Sandler Family Golf Tournament raises funds for three area organizations

July 16, 2018

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Philanthropy was so intricately woven into the fabric of Reba and Sam Sandler’s family, that it should be no surprise that their children continue on their parents’ path. Perhaps one might suggest however, that equally important to their own generous gifts is that Steve and Art Sandler and their families have found ways to help others be philanthropic, too. Doing so, they say, is a tribute to their parents’ memory.

One such example is the Sam and Reba Sandler Family Foundation Golf Tournament, which for 22 years has quietly raised funds to support United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Holocaust Commission and FACT— Families of Autistic Children in Tidewater. In recent years, UJFT’s Community Relations Council and the Samaritan House have also been added as beneficiaries. The tournament has evolved over the years, with a committee diligently working for months on the event, securing commitments from area businesses to sponsor various aspects, such as advertisements, signs, entry fees, etc.

On Tuesday, June 12, 250 golfers, 40 volunteers, and others gathered at Herron’s Ridge and the Signature courses in Virginia Beach for a rainy, misty day of golf. The precipitation didn’t begin to dampen the mood, however, as the tournament grossed more than $200,000.

A high-end tournament, the golfers’ experience is exceptional, according to Lynn T. Easton, 2018 Tournament director. In addition to lunch and the opportunity to win plenty of prizes, when play is complete, golfers are treated to a cocktail reception followed by dinner.

Just after the reception, representatives from each of the recipient organizations have an opportunity to tell their story and thank the Sandler families, as well as the golfers and sponsors for the financial assistance.

This year, Harry Graber, then executive vice president of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, was the first to speak. In addition to thanking the crowd, he spoke of the atrocities that took place during the Holocaust and of the need for the Holocaust Commission to educate and stand up against intolerance. Graber also cited the good works of divisions of the CRC such as the Be a Reader program.

Next, Pam Clendenen, executive director of FACT spoke. FACT hosts Camp Gonnawannagoagin, a summer camp for Autistic children. For most of these children, this is their only opportunity to have a camp experience. One of the campers accompanied Clendenen and drew rousing applause.

Robin Gauthier, executive director of the Samaritan House, which last year used the tournament’s donation to purchase an additional home to provide another residence for domestic abuse victims and their families, also spoke of the importance of their work and expressed their appreciation to the participants.

Steve Sandler wrapped up the brief presentation by imploring those attending to help strangers, those in need. “If you see someone with a problem on the road, would you make a U-turn to offer assistance?” he asked. Sandler said he hoped that everyone at the tournament would make giving and taking care of others part of their lives. He also said he looked forward to seeing everyone at the tournament next year.

- Terri Denison

Letter to the Editor