Guitars, Golf And The Greater Good

Bigger, better 5th Annual NEEDTOBREATHE Classic celebrity golf tourney on DI tees off Mar. 27
BY:
CHARLIE MORRISON

On Monday, March 27 the Daniel Island Club will play host to the 5th Annual NEEDTOBREATHE Classic, a charity golf tournament put on by the Commonwealth Cares Foundation, the charitable arm of Daniel Island investment firm Commonwealth Financial Group. The event will bring together golfers, musicians, and the charity-minded for a day of golf on the club’s Beresford and Ralston Creek courses followed by an exclusive after-party and concert with Grammy-nominated, South Carolina-based rock band NEEDTOBREATHE.

All proceeds from the event go to Charleston-based 501c3 non-profit OneWorld Health, a charity implementing a unique, sustainable model in delivering health care to the developing world, particularly through their projects in Uganda and Nicaragua.

OneWorld Health (formerly known as the Palmetto Medical Initiative) operates six state-of-the-art medical centers in Uganda and Nicaragua, which it constructs with the intention of creating a stand-alone, self-sustaining facility. The organization continues its work in both countries and this year, with the help from the thousands of dollars generated by the NEEDTOBREATE Classic, they hope to expand their efforts with the completion of another new facility in Kijunjubwa, Uganda.

The Commonwealth Cares foundation has operated its charity golf tournament since 2007, rotating beneficiaries every three years. But since partnering with NEEDTOBREATE and OneWorld Health in 2013, the tournament has taken off, both in popularity and impact.

“The Foundation really is kind of the heart of our organization,” says Commonwealth Financial Group President and CEO Britt Gilbert, a Daniel Island resident. “The brains and business piece is here, but Commonwealth Cares is the heart by which we express ourselves.”

“When we partnered with NEEDTOBREATHE it took on celebrity status,” adds Gilbert. “Commonwealth’s reach was Charleston and then NEEDTOBREATHE’s reach, as they gained popularity, became nationwide. We expect to have 200 golfers and 600 concert-goers. We’ll have people come in from Texas and California and we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do that without those guys. We’ve doubled the dollars raised and doubled the experience. This is the first year where we’ll really capture the experience we’ve been trying to create. We’re drawing in some big names to the tournament.”

The 2017 festivities have grown from previous incarnations in that the Monday golf tournament, silent auction and concert will be preceded by a new offering, an exclusive live auction in the Daniel Island Club’s Cedar Room open to donors of $10,000 or more.

The new program represents the Cares Foundation doing what they could to expand an event that has maxed out the day at the club and needed room to grow, without raising the overall price to take part.

Financially, the event has been a roaring success over the past five years, and has grown every single year to boot. The first tournament grossed $40,000, but that number has basically doubled each of the three years since.

“Every year our goal is to be in that $300,000 to $400,000 range and over the last few years we’ve done so,” says Gilbert. “Obviously, it’s a big event to put on, but we generated a net back to the organization last year of about $150,000.”

The concert portion of the event plays a big part in meeting those financial goals. NEEDTOBREATHE band members Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart, Seth Bolt and Josh Lovelace are long-time supporters of OneWorld Health. The band will donate one dollar from each concert ticket sold to the organization.

“Some people come out just to hear the band, and that’s okay,” begins Gilbert. “They don’t need to know who OneWorld is. Our clients come out, they don’t necessarily need to know who the band is. Everyone’s coming out for different reasons, but in the end, it all works for good and that’s all I’m trying to accomplish.”

“I don’t care if you’re coming out from the faith standpoint, you’re coming out to play golf, or you’re coming out to hear the band,” he continues. “I don’t care why you are here – I’m just thankful you are, because in the end, it will have all produced something good.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. the day of the tournament with a shotgun start at 11 a.m. Golfers can select from an individual golfer option, a standard foursome experience or a celebrity foursome experience. To register or for more information, visit http://www.commonwealthcares.org. For more info on OneWorld Health, see their site at OneWorldHealth.com and to learn more about NEEDTOBREATHE see http://www.needtobreathe.com.

Who’s coming?
In addition to NEEDTOBREATHE, other celebrities expected to play in the tournament include:
• Rachel Baribeau, commentator for SEC, NFL, NASCAR and more
• Rick Barry, retired NBA player
• Tajh Boyd, former Clemson University quarterback
• Mark Bryan, founding member of Hootie & the Blowfish
• Lee Elder, retired PGA player; first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975
• Russell Henley, professional golfer
• Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver
• Barrett Jones, NFL and former University of Alabama player
• Mat Kearney, musician
• John Mark McMillan, musician
• Mac Powell, musician
• David Nail, musician
• Ben Rector, musician
• George Rogers, former New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins player
• Sterling Sharpe, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver
• Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans placekicker
• Tyler Thigpen, NFL player, including former starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs
• Dekoda Watson, linebacker for the Denver Broncos
• Gus Williams, retired NBA player, most notably with the Seattle SuperSonics
• Kevin Youngblood, former wide receiver with the Atlanta Falcons who went on to work for the Secret Service
 

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