Corporate and Athletic Leaders Teamed to Raise Money For Chi Chi's Kids
Photos/text by Renee Burrell
Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation Board members Frank Chivas, restaurateur and owner of the Island Way Grill, Salt Rock Grill, Marlin Darlin and Rumba (left) and Tom James CEO, Raymond James (center) presented Garth Boline (right) with a gift for his twenty years of dedication to Chi Chi's kids. Not pictured are other Board members Robert D. Basham co-Founder, Outback Steakhouse; John A. Brabson, Jr.; Owner, Everest Partners, Inc; Blake J. Casper CEO Casper's Company; Sam Ellison CEO, Beck International; Fazal A. Fazlin; J. Douglas Gregory Director of Operations, Schroeder Measurement Technologies; George J. Kehl Managing Partner, KPMG; Andy Krusen CEO DFG Management; Eric McClenaghan Agent, Chi Chi Rodriguez Management Group, Inc.; Philip Powell CEO/President, C3 Management, Inc.& Powell Holding & Development; Elliot M. Ross Owner The Ross Realty Group; Fred E. Whaley Managing Director, Raymond James and Associates and Mark Wimberly Vice President, South Coastal Region, Progress Energy Florida. In thanks for their efforts, Board members were presented with a thousand dollar gift certificate for a photo session and a canvas portrait at the award winning Pepito Masterpiece Portrait studio, Tampa
Hall of Fame golfing legend, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Tampa Bay Buc Captain, Chris Hovan invited the public to the Chi Chi Invitational held at the Bayou Country Club, Largo, Sunday. Sixty golfers participated and Chi Chi Academy students Sean Fromme (13) and Brian Kuhles (15) won the handicap scramble with a score of 60.
The day was capped off at Raymond James Financial International Headquarters, St. Petersburg, with an exciting auction and dinner courtesy of Island Way Grill. Hovan, and his wife Jaimi hosted the evening while composer and singer Allan Darcy entertained the one hundred fifty in attendance.
Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation Senior Vice President & Director of Development Cary Stiff said of, "We would like to thank Chris and Jaimi Hovan for stepping in to host the dinner program at the Chi Chi Invitational Annual Dinner…The Hovan's are constantly helping organizations large and small in our Tampa Bay community. They, like their Tampa Buccaneer predecessors--the Dungy's, Dunn's, Alstotts, and the Brooks continue a philanthropic tradition that touches countless lives in our area. We are honored to have Chris & Jaimi on Chi Chi's team."
Tom James, Chairman of the Board, said of the Hovans, "The purpose is to instill good values, discipline and education for children in their formative years. The Hovan family represents all of those great values."
The day of fundraising netted over $170,000 with $67,000 of that amount coming from the auction. Proceeds will go to help build a new Sports Kids Center and expand Academy enrollment to 250 children.
The Academy provides at risk children a way to overcome adversity in a unique way: through the game of golf. The Academy utilizes golf as the cornerstone of a program that builds self-esteem, instills a strong work ethic, and stresses the importance of a good education in the lives of disadvantaged children. The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Rodriguez was unable to attend this year as he was in New York fulfilling contractual commitments with Lexus, his main sponsor. Said Frankie Ingo, Public Relations Director at the Academy, "Chi Chi personally called and asked Fuzzy Zoeller to cover the golf tournament during the day at the Bayou Country Club and asked Chris Hovan to cover the evening festivities. Both stepped in at the 11th hour and did a superlative job. Fuzzy entertained and greeted golfers for the day but had to leave before the dinner that evening.
Several highlights accentuated the evening. One came when the Hovans bid $3,000 and won a 3 day stay at The Cove Atlantis in Paradise Island and a round of golf for two at the Ocean Club. Seven other guests including Tom James, Chairman of the Board bid on a trip for $35,000 that included transportation by private jet to Robert Trent Jones Golf Club for 3 days of golf which was generously donated by co founder of Outback Steakhouse and Academy board member Bob Basham. Other spectacular auction prizes included condo lodgings at Eagle Vail Colorado and Park City Utah, and fishing excursions in Costa Rica and Key West.
Annually, over 1,200 children attend Academy programs, including a full time public school, summer camps, after-school and community service programs at the Academy's 170 acre school, regulation golf course and practice facility. Upon graduation, students are integrated back into regularly zoned public schools, better prepared for academic success but also for the game of life. The Academy also offers scholarship opportunities for future higher education expenses for former students.
In addition, the Academy also includes The First Tee of Clearwater and provides educational facilities and support services for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Pinellas. The recently expanded Academy campus allowed the fully-accredited school to double its student population and to add new grades levels to now serve students fourth through eighth grade.
Frankie Ingo Public Relations & Events Manager for the Chi Chi Rodriguez Foundation said, "Although Rockin The First Tee IV (Rock Concert & Golf Tournament) is still in the planning for the fall of 2009, the Chi Chi Charity Classic will mark the 30th anniversary of the Academy and is scheduled now for November. The event will include a two day golf tournament and a host of multiday celebration activities. Stay tuned for final details on www.chichi.org."
Tampa Bay Buccaneer Chris Hovan and his wife Jaimi hosted the Chi Chi Rodriguez Invitational dinner and conducted the auction Sunday night
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