Orlando, Florida, United States: World Golf Hall of Famer, 2019 Presidents Cup Captain, and PGA Tour golfer Ernie Els has issued a challenge to his fellow professionals and club golfers everywhere: Become the captain of your club, adopt a local hospital, and marshal club resources to deliver greatly needed supplies to those on the frontlines during this unprecedented international health crisis.
That’s the essence of ClubsHELP, a 501(c)7 foundation created to connect clubs with hospitals in their local areas to provide critically needed support for health workers as they care for victims of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The sense of community generated in each market has been stronger than ever. Now, this collective energy, along with club resources, are being deployed where they are needed most – at the local level.
“When my management team told me about this initiative, I was right behind it straight away,” said Els. “It’s a shining example of how people all around the world are pulling together in this crisis to help vulnerable members of society and, of course, support the frontline healthcare staff who are literally putting their lives on the line for all of us.”
How does this new initiative work?
A member steps up to be her/his club’s ‘captain’. The club then adopts a local hospital and the adopted hospital appoints a captain. Working co-operatively, the captains identify the most pressing needs at the adopted hospital. Then club members, companies and individual donors pitch in to gather, collect, and deliver the most necessary items and resources to the hospital.
David Bachman, General Manager of Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown, New Jersey, got the idea from one of his members and her daughters who wanted to become actively involved and help their local hospital, Morristown Memorial. The club is now an on-going supplier of food, beverages, and PPE equipment to its adopted hospital.
When news of Spring Brook Country Club’s efforts to assist its community hospital surfaced in the media, Rob Goulet, Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Sports Partners, and manager to Els, reached out to Bachman suggesting they turn this local programme into a national campaign by engaging the always-charitable minded golf community. In the process, ClubsHELP Foundation, a 501(c)7 organisation, was born.
“Every community wants to support their local hospital and first responders. We know that strength in numbers – clubs and their members’ networks – could make a meaningful impact,” Goulet said.
The team leapt into action last week and quickly assisted hospitals in beleaguered north-eastern states – New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. ClubsHELP companies like Clif Bar and AT&T are already supplying Mt Sinai and Bellevue Hospitals in New York City, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The most pressing needs for the frontline hospital workers are basic food items that can be consumed quickly, PPE supplies, UV lighting for sterilisation of phones and keys, and delivery services,” said Bachman. “Anything a member may be able to offer, including transport vehicles, personnel or manufacturing capabilities, should be raised with their club and hospital captains.”