DELRAY BEACH, Florida – Ernie Els is one of golf’s best-known philanthropists, particularly through his Els for Autism Foundation.
Now the World Golf Hall of Famer, 2019 Presidents Cup Captain, and PGA Tour star Ernie Els has issued a challenge to his fellow professionals and club golfers everywhere: ‘Become the captain of your club, adopt a local hospital, and marshal club resources to deliver greatly needed supplies to those on the frontlines during this unprecedented international health crisis.’
That’s the essence of ClubsHELP, a 501(c)7 foundation created to connect clubs with hospitals in their local areas to provide critically needed support for health workers as they care for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sense of community generated in each market has been stronger than ever. Now, this collective energy, along with club resources, are being deployed where they are needed most – at the local level.
“When my management team told me about this initiative, I was right behind it straight away,” said Els. “It’s a shining example of how people all around the world are pulling together in this crisis to help vulnerable members of society and, of course, support the frontline healthcare staff who are literally putting their lives on the line for all of us.”
How does this new initiative work?
A member steps up to be her/his club’s “captain.” The club then adopts a local hospital and the adopted hospital appoints a captain. Working cooperatively, the captains identify the most pressing needs at the adopted hospital. Then club members, companies, and individual donors pitch in to gather, collect, and deliver the most necessary items and resources to the hospital.
David Bachman, general manager of Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown, N.J., got the idea from one of his members and her daughters who wanted to become actively involved and help their local hospital, Morristown Memorial. The club is now an ongoing supplier of food, beverages, and PPE equipment to its adopted hospital.
When news of Spring Brook Country Club’s efforts to assist its community hospital surfaced in the media, Rob Goulet, CEO of Entertainment Sports Partners, and manager to Els, reached out to Bachman suggesting they turn this local program into a national campaign by engaging the always-charitable minded golf community. In the process, ClubsHELP Foundation, a 501(c)7 organization, was born.
“Every community wants to support their local hospital and first responders. We know that strength in numbers – clubs and their members’ networks – could make a meaningful impact.” Goulet said.
The team went into action last week and quickly assisted hospitals in beleaguered Northeastern states of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. ClubsHELP companies, such as Clif Bar and AT&T, are already supplying Mt. Sinai and Bellevue Hospitals in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The most pressing needs for the frontline hospital workers are basic food items that can be consumed quickly, PPE supplies, UV lighting for sterilization of phones and keys, and delivery services,” said Bachman. “Anything a member may be able to offer, including transport vehicles, personnel, or manufacturing capabilities, should be raised with their club and hospital captains.”
The assistance of golf’s premier organizations, including the National Club Association and Golf Writers Association of America, and leadership have pledged to jump start the ClubsHELP program and make a swift and meaningful impact in communities throughout the United States. Additionally, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) have alerted their memberships that golf clubs across the country are activating.
To be a captain, register your club, pledge support, or get additional information, access the web site at www.clubshelp.org