Event Date: June 5, 2021
Location: TopGolf Katy
Event: Golfing Event
No. of Attendees: 200+
Money Raised: $318,000+
Beneficiary: TEACH (To Educate All Children)
Honorary Chair: Chuck Jenness
Chairpersons: Cornel and Phyllis Williams
Photography: Daniel Ortiz
Tee Up Fore TEACH—“Hitting a Long Drive”
TopGolf Katy was the place to be this past weekend. The cloudy skies promised another day of drizzling rain but it was not to be. The clouds parted and an airy, light breeze made it a perfect day for more than 200 golfers to support this worthy non-profit that provides training and coaching to Houston educators. TEACH (To Educate All Children) held its third annual “Tee Up Fore TEACH” golf event and its first in-person event in over a year. Chairpersons Phyllis and Cornel Williams, Honorary Chair Chuck Jenness, along with supporters and sponsors, helped raise over $318,000, with $85,000 of that total contributed from the online pre-event auction, held several weeks earlier and chaired by Amber Elliott and Lauren Randle.
TopGolf (Target-Oriented Practice Golf), a high-tech golf driving range and entertainment center, was founded in 2000 in the U.K. The concept has taken off across the U.S. and the greater Houston area has acquired three of these unique facilities since 2012, which are now in full “swing.” The Katy complex contains 102 climate-controlled individual and group driving bays on three levels. Their golf balls are micro-chipped, so this technology makes it easier to see “who hit it the farthest!” Caps off to TEACH, the chairmen, and the event team for creating such an inventive and exciting fundraiser. Guests didn’t even have to yell FORE! The event included a chef-inspired menu, hand-crafted cocktails, music and of course, Golf!
TEACH was founded in 2005 by businesswoman Susan Sarofim and educator Mary Yenik to assist in achieving greater equity in education by empowering teachers to create classrooms where deep learning can occur for all students. Many in the social community and their businesses believe in this organization and have become major sponsors, including Susan and Fayez Sarofim, the Astros Foundation, Opportune LLP, and RSM.
One interesting twist that arose out of the pandemic, which actually helped with their fundraising efforts—and is likely to become the “social fundraising norm,” (at least for a while)—is holding the silent auction online and weeks before the actual event date. Pre-tournament, after practicing their swings, donors had the chance to peruse a few rare and high-brow silent auction items and raffle prizes such as a round of golf at Bluejack National, a tea set by Tiffany & Co., several award-winning wine cellars, and a “Date Night with Dom (Perignon) at Steak 48.” Winning teams were Opportune LLP and team “Red Hot For TEACH,” captained by Rosemary Schatzman.
TEACH Executive Director Alvin Abraham closed the program with thanks to everyone involved with the event and a special thanks to the educators who have worked so hard to educate kids during this unprecedented last year and a half. “We want to make sure teachers have the tools they need to help students succeed,” said Abraham. “TEACH looks forward to fall when our program team can once again join educators and students in their classrooms.”
Proceeds of the Tee Up Fore TEACH event and auction will enable the organization to serve approximately 1,000 educators at 20 HISD partner schools, reaching over 12,000 students.
Socially present and on the Multi-Level Artificial Green: Holly and Austin Alvis, Mary and Jim Boyles, Tashiana Briggs, Divya and Chris Brown, Andy Canales, Dr. Yvonne Cormier, Dr. Rick Cruz, Alex Hales Elizondo and Luis Elizondo-Thomson, Zina Garrison, Marian Harper, Leisa Holland-Nelson and Bob Bowman, Peggie Kohnert, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Adriana Banks Monroe and Mark Monroe, Rose and Kenneth Senegal, Dr. Kevin Smith, Rachel and Sebastien Solar, David Sprague, Laura Stein, Janae and Kenny Tsai, Anne Van Horn, Chris Venegas, Kathy Wells, and additional Red Hot for TEACH team members Shelley Frisby, Gayla Gardner, Charlotte Hutson, Peggy Kostial, and Mary Whalley