The first Friday in March each year is a special day on the Erinvale Golf Club calendar as this is the crucial fundraising day for ECHO – Erinvale Care and Help Organisation. Forty per cent of the funds needed to run the project are raised on this day. The 170 players, guests and sponsors enjoyed a very hot but highly successful fundraiser for ECHO. The Golf Day raised approximately R220,000.00 Nett.
Adrian Moon and Berus van Zyl were the winners of the day.
More than fifty per cent of ECHO`s sponsors have faithfully supported them over their 11 years of fundraising. But this year the golf day organizers found it difficult acquiring sponsorships for the holes and prizes.
The financial squeeze may be a reason for this.
The only assured corporate sponsor was ABSA Foundation, who after an absence of seven years, reinvested in ECHO in August 2008. Two weeks before the actual golf day – held on 6 March – the Louis Group, owners of the Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa, came alongside as sponsors. ECHO`S educational focus resonates with their corporate social investment initiatives.
This seemed to be a catalyst for further corporate sponsors and 16 of the golf holes were sold. Taylor Made presented golf equipment to the value of R15,000.00.
Even in the midst of fighting the fires, the Helderberg wine farms donated wine for the dinner, a fridge full of wine to raffle and the auction.
ECHO`s 2009 fundraising goal was to raise enough money to sponsor 13 new university students, with the added bonus of offering Erinvale staff personal development and empowerment courses.
To date five students have received individual sponsorships of R15,000.00 each.
Marco Wenn, the course marshal, has signed up at Boston College for a management course and Joel Yedwa has enrolled for a driving course.
The theme for the evening function was `Proudly South African`, which was echoed when Andrew Skudder from Murray & Roberts announced a R500,000.00 sponsorship over 5 years for ECHO`S Triple Gold Paralympics medalist, Hilton Langenhoven. This will enable Hilton to prepare for London 2012.
Louis Group donated the first prize – a weekend stay for two couples in the penthouse, including a butler, at The Place on the Bay.
The group also sponsored a one-week stay at the Schloss Hubertushöhe, a 5-star boutique hotel near Berlin, which was placed on auction and raised R37,500.00 for ECHO.
“We provide food for young students, financial support for their continuing education and individual mentoring that nurtures their emotional health and teaches important life skills,” says Des McLeod, who has chaired the organisation since it started in 1997.
“Our goal for this year`s golf day was to raise R180 000. Sixty per cent of the proceeds from the golf day will go to education, 20 per cent to feeding and 20 per cent to the community, such as fire relief.”
To date in the region of R3 million has been invested in the community for disaster relief, educational and self-help projects.
ECHO is all about helping young people fulfil their dreams.
One such individual who has truly lived his dreams is visually impaired Hilton Langenhoven, who walked off with three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Hilton, who attended the golf day on Friday, gave up his day job to train full-time towards achieving his athletic dreams.
ECHO supported him financially and emotionally.
Since 2001 ECHO has financially assisted over 3000 students in the Helderberg.
This educational focus resonates with corporate social investment initiatives such as Louis Group`s Business Academy.
The group, one of the corporate sponsors of the golf day and owners of Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa, has since 2003 offered a wholly sponsored internationally accredited business programme to equip individuals to start and manage their own business or to work more effectively.
“We are thrilled to have corporates support our cause in the Helderberg so we can continue to touch the lives of the needy,” says Des. If you want to be involved in ECHO, phone Des McLeod on 021 847 1782.