United Way Golf Outing to boost volunteerism

Madison is consistently ranked among the top American cities in terms of the number of nonprofit organizations per capita, which creates endless opportunities for people who want to get involved in community-building. A relatively new event, the second annual United Way Golf Outing, is in the early stages of boosting volunteerism by raising funds for the organization’s volunteer center.

There is still time to register for the event, a fundraiser with networking opportunities that will be held on Saturday, May 21, from noon to 6 p.m., at Pleasant View Golf Course in Middleton. It features a standard golf scramble where participants play in foursomes, but golfers can also sign up to play solo.

With the pandemic gradually fading, Steve Ticknor, director of corporate and community engagement for the United Way of Dane County, expects participation to pick up, especially with the cause-related purpose. Proceeds will support United Way of Dane County’s volunteer center, which helps connect people to the many volunteer opportunities that support the United Way’s local mission.

“There is more interest to get out, and people feel a little more excited,” Ticknor notes. “They were a little bit more cautious last year — just talking teams into coming out and reassuring them that we’re going to do this safely — but we’re a little bit back to normal.”

The fee for a foursome is $400 (an affordable $100 per person), and the scramble-style, best-ball format might come with twists such as a two-putt maximum on the greens — stay tuned. Ticknor expects the event to attract a variety of teams. “It’s really all across the board,” Ticknor says. “You would think, with a golf outing like this, that it’s very corporate and you get a lot of businesses sending foursomes, but it’s kind of cool having the young professionals’ side of it. We just get groups of friends together who come out, and they are golfing alongside teams from banks and financial institutions and what have you. It is a mixed bag for sure.”

Volunteer, grab a beer
The event will be hosted by LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.), the United Way’s philanthropic-minded young professionals group, and by the United Way’s Business Volunteer Network. It came about after local real estate executive Zach Figiel, who along with wife Ally runs the Figiel Team and who serves as the chair of LINC, approached Ticknor about partnering on a golf outing to benefit the United Way.

Last year, the first outing had a decent turnout under the pandemic circumstances, and this year’s ramp up includes opportunities to educate golfers about volunteerism. Their unofficial tagline — volunteer, grab a beer — implies that fun will be had, but part of the fun will involve volunteerism and education at three golf holes sponsored by groups affiliated with UWDC.

One of them is Women United, a women’s affinity group that will have onsite volunteer activity (packing menstrual health kits) while golfers wait on one tee. Another is Lead United, the UWDC’s giving society for donors of $1,000 and more, which will encourage golfers to put together care packages (personal hygiene kits) on another tee. In addition, the Business Volunteer Network and LINC will be on another hole putting together healthy snack packs for kids in after-school programs run by other UWDC partner agencies.

The kits fill a need and raise awareness of the fact that public assistance programs often don’t cover things such personal hygiene. “We’re trying to infuse a little bit of that into the golf,” Ticknor says. “So, when you stop, when you’re waiting to tee off or whatever, you pack one of these things, and you learn a little bit about each group and what their mission is and what they are trying to achieve.”

The main beneficiary of the golf outing, the UWDC’s volunteer center, is not yet a dedicated physical space, but it was recently endowed through the organization’s Centennial Campaign, so it could become an actual facility someday. At the moment, it’s more of an online clearinghouse where people can get their questions answered about local nonprofits.

“We try to get all nonprofits in the area to add their opportunities,” Ticknor says, “and then likewise, message it in the community and to all of our corporate partners for employees and individuals to find volunteer opportunities there … This is the one-stop shop where you can find something philanthropic to do in the community.”

Come one, come all
Ticknor says the golf course needs to have a headcount the week before the May 21 event, so there is still time to get a foursome together. Details are available here, and any person or organization interested in being a sponsor can send an email message to events@uwdc.org.

While the golf outing is primarily for young business professionals under 30, it’s democratic enough to welcome people over 30 as well. Even those who don’t plan to play golf are welcome to come out and attend an “after party” that features a raffle, volunteer engagement, and refreshments.

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