- Tell us a little bit about yourself, the Boca West Children’s Foundation and how you got involved in the foundation.
My background is in marketing and running companies. The Boca West Children’s Foundation was started in 2010 by a desire on the part of the members of Boca West Country Club to find a way to give back to the community. The Foundation’s mission became obvious very quickly when we realized there were so many children at risk in Boca Raton. The management of the club asked me to find a mission, create a board and get the Foundation started.
- The foundation supports nonprofits that help children, how do you select what nonprofits to help?
The non-profits reach out to us. We do things a little differently than some other funding agencies in that we will not give money directly to general funds. Instead, we sit with the non-profit leadership and create a project. Two of the projects we fund include a pediatric dental clinic at Caridad Center and keeping an abuse shelter open on the weekends at JAFCO. It needs to be a program that we can evaluate at the end of each year to see how our funding was used and how effective the program was. We also vet the charities that we decide to work with so we know about their history and their internal cost structure.
- What upcoming events does the foundation have planned?
February 5th is the second Walk in the Woods, a charity walk at Boca West Country Club on the Fazio golf course. The event is open to the public and it is a joint effort with the Foundation and the Lynn University Symphony. As participants walk, they encounter different groups of musicians; soloists, duos, trios and more. There is wine and appetizers. It’s a fun day and a great way to raise money for our kids!
April 9th is our 7th Annual $200,000 Golf Challenge. 500 golfers participate on four golf courses at Boca West Country Club and play for $200,000 in additional grants for our 24 charities. It’s followed by a gala with a fabulous live auction and great food!
April 10th is the 5th Annual Concert of the Children. This year, it’s the Battle of the Bands. We will be recreating a Florida State Fair and will have 20 gourmet food trucks, games and a battle between Billy Joel’s band and the authorized tribute band for Chicago.
To purchase tickets to any of these events, visit bocawestchildrensfoundation.org
- What is your favorite memory involving your work with the foundation?
I don’t know if it’s my favorite but I think it is one that truly reaffirms why we try to do just a little bit more for the kids every day. Just a few weeks ago, we held a kids carnival and had two hundred young people from seven of our charities. They went on rides, had popcorn, cotton candy and funnel cakes—something they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
One of the kids my wife was taking around said, “Can I have two funnel cakes?” My wife said, “We can always come back and get another one.” The little girl said, “There are never seconds where I live.”
When my wife told me the story, it re-inspired me and reaffirmed how much more we have to do so that there are not hungry children in Palm Beach County worried about where they are going to get their next meal.
- What can we look forward to seeing in 2018 from the foundation?
What we are seeing is the maturity of the Foundation, now that we are in our 8th year. We’ve hired Jennifer Bate as our ED and have hired a third employee. We grew from become a Boca Raton based operation to one that reaches 5,000 children each day across Palm Beach County. Now, 20 percent of our funds come from donations around the country, thanks to social media and companies that have helped get the word out about the Boca West Children’s Foundation.
We went from raising $100,000 our first year to raising over 2 million dollars last year. We are growing because we have to. Government agencies are providing fewer dollars to not for profits, so private companies and foundations need to step up and help even more.