Golf club links groups to $1 million in donations

Links to Change helps community

The Victoria Golf Club Links to Change program has exceeded $1 million in contributions to local charities over the past 18 years.

The charity events focus on fostering safe and caring family relationships and supporting individual healing among family members affected by relationship violence. Programs that help to facilitate positive change and end the cycle of violence in families are supported by funds raised at these charity events.

Recipient charities include Victoria Women’s Transition House, Pacific Centre Family Services, KidSport and Evans Caddie Scholarships. Transition House was the main recipient of the fundraiser for eight years.

“The focus is on families and keeping them safe and secure,” said Vicki Mather, Links to Change chair.

This is the second year that Pacific Centre Family Services has also been a recipient. New this year is KidSport Greater Victoria.

Fred Rohani, club president, lauded Victoria Golf club member volunteers who devote a tremendous amount of time serving on charity events committees. More than 80 per cent of the donations and sponsorships came from the Victoria Golf Club membership with the remainder from the local business community.

“Instrumental in the success of the events was our title sponsor for their third year in a row, Bayview Place,” Rohani said.

The 2014 Links to Change charity golf tournaments and Come Together Beatles’ 50th anniversary tribute party both broke attendance records for each of the three charity events held in July. Funds raised this year put Victoria Golf Club’s total contributions to local charities well over the $1 million mark. The men’s and women’s golf tournaments and the Come Together party were hosted by the Victoria Golf Club at its historic clubhouse on Beach Drive. The L2C events draw participants from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and Alberta.

KidSport scored a $10,000 donation by title sponsor Bayview Place and developers Patricia and K.W. Mariash, Sr.

“We exist to allow all kids to play. This money means there will be an additional 100 kids that will be able to participate in sports in Greater Victoria,” said Chuck Pusateri, chair of the board of KidSport Greater Victoria.

Money also goes toward the Evans Caddies Scholarship. This scholarship is famous in the States, but the Victoria Golf Club is the only group to adopt the program in Canada (2006).

“It is an opportunity for us to help bright kids. This way they’re debt free,” said Berne Neufeld, the driver of the program.

Three Oak Bay High alumni have received the scholarship to the University of Colarado: Alex Adams and his brother Mark Adams and Casey White.