For the past seven years, two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin and The Concession Charities have selected Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties to benefit from the annual Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic, which takes place every March at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, FL, and welcomes professional athletes and sports fans across the nation to help thousands of Boys & Girls Clubs members achieve their full potential with a round of golf. This year's Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic took place on March 5 and 6, and the proceeds have resulted in more than $800,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties since 2012.
The event began with a Pairings Party on Monday, March 5, which featured a cocktail hour before dinner with a silent and live auction, as well as, celebrity pairings for the next day's tournament. Bruce Cassidy, Sr., owner of The Concession Golf Club, and Archie Griffin welcomed guests, including more than 20 professional athletes such as current and former NFL Players Eddie George, Austin Reiter, Joey Galloway, Leroy Hoard, Isaac Curtis, Will Allen, Michael Merriweather, Robert Smith, Louis Breeden and Keith Byars.
"The people in this room are pillars of their community, and undoubtedly support many worthy causes, but for me what we are doing tonight is the greatest cause," said Griffin in his opening remarks. "We are here to help the next generation, an act my old mentor Woody Hayes called 'paying it forward.' Tonight, we have an opportunity to enhance thousands of children’s lives, giving them access to award-winning leadership and academic programs while they build their character and commit to healthy living. Together, we can ensure great futures continue to start at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties."
After dinner, local comedian Les McCurdy led the celebrity pairings and auctioned off the live auction items before three teen Boys & Girls Club members including Fatima Demlak, Jakobi Davis and Leonela Tase took the stage to share how the organization's leadership, service and entrepreneurial programs have helped them create plans for success after high school graduation. Guests also heard an announcement from Nate Brown, Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club Director, about a matching challenge opportunity from Presenting Sponsor Baycross Christian Family Foundation in support of the organization's teen programs.
"You all being here means that teens across Sarasota County have access to programs that help them chart their path toward a great future," said Brown. "Whether they want to pursue a college degree, train for a career in the trades or even start their own business, the Club’s slate of award-winning programs help teens discover their passions, connect to meaningful causes in the community, build critical employability skills and explore a variety of career pathways. The Baycross Christian Family Foundation is matching every gift tonight, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000."
The excitement from the Pairings Party carried over into the next day's tournament on Tuesday, March 6. Twenty teams competed, but in the end, the winning team included Bruce Cassidy, Sr., Keith Byars, Hampton Ballard, Jason Lazariz and Chuck Whirlow.
"The 8th Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic was a milestone year for our organization," said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. "We are able to make such a tremendous impact on the lives of the children and teens we serve because of the immense amount of support from everyone who helps make this event possible."
To learn more about the Archie Griffin Celebrity Golf Classic, visit concessioncharities.org or contact Melissa at 941-907-0018.