2024 Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament raises more than $100,000                

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More than 100 people took to the greens of Algonquin Golf Club in St. Louis this month at the 22nd Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament. Their generosity raised $120,522 in scholarship funds for American Youth Foundation camp and leadership programs.

The Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament is the AYF’s largest fundraiser. It began 23 years ago in memory of Donald Danforth Jr., who served as AYF Board Chair from 1974 to 2001.

With 107 golfers this year, Vice President of Advancement Sandra George said this is the largest tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were so excited to see so many familiar faces, as well as so many new supporters joining us for the first time,” she said.

Around a dozen volunteers supported AYF staff during the tournament, helping with tasks like set up, registration, selling raffle tickets, and overseeing competitions like straightest drive and closest to the pin.

“This tournament can’t happen without the hard work and enthusiasm of our volunteer community,” George said. “Everyone who volunteered at the tournament had done so previously. Their dedication to this event year after year ensures its continued success.”

Nestlé Purina Petcare returned as this year’s presenting sponsor. “We’re so grateful to Nestlé Purina for their continued support as a key community partner,” George said. “Both our organizations share a common founder, William H. Danforth, and this connection has lasted nearly a century. We’re proud to see it continue into the next 100 years.”

After a gorgeous if muddy day on the links, the golfers returned to the clubhouse for an evening of drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and more fundraising through fund-a-needs, auction items, and raffles.

President Liz Marshall and Board Chair DD Danforth Burlin both welcomed and thanked the golfers for their continued support, but it was 11-year-old Jayin Patel who stole the show during the post-game program. He shared his experience as a first-time Miniwanca camper last summer, noting that he found a place where he felt kids could be their true selves and be appreciated for it.

“Jayin perfectly epitomized why we all support this organization and its mission,” said George. “After just two weeks at Miniwanca, he knew he wanted to come back in 2024 and has already been profoundly affected by the work we do. This tournament ensures even more kids get the chance to experience the magic of Miniwanca and Merrowvista and the transformative power of our programs.”

If you are interested in sponsoring, participating in, or volunteering for the 2025 Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament, please email [email protected] for more information.