We still remember the day we found out Calgary Reads had been chosen as the Willow Park Charity Golf Classic (WPCGC) for the 2020 tournament year. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise an amount most charities can only dream about, so in our office in the Kahanoff Centre the summer before—2019—we danced a dance of joy.
Of course, like so many events meant to be held at the height of the pandemic, the 2020 tournament was postponed. As was our 2020 and 2021 Big Book Sale, the event we count on so dearly to raise funds to further our mission: bringing children their very own books, strong reading role models, and special reading places so they can become thriving readers who succeed in school and in life.
So when the WPCGC announced it was going ahead with the 2021 tournament and that Calgary Reads would have another chance to the be the charity recipient, we danced, and dared to hope again. Since 1987, the tournament has raised $11.6 million for local charities.
After months and months of planning and garnering support from sponsors and auction item donors, the WPCGC came to life and felt possible. The timing was fortuitous: Alberta was finally opening up. And when the tournament opened with the sponsor’s day July 20, and then the first player’s day, July 21, what a joyous mood among us all.
A great big white tent near the fairways added an air of celebration as we enjoyed meals together, shared speeches and hosted two very exciting silent and live auctions. What a time.
What a moment, on the third night, when organizers carried to the podium the giant cheque they would present to Calgary Reads, and announced the tournament had raised $500,000 for our organization.
To the 100 incredible sponsors, thank you.
To the 144 incredible golfers, thank you.
To the dozens of businesses and artisans who donated auction items, thank you.
To the WPCGC organizers, thank you.
To Anne Logan, our director of strategic partnerships, and Jason Abbate, our board member who supported our tournament efforts, a special thank you. And to the entire Calgary Reads team, thank you.
To everyone who helped make this possible in any way, thank you.
As our CEO Steacy Pinney accepted the giant cheque from WPCGC Chairman Chris Burgess, she said, “Imagine the work that we can do in the community to help the next generation of readers because of all of you…You have changed the life of this charity.”
With all of our hearts, thank you Willow Park Charity Golf Classic!