FORT MYERS, Florida – The Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation wrapped up its 20th annual Pro-Am golf and tennis tournaments and auction gala at Fiddlesticks Country Club on Monday, Feb. 21. This year’s festivities raised a record $1.7 million in net revenue and counting, bringing the 20-year total to over $15 million in donations to benefit abused and at-risk children in Southwest Florida.
The Foundation’s two primary charity partners are the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida and Abuse Counseling & Treatment. Additional beneficiaries include Blessings in a Backpack and Liberty Youth Ranch.
Founded by longtime Fiddlesticks Country Club resident Bobby Nichols, winner of 14 PGA Tour events, the PGA recognizes the Nichols Cup golf tournament as one of the most successful community sponsored Pro-Am tournaments in the United States.
“We attract some of the greatest golfers for the Pro-Am, and it’s continued to grow over the years,” said Nichols, 82, whose 30-year PGA Tour career from 1960-1989 includes winning the 1964 PGA Championship and 1974 Canadian Open. “Together with our neighbors we have raised $15 million, and every dollar has stayed local to provide services for abused children, even beds and shelter for children escaping an abusive home situation.”
About 500 people attended the Saturday night fundraising gala, virtually or in person, bidding on silent and live auction items. Top-selling auction items included a one-of-a-kind pendant with diamonds, tanzanite and brick from the Coliseum in Rome, donated by Mark Loren Designs; a sunset dinner cruise for 20 guests aboard the 144-foot “Driller II” yacht, courtesy of Tim and Sandy Youngquist; precision instruments for timekeeping from Ernst Benz; hand-crafted, luxury-quality, iconic handbags from BSWANKY; and a Masters golf package. Additionally, there was a direct plea for donations from baseball legend Johnny Bench, who emceed the event along with auctioneer Scott Robertson.
“We’re very blessed to have a wonderful community support us for 20 years now, allowing the Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Foundation to give back to these charities who serve our mission to assist abused and at-risk children in our community,” said Bryan Simmering, vice president of the Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation and a resident of Fiddlesticks.
The Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation was founded in 2002 by a group of Fiddlesticks members, known as ‘Pipers,’ who volunteer to organize and run the annual Nichols Cup Pro-Am Golf & Tennis Tournaments. Since the formation of the Bobby Nichols Fiddlesticks Charity Foundation 20 years ago, over $15 million has been distributed to local children’s charities with plans already under way to continue the tradition next year.