About a week ago, pickleball champion Jennifer Lucore added an exciting post to her blog regarding Pro-Am fundraisers. This is a concept we’d love to see spread as more groups learn about the concept. If you haven’t heard about these interesting opportunities, it may be something worth suggesting at your own local pickleball club.
The Pro-Am fundraiser Jennifer recently discussed took place at the Bobby Riggs Tennis & Pickleball Center in CA (where you can enjoy several PickleballTournaments Training Camps) to raise money for PTSD. The idea pairs up professional players with amateurs depending on who “purchases” them first.
Several pros were claimed online before the event, and those remaining were auctioned off beforehand. Many pros went for $800 – 1000, so it was heartening to see players come together to compete and support a great cause.
The California-based fundraiser was specifically in honor of Erich Schuette, pickleball partner to the organizer Jeff Donovan. While Erich had a supportive family and won gold with Jeff at the Utah State pickleball championships, he also suffered from PTSD as a veteran and took his life several months afterwards.
Jeff has continued to raise awareness about the pain this disorder can cause since Sept 2016. He has currently contributed over $77,500 to charities like Continue Mission and is still going strong!
The event at the Bobby Riggs Center included training and mingling with the pros, food, the competition itself, and later a silent auction for pickleball gear. For those who couldn’t afford to “buy” a pro themselves, there were still opportunities to listen to their strategies and spend time with the visitors before the tournament.
It sounds like it was an enjoyable day for all, and a wonderful way to give newer picklers a chance to play with athletes they’d normally only see at 5.0 tournaments! If you’re in the mood for a little event organizing and have a cause in mind, give it a shot within your own group.
You can check out the structure of Jeff’s Pro-Am fundraiser here. If you end up starting your own and want it covered, feel free to give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.