Generosity has driven the worldview of the Whitford Country Club membership since before its first swing, and that outpouring continues to outpace other Chester County players in the game.
“There are lots of reasons to join a country club. We have found, more often than not, people want to help others. There is an excitement, an electricity and a synergy that comes from doing good works, and doing good works together,” visionary board member Bruce Hockman said in the Chester County Community Foundation’s 2015 Annual Report.
“At Whitford, we pride ourselves on being a community of friends. If we can get the club to think that giving something back is part of the membership deal at Whitford, then we will have gotten something right. It’s a good thing to do.”
Founded on generosity in 1955 through a gift of 168 acres from Al Ostheimer, the 18-hole golf, tennis and swimming facility is known for the volunteer spirit that courses through the veins of many of its members. And in 2011, the community of givers ushered in a new round of philanthropy after feeling compelled to “do something different … something that was inspiring and would make Whitford stand out,” the CCCF profile stated.
It was then that the Whitford Charitable Fund teed off in conjunction with the club’s Whitford Pro-Am tradition.
“Instead of focusing on putting big prize money together for some pros, we hit on the idea of putting the money together for nonprofits that do good community work,” Hockman said.
The now-signature Whitford Charitable Fund Classic combines members’ values for a good time, a good game, and good food and drink for a great cause on the weekend after Labor Day.
Grants totaling $65,000 were recorded in its 2011 debut, and the fund has since chipped in more than half a million dollars to help its neighbors have a shot at a better life.
“The Grants Committee likes to focus on nonprofits with budgets under $1 million, because we believe the money can go a longer way and have a larger impact,” Hockman added. “The process gets more difficult every year. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to good people who do good work.”
To date, the fund has benefitted 23 nonprofits, all of which provide a majority of their services to Chester County residents. Recipients have included:
- Aidan’s Heart Foundation
- Camphill Special School
- The CCCF Grant Fund
- Chester County Food Bank
- Chester County Futures
- Chester County Hero Fund
- Chester County Public Safety Training Foundation
- Chester County SPCA
- Coatesville Youth Initiative
- Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
- Downingtown Area Senior Center
- Downingtown Library
- Family Lives On
- Good Works
- Home of the Sparrow
- Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy
- Interfaith Housing Assistance Corp. of Chester County
- Lord’s Pantry of Downingtown
- Maternal & Child Health Consortium of Chester County
- Partners in Outreach
- Phoenixville Area Children’s Learning Center
- Safe Harbor
- SE PA Autism Resource Center
- Wings for Success