Ed Hart felt compelled to accept the reins of the Whitford Charitable Fund Classic when his predecessor Bruce Hockman – whose idea it was to raise money for nonprofits in the area through a weekend of golf, tennis, auctions, and more – decided to step aside.
“I started my State Farm (insurance) agency in Lionville 27 years ago,” said Hart, a member of Exton’s Whitford Country Club since 1994. “And if you remember Lionville 27 years ago, you know that it pretty much didn’t exist.
“I figured this would be a good way to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today.”
The sixth annual Whitford Charitable Fund Classic is slated for Sept. 16-18, and if it’s as successful as the ones before it, some worthy nonprofits are going to be cashing hefty checks to the tune of thousands.
As chairman of the Whitford board, Hockman’s brainchild came to life in 2011 with the inaugural classic, which used great food, drink, and competition as vehicles to raise $65,000 for great causes.
“Instead of focusing on putting big prize money together for some pros (in the Pro-Am golf tournament), we hit on the idea of putting the money together for nonprofits that do good community work,” Hockman said.
This year’s schedule of events commences Friday, Sept. 16 with the Women’s Tennis Classic (9 AM-3 PM) and Men’s Tennis Classic (1:30-4 PM). The Gala (dinner, dance, and auction) follows at 6 PM.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, registration for the Sponsors’ Golf Tournament opens at 11 AM, and the shotgun start is at 1 PM.
Registration for the Pro-Am golf tournament, meanwhile, is Sunday at 10 AM, with the start at noon.
“Our firm supports a number of charities, and we likewise have a habit of spreading the dollars around, but the Whitford Charitable Fund Classic, in particular, is so special,” said Kim Brumbaugh, a member of Whitford for nine years and the founder and CEO of Brumbaugh Wealth Management, the primary golf sponsor for the event.
“Bruce had a great vision, and it has really come to life. Whitford has really distinguished itself (among other country clubs) with its charitable arm.”
Brumbaugh is in her second year on the Classic’s committee. Since debuting in 2011, the event has raised more than a half-million dollars for charity.
“A lot of our donations are sorely needed,” she said. “Because of (recent) budget delays in Pennsylvania, a lot of nonprofits have had to wait for funding.
“We distribute money through a very thoughtful, formal process, and to an array of causes, like food pantries, libraries, and support for women and children who’ve experienced domestic violence at home.”
To his credit, Hockman foresaw the excitement generated by the Classic.
“There’s an electricity and a synergy that comes from doing good works, and doing good works together,” he said.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC), for one, would not be as effective without Whitford’s financial assistance.
“Without organizations like the Whitford Charitable Fund in Chester County, we wouldn’t be able to serve the families that we serve,” said Corrine Murphy, the director of SPARC.
“Whitford’s contributions also help us maintain highly-qualified staff. All of our clients are being served by behavior analysts with Master’s Degrees. This approach separates us from most other autism service providers across the country.”