful setting on a glorious day and enjoyed great camaraderie for a great cause,” Pahl said. “I think we would all jump at the chance to do it again.”
There were 81 golfers who participated in the event and each received a gift bag assembled by Room at the Inn clients and other volunteers.
The tournament’s setting had additional benefits as well. “Because of the location of the event, Room (at the Inn) has the opportunity to cultivate more support from the Kirkwood/Webster Groves community and the ripple effect that can extend immediately beyond those respective geographical boundaries,” Shulz said.
Over 25 sponsors contributed to the event which netted more than $28,000 that will be used for the general budget and activates of Room at the Inn, which provides clients with transportation to school and part-time jobs, receive social work services, job and housing searches and maintaining the day site.
The benefits for Room at the Inn extended beyond dollars and cents, Shulz said. “The golf tournament helped us to raise new revenues and awareness for homelessness in the community. It provides the organization additional opportunities to recruit and retain new volunteers.”
With this event being such a success, attention now turns towards next year with plans in place to continue the golf tournament well into the future.
“I’m very excited about the possibilities with this tournament.” Moore said. “My hope is that we will be able to partner in this same way with Westborough Country Club as great neighbors together for many years to come.”
by Mat DeKinder