Edgewood Tahoe, Soroptimist end charitable partnership
After 28 years, Edgewood Tahoe and Soroptimist International South Lake Tahoe are ending their charitable partnership for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament.
Since 1990 Soroptimist volunteers have run the charity concession tents at the golf tournament in exchange for a 55-percent split of the profits. Edgewood provided the food.
“As this event has gotten bigger, the scale has not increased with oversight and planning, so this year we took a fresh look at the entire tournament to make sure we got things planned properly,” said John McLaughlin, president/CEO of Edgewood Companies.
Part of that operations evaluation included reviewing the charitable giving stemming from the tournament, said McLaughlin.
Back in February representatives from Edgewood and Soroptimist met to discuss the concession tents. McLaughlin expressed concerns about the fact that the funds from the tournament are put into a checking account with a large balance and “without a strategic plan attached to it” and not distributed to the community within the year. He wanted Edgewood to have more input on how the funds were used in the community.
Last year the contribution from the tournament was around $50,000.
“They weren’t happy with how we were giving our money away and asked if they could be involved in that decision making and we said no,” explained Soroptimist President Pam Barrett. “I think they wanted to be involved because they feel they are giving us a donation when they pay us for what we do there. We look at it as though we have earned that money, and we feel it’s up to us how we donate it back to the community.”
Barrett said the club distributes the money from the tournament through scholarships, awards and community grants, but they wait until the year after receiving it to do so.
As for Soroptimist’s checking account with a balance of roughly $450,000, Barrett said over the last 15 years the club has been saving a portion of their funds from their annual wine tasting event for a yet-to-be-determined “special project” that would have a “big impact on women and youth in the community.”
“The funds are not from the golf tournament,” she said.
“That’s a lot of money to have sitting in an account with no restrictions or reserves,” noted McLaughlin. “I’m sure they are going to do something great with it, but we want to see the money go into the community immediately.”
Ultimately Edgewood came back to Soroptimist with a new offer that had the club volunteers helping Edgewood staff run the charity concession tents in exchange for a $10 an hour “contribution” per volunteer for up to 2,000 hours.
McLaughlin said Soroptimist could not give them an answer within the timeframe they required, so they rescinded the offer. Barrett said she was not aware of any deadline.
“It’s important to note that this is not about lining our pockets,” said McLaughlin. “We’re not trying to take any one dollar to the bottom line for Edgewood, we just want to make sure that this gets spread around to the charities that we think need it, and we want to make sure they get funded that year.”
Edgewood is in the process of determining who their new charitable partner will be for the concession tents at the tournament this July. McLaughlin said the split will likely be the same as with Soroptimist where 55 percent of profits go to the charity.
As for the Soroptimist club, Barrett said they hope to make their annual wine tasting fundraiser “bigger and better than ever.”
“We have a year to decide where the club’s going, what we’re going to do, and earn the money for the next year,” said Barrett. “We’re sorry it’s ending, we wish that it wasn’t, but we’re still going to be active in the community.”