Members of every social and athletic group within Naples Lakes Country Club in Naples, Fla. planned activities and offered up raffle items to support the months-long fundraiser for Team Rubicon.
Philanthropy is a way of life at Naples Lakes Country Club (NLCC), a private, 490-acre, gated golf course and country club community in Naples, Fla., where a “bundled” golf membership is included with every residence. In the last six years, the NLCC Ladies Golf Association and other groups from the club have raised more than $300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to support local charitable organizations that serve women and children.
“This community is extremely giving and extremely focused on helping others,” says General Manager Bryan Roe. “Our members know that they’re fortunate. They have worked hard and saved their money to get to this point in their lives. They’re eager to give back to the community with the right charity.”
Last year, Mary Pavento, a member of the club’s Board of Directors who has lived in Naples Lakes for 19 years, thought it might be time for NLCC to extend its reach beyond the local community, especially after she saw TV spots about Team Rubicon last fall.
Founded in 2010 by two U.S. Marines after the Haiti earthquake, Team Rubicon is an international non-governmental organization that uses the training, skills, and experience of military veterans and first responders to serve vulnerable and at-risk populations affected by disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide. Team Rubicon also helps veterans by giving them a way to regain the qualities that can disappear once their military service has ended—a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, by serving with others; and identity, recognizing the imprint that one individual can make.
Team Rubicon also helps veterans by giving them a way to regain a hat trick of the qualities that can disappear once their military service has ended—a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and identity, by recognizing the imprint one individual can make.
No wonder Team Rubicon and Naples Lakes seemed to be such a good fit.
First, however, Pavento had to convince her fellow members that Team Rubicon was a worthy cause. She went to the Roosters, a social golf group made up of veterans, to see if they would be interested in supporting the nonprofit. They asked her if she could line up a speaker to talk to them about the organization.
Pavento went to the Roosters, a social golf group made up of veterans who are NLCC members, to see if they would be interested in supporting the nonprofit. Pavento then arranged for Joe Kaye, Senior Associate, Rebuild Operations for Team Rubicon, to come to the Roosters’ annual tailgating party, which includes raffles and fundraising efforts, during the Army–Navy football game in December 2018.
“They had finished a home for a veteran that had been destroyed,” Pavento says.
Joe Kaye, Senior Associate, Rebuild Operations for Team Rubicon, came to the Roosters’ annual tailgating party, which includes raffles and fundraising efforts, during the Army–Navy football game in December 2018 and spoke to a group of 200–250 people. Kaye explained how Team Rubicon had grown from its modest beginnings with eight volunteers to an organization of 65,000-plus registered members.
“They have helped at every hurricane, flood, or wildfire,” says Pavento. “Everything they do for people who have been affected by disaster has been free of charge.”
The membership was sold on the fundraiser, and the NLCC management team held a pre-kickoff meeting with the women who organized the fundraising activities. Committees then coordinated dates for the fundraisers with NLCC personnel, and they met regularly to divvy up resources and responsibilities.
Originally, they planned to hold fundraisers in March. Instead, the events started in January and stretched into March.
Members of every NLCC social and athletic group planned fundraising activities. The ladies’ nine-hole golf group held a raffle and a putting contest, and the ladies’ 18-hole group held a silent auction where members could bid on items including golf, tennis, pickleball, and fitness lessons; a gourmet meal prepared by NLCC’s chef in a property owner’s home; wine, cheese, and movie baskets; salon gift certificates; restaurant gift certificates; and a week in Costa Rica. The Ladies of Naples Lakes made a monetary donation, and on Friday nights the property set up a table in the dining room where members could purchase tickets for raffle items.
NLCC promoted the events on its website and with signage posted on the property. The club sent out e-mails and talked up the project at its monthly member forums, where Roe and a Board member discuss what’s happening at the property. Staff members even dressed a mannequin from the golf shop in Team Rubicon gear (see photo, above), to serve as a constant reminder of the fundraising activities.
Once the fundraisers were complete, Naples Lakes held a dinner-dance to show its appreciation to the members for their philanthropic efforts.
“This is the first time we’ve done a community-wide event,” Pavento says. “It was a fun three months with a lot of different community activities. Everyone was focused on that fundraising activity.”
Although NLCC had hoped to raise $10,000 for Team Rubicon, the property raised almost $21,000. And for Roe, this was just the beginning.
“We want to have a long-term relationship with Team Rubicon. We want to continue this for many years to come,” he says. “Next year we’re going to set a higher goal of $25,000. We also hope to bring awareness about Team Rubicon to other clubs.”