Golf Tournament raises more than $100,000 for AYF scholarships

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The 20th Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament took place in St. Louis on May 9, raising $108,000 for scholarship funds to support youth attending American Youth Foundation programs.

The golf tournament has taken place nearly every year since 2021 in memory of lifelong AYF supporter and avid golfer, Donald Danforth Jr. This year, nearly 100 golfers, volunteers, and AYF staff came out to enjoy a sunny spring day of sport and fundraising at Algonquin Golf Club.

Presented by Nestlé Purina PetCare, the golf tournament is the AYF’s signature fundraiser, raising more $2 million for youth to experience exceptional programming at Miniwanca and Merrowvista over the history of the tournament. The funds generated through the tournament provide financial assistance to inspire youth each year to discover their best selves.

After a day on the links, golfers and volunteers enjoyed a cocktail reception, where they pledged contributions to fund specific AYF needs and entered to win raffle items like St. Louis Cardinals and Blues game packages, a cash bouquet and pearl bracelet, and more.

“The generosity of our supporters never fails to amaze me,” said Advancement Manager Annie Oliverio. “Thanks to their contributions, dozens of children and teens will experience summer camp, community and school programs, and the National Leadership Conference at Miniwanca and Merrowvista.”

President Anna Kay Vorsteg said one highlight of the day was hearing from brothers Liam and Gabriel Grundy, who shared their personal experience with AYF programs.

Liam Grundy completed Wayfinder in 2021 and will return to Miniwanca for Voyageur and his first year of NLC.

“My experiences at Miniwanca have shaped me to be a more patient and tolerant individual, as I learned to get along with cabinmates, meet new people, and make new friends,” he said. “Multiple years at camp have caused me to take the Four Folds much more seriously in my life and who I am, especially at home.”

After five years in-camp as a Seeker and Challenger, Gabriel Grundy will embark on his first Four Trails trip this summer as an Explorer. He said he appreciates how the AYF continues to evolve as an organization.

“If you know me well, then you know that I’m a strong believe in openness, inclusion, and diversity,” he said. “The ways that AYF has been working on changes in the words we use, the cultures we honor, and the people who get to come to camp really matter to me. I’ve seen the way that camp has been working to be its best self in the past few years, and I think it will continue getting better tomorrow.”

The Grundy brothers’ words moved attendees and Vorsteg. “We can share the importance of the mission and the value of our programs, but hearing directly from youth about a powerful AYF experience resonates so much more than any staff presentation ever could,” she said. “Inspiring youth to go out and share their strengths with the world is at the heart of what we do, and Liam and Gabriel exemplified that perfectly.”

The Donald Danforth Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament will return in 2023. Check out some of our favorite moments from this year’s tournament below: