Walmart associates, Walmart suppliers, and businesses from all over Northwest Arkansas partnered together to raise almost $160,000 for The Jones Center at The Golf Event, held at the Springdale Country Club on Monday (Sept. 28).
The 9th annual event included breakfast and lunch, morning and afternoon flights of golf, and prizes for the 42 teams made up of 184 golfers. Kelly Kemp-McLintock, chief advancement officer for The Jones Center, said the money raised during the sold-out event would benefit youth programming at The Jones Center, such as sports camps, a summer day camp, ice hockey, ballet, creative dance and taekwondo.
The Jones Center is a recreation, education and event center for families located in downtown Springdale.
McLintock said the Center’s $3.7 million dollar annual budget is all privately funded, with no state or government funding. Fundraising events like The Golf Event are important because people from all over Washington and Benton counties use The Center, she said.
“We’ve had an actual census done with the University of Arkansas and they estimate nearly one millions individual visits are made each year,” McLintock said. “There are so many different ways that you can access The Jones Center — whether you’re having a birthday party, maybe you’re taking a community college class…maybe you’re part of the swim team…”
Large donations and fundraisers, such as The Golf Event and The Big Night Gala (on Nov. 14), account for $1.5 million of The Center’s revenue needs. Membership dues, daily use fees, and lease agreements with partners such as Springdale Public Schools, NWACC, and a Montessori school; in addition to $1 million from The Jones Trust, provide the remainder of the annual budget.
“This creates a very healthy, sustainable revenue stream for The Jones Center,” McLintock said.
Michael Moore, executive vice president Walmart, Supercenter, U.S., spoke after lunch to the golfers, sharing a story about his grandfather who drove a truck for Harvey Jones. He also complimented The Jones Center and the amenities that it offers.
“The Governor called it the ‘crown jewel of Northwest Arkansas’ and it’s just a great center for the community that Harvey and Bernice Jones left behind,” Moore said.
He also commended those attending The Golf Event for coming out to support the cause of The Jones Center.
“You think about the good that this does for a lot of people that really need it, and that good wouldn’t be possible without people like you and the companies you represent taking the time out of your day to be here and support it,” Moore said. “It’s really a testament to what kind of companies you all work for.”
The event featured a Mercedes hole-in-one contest, with the winner receiving a 2015 C-Class Mercedes automobile. Other contests included “Take a Swing with a Lady Razorback” hole-in-one, an Indian motorcycle hole-in-one, and a Yoplait putter contest.
During the afternoon flight, the Arkansas Razorback basketball team made an appearance, and a signed Razorback basketball and game tickets were raffled off. Attendees also had a chance to win such prizes as a 4-hour scenic excursion for 30 people on the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, a corporate dinner party and wine at Sassafras Winery, a suite at the Naturals Ballpark with a $250 food voucher, and eight $50 gift cards to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, among others.
Adam Dill, Wal-Mart team leader for General Mills, and Scott Huff, executive vice president of Wal-Mart merchandising operations, were co-chairs for the fundraiser. Huff is in his fourth year as co-chair. General Mills was the title sponsor of the event. Tyson Foods and Catering Unlimited were the lunch sponsors. Other corporate sponsors included Spectrum Brands, Unilever, Kijaro, George’s, Kimberly-Clark and Coca Cola.