Meadowbrook CC Takes Charitable Approach to Centennial Celebration

By | June 2nd, 2016

Instead of having a “Yay, Us” party to “stand around and congratulate each other for being splendid,” the Northville, Mich. club decided to commemorate its 100th year by raising $100,000 for four local organizations. It’s now issuing a friendly challenge to other clubs to “copy [our idea and] beat and improve [our success]” when marking their own anniversaries.


Meadowbrook Country Club (MCC) in Northville, Mich. is in its 100th year, but when the club’s Board and management had several meetings about how to commemorate the occasion, The Detroit News reported, no solid ideas emerged.

Then Board member Jeff Lane brought up the subject at home to his wife, actress Brenda Lane, and she rolled her eyes and said, “You’re going to have a ‘Yay, us’ party, aren’t you?” the News reported.

After Jeff Lane looked perplexed, his wife explained what she meant—a party where people stand around and congratulate each other for being splendid, the News’ Neal Rubin wrote.

And that, Jeff Lane told Rubin, was the inspiration for something different: a centennial celebration where the club congratulates everyone else.

So now, in honor of its 100th year, Meadowbrook, which announced a major renovation project earlier this year ( has kicked off a drive among its members to raise $100,000 to distribute to four charities with ties to the area, the News reported.

Furthermore, MCC is using the occasion to issue an unofficial challenge to other clubs that might be celebrating anniversaries or just feeling generous or unfulfilled, the News reported.

“Copy [our idea],” Lane said. “Beat it. Improve on it. Come to us and ask how we did it.”

Even though the charity drive comes when MCC members are already paying dues for access to a golf course they can’t play because it’s closed until next spring for a renovation they’ve assessed themselves to cover, the News noted, it fits the culture of a club that “already makes a habit of looking beyond its lovingly landscaped borders.”

One of the charity drive’s recipients, Bridgepointe, has a mission of bringing together kids from southwest Detroit and the suburbs, the News reported, and at the suggestion of MCC members, the organization regularly buses hundreds of kids to the Meadowbrook pool, where they’re taught by the club’s swim team.

MCC’s General Manager, Joe Marini, “fell in love with having the kids at the club,” Diane Powers, Bridgepointe’s Director, told the News. Marini will often call her, she added, to ask “Can your kids come and play tennis? Can they use the driving range?”

“It always fills my heart,” Powers added. “This is what tomorrow could look like.”

Another beneficiary of the MCC anniversary charity drive, the Main Street League, is also an all-volunteer, no-overhead organization that has provided everything from shoes and backpacks for schoolkids to new tires for a struggling mom, the News reported.

The $25,000 the Main Street League is expected to receive because Meadowbrook had a birthday amounts to about a third of its normal annual budget, the News noted.

Other beneficiaries of the centennial initiative will be Angela Hospice of Livonia, Mich. and CATCH, the children’s charity founded by the late Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson.

Meadowbrook has 325 golf members, plus 350 more at levels from social to life, the News reported. And while most of them haven’t been asked to weigh in yet for the special anniversary charity drive, contributions from the Board and other early adapters have already hit $25,000.

The campaign itself will be gentle, with a booth set up inside the clubhouse door, but no “threats, strong-arming or even fierce gazes,” the News’ Rubin wrote. The checks and hugs will be handed out at a party in August — “black-tie optional, joy mandatory,” and representatives from the charities will be among the guests.

“Isn’t it great?” Marini said to Rubin. “Doesn’t it resonate? I think our founders would look down and say …”

And as he searched momentarily for a phrase, Jeff Lane jumped in to offer: “Yay, us.”

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