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Joliet Township High School Foundation sets golf outing date, tries to reset fundraising mission

The Joliet Township High School Foundation will host its 20th Annual Golf outing on June 17 as it tries to get its fundraising mission back on track amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foundation president Mark Turk said the event will include 18 holes of golf, games and prizes, and food.

All proceeds benefit Joliet Township High School District 204 students and staff. The foundation typically provides $40,000 in scholarships and $30,000 in special project grants each year, a news release from the foundation said.

Foundation assets have surpassed a previously set goal of $2 million goal, the release said.

So does this mean the COVID-19 hasn’t affected the foundation’s mission?

“It hasn’t affected our mission,” Turk said. “It’s affected our ability to complete the mission.”

Turk said completing the mission is difficult without hosting in-person events, especially annual ones – with the March trivia event and the summer golf outing being the main ones.

The foundation typically clears about $15,000 from the golf outing and about $10,000 from the trivia event, Turk said.

The golf outing was canceled last year. The trivia event, held in 2020 the week before the state shutdown began, was canceled this year.

Individual and businesses set up their schedules and budgets to accommodate the fundraisers, Turk said. But when those events are canceled, a break occurs in the relationships between the foundation and supporters that becomes challenging to repair.

“It’s almost like starting all over again when you start it again,” Turk said. “If you take a wire and rub on the coating too much, it can wear through and then you have to replace the wire. It’s the same way with fundraisers.”

Turk said a typical golf outing attracts 100 attendees. But he can think of many reasons why 100 won’t register this year, everything from people can’t afford it to being at high risk for the virus to simply being out of the habit of making the event a priority.

He is also aware that if the numbers of COVID-19 cases greatly increase, this year’s golf outing might even be canceled. But since people are already outside golfing, Turk hopes that’s not the case.

“There’s a pretty good chance we’ll be able to hold it,” Turk said. “We just have to hope that what’s going on with COVID won’t scare people away. But we’ll have to deal with the social distance, with masking. We’ve talked to the golf course. The cost has gone up extraordinarily because of what they have to do to keep people safe on the golf course…but we’re not raising the price of the golf outing.”

The trivia event in 2020 was affected by COVID-19.

“We had it and then the state shut everything down the week after that,” Turk said. “We were lucky. Now there were people last year who had committed to the trivia and didn’t show because they were concerned about what was starting to happen and I respected that decision on their part. But when it came to the [2020] golf outing, we knew there was no way we could hold it.”

This is how COVID-19 impacted the foundation. Turk said the foundation will have to “take a serious look” at how many scholarships and grants it can bestow in the future.

Because the foundation had already committed to a certain number for this year, “we’re just gong to have to dig into endowment principal to make sure we’re able to give out the scholarships we promised,” Turk said.

“But going forward, we’re going to have to reevaluate how much we’re able to support in scholarships and grants,” Turk said.

Half of the foundation’s income to support those scholarships comes from the trivia and golf events. The other half comes from endowment interest and dividends, Turk said.

To register for the golf outing and more for information about the event and the JTHS Foundation, visit jthsfoundation.org.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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