Eagles for Children, a program in which golfing members pledge $2 for every eagle hit on the golf course, got its start at two Michigan clubs and is continuing to grow.
About four years ago, two members of Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., came up with a charitable-giving idea that they shared with some friends at Walnut Creek Country Club in South Lyon, Mich. The program, which came to be known as Eagles for Children, was successfully presented to both clubs’ Boards, and has since been expanded to seven clubs in Michigan.
To participate in the program, members pledge $2 for every eagle scored by a member or their families on their club’s golf course (members can choose to pledge $2 an unlimited number of times throughout the season, or cap their pledge at 50 eagles). Members also have the option of making a one-time donation.
At Walnut Creek CC, once an eagle is scored, the golfer’s name is listed on a tote board in the halfway house, and each member who made a pledge is automatically billed. Toward the end of the golfing season, members turn in grant applications for a children’s charity they would like to have benefit from the program. All of the money raised goes into a pot, and a subcommittee sifts through the applications to ensure that each charity selected (which is typically local) uses all of the funds to benefit children, and not for administrative fees.
“Last year, our club raised around $40,000, and we gave chunks of money to eight different charities,” says Kevin Frantz, Walnut Creek’s General Manager. “We currently have about 150 members participating.”
The club then submits the financial information to the Eagles for Children website, and the organization’s administrator cuts the checks. Each club then hosts a ceremony that includes representatives of the charities receiving the funds.
The program currently has two goals, says Frantz: First, to reach $1 million for the whole program (according to the Eagles for Children website, the program has raised $551,864 since year one), and second, to branch out beyond Michigan and take the program national.
“The best part is obviously giving out the grant money to the administrators from various charities, and seeing how emotional they get when you hand them the check,” Frantz says.