We often celebrate history; it’s rare that we also make history at the same time. But that’s exactly what happened last weekend when Aaron Stewart, son of the late golfer Payne Stewart, joined 150 good leaders at Hazeltine National Golf Course for a once-in-a-lifetime charitable dinner. Aaron helped us eclipse a $1 million dollar fundraising milestone of money raised for the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, and kick off the 25th anniversary of the Knicker Open charity golf event!
The Legacy of a Legend
You might remember Payne Stewart as the flashy winner of eleven PGA Tour events who made his mark on golf history wearing knickers. After Payne won the 1991 U.S. Open at Hazeltine National Golf Club, custom clothier King Bavender created the Knicker Open in his honor – a charity golf tournament where everyone is required to wear knickers! With the City of Lakes Rotary Club as the owner of the tournament, we raised $915,000 over the first 24 years of the event.
To help us stimulate new energy for the 25th anniversary, Aaron Stewart accepted our invitation to fly in from California and reflect on his father’s legacy at a once-in-a-lifetime historic dinner before the Knicker Open. “My dad instilled his passion for people in my sister and me. He treated everyone like they were the most important person in the room,” Aaron shared in his dinner speech. He also shared vivid memories of family barbecues with golf greats, but kept his focus on the true purpose of the tournament: to live generously for those less fortunate than ourselves.
His presence alone helped us raise more than $180,000 in total giving, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Payne Stewart Family Foundation – helping us break the million dollar mark over 25 years of the Knicker Open!
Good Leaders United
The best part of working in leadership development for 30 years is connecting with good leaders early in their careers and feeling those connections strengthen over the decades; this million dollar weekend represented that perfectly.
The historic dinner was hosted by Mark Jordahl, president of wealth management at U.S. Bank; presented by Scott Anderson, CEO of Patterson Companies; and supported by Mark Thompson, Chairman of Riverbridge Partners. Each of those leaders are people I met years (or decades) ago, and watched as they committed themselves to goodness in their personal and professional lives.
The glow of generosity in the room last Sunday night reminded me of why I have dedicated myself to the work of spreading goodness through good leaders. Whether you are donating your time, talents or money, your impact will ripple far outside of your community.
Good leaders grow together with other good leaders and live generously. And they go to extraordinary lengths to give back to their communities, because goodness pays.
Please tell me: how would you celebrate a million dollar weekend?