One organization that refuses to turn a deaf ear to its preferred cause is a group of Whirlpool employee volunteers who are moving ahead with the 14th annual Spring Swing Golf Classic and Auction.
The popular fundraiser — which is organized and coordinated strictly through employees — supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee, a highly respected nonprofit group whose services extend deeply into our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.
Over the past few years, multiple children of area families have been handed their dream-come-true compliments of the local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter and supportive fundraisers like the Spring Swing. These recipients aren’t just any children. These are youngsters of all ages who face life-threatening illnesses. Sadly, in many cases the illnesses cannot be cured.
Employee volunteers from three Whirlpool functions — Whirlpool Cleveland Division (the plant), Whirlpool Cleveland Customer eXperience Center (the call center) and Whirlpool Cleveland Cooking Technology Center (research and engineering) — each year work in conjunction with company vendors and Make-A-Wish staff to coordinate the fundraising auction and golf tournament.
Their work is unpaid.
Their time is their gift.
Their dedication is supported by their company.
Yet realistically, times are still hard. Like many charitable causes, the Spring Swing faces uphill battles made even steeper by an economy that is slow to recover. But the volunteers march on, refusing to give up their cause.
The silent and live auction kicks off Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum Center at Five Points. Attendees can expect plenty of high-quality selections on which to bid — including home appliances donated by Whirlpool. The night will include food and live music.
The following morning, 4-player golf teams will tee off at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at the Chatata Valley Golf Course.
It’s not too late to sign up for the golf tournament or to commit to attending the festive auction. Assuredly, an entertaining time will be had by all who attend, especially those who enjoy a good bargain, great food, professional musicians and a charitable cause as precious as young children stricken with serious illnesses that rob hope and steal life.
The volunteer-based board of directors that coordinates the Spring Swing understands the financial handicaps under which many families and businesses remain. So they take a realistic, and a heartfelt, approach.
One board member tells us, “Realizing that the economy is on everyone’s mind and in the pockets of us all, it is never a good time to ask. Unfortunately, kids still have life-threatening illnesses and for some the glimmer at the end of the tunnel is a wish.”
Her endearing bottom line tells the heart of the story, “We are not asking for a lot of money from a few, but a little money from a lot.”
Certainly other charitable causes continue their work as well, even in the face of such brutal economic struggles. It is as difficult for the traditional donor to say “no” as it is for the nonprofit to ask for help in these troubled times.
But the work of the Make-A-Wish Foundation stands on its own merit.
Whirlpool employees who make the Spring Swing possible are making a difference, judging from the numbers. In the event’s history it has raised almost $400,000 for the cause of seriously ill children. This year’s goal is $40,000.
We urge area residents to join the outreach.
One does not have to love golf. One has only to love children.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting Shelia Nicholson at 423-559-3474 or Dale Hall at 423-478-4213.
Make the call for Make-A-Wish.