By Ken Borsuk - Sunday, September 11, 2016
GREENWICH — The annual Golf for Abilis tournament fund-raiser will be held rain or shine at The Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. on Sept. 26, an all-day event that starts at 9:30 a.m. with breakfast, a tournament start at noon and cocktails and dinner to finish off the event.
Abilis, which serves close to 700 people with special needs and their families, uses the event to help pay for its programs, which include social services, running homes allowing people with special needs to live independently and job placement services.
The event is being hosted by Fred Trump, a Greenwich resident and nephew of the Republican presidential nominee.
Fred Trump said helping Abilis is very personal to him. His son, 17-year-old William, has cerebral palsy and has been getting clinical assistance from Abilis since he was a toddler.
The money raised by benefits like the golf tournament are especially needed now, he said, with the agency facing a loss of state support through budget cuts.
“We try to focus on the need once all the fun is done,” Trump said. “There’s serious work being done by Abilis and they need our help. We all know what’s going on with state budgets today and how much of a challenge it is to raise money. Once people find out more about Abilis, they’re going to want to become supporters.”
Abilis’ CEO and President Dennis Perry said the event is a vital one for the agency, just like its annual walk at Greenwich Point in October and its annual gala in the spring.
“Anything we can do to life the profile of this organization and allow the community to understand who we are and who we serve is important to us,” Perry said.
The tournament will also include a silent auction of luxury items including a one-week stay at a six-bedroom villa on the Italian island of Ischia, golf travel packages including the famous Trump course in Scotland and the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida that has received much attention during the election.
This is the fifth year Abilis has held its golf tournaments in connection with the Trump course.
“People are drawn to it and Fred has done so much to help raise our profile through his involvement,” Perry said. “Not only have we had access to this great course but we’ve also had players come in who really can play golf well and it’s made for a better tournament. The more people take part and the more they hear about what we’re doing, the more they’re going to learn about what Abilis is all about. Fred really stepped in to make it a bigger, higher profile event.”
But Fred Trump said it’s not his name that has made this tournament a success.
“In the end, it’s the fact that Abilis does such great work that makes people want to get involved and be a part of this,” he said. “We’ve had some terrible weather in the past for this, especially last year, but we sell it out anyway every year. It has nothing to do with me or with the club. It’s all about Abilis and its impact on the Greenwich community.”
Fred Trump said he is happy to share his own story about what Abilis did for his family. As part of the event, videos will be shown of parents talking about Abilis and why it needs community support.
Fred Trump said people at the tournament might not always know what Abilis is all about at first, but the stories make them want to get involved.
“I think of Fred first as a dad,” Perry, whose son also has been helped by Abilis, said. “He’s a man who loves his son and who was able to see his son benefit in his early years thanks to the hard work of Abils. He is someone who wants to give back and help as a result of that.”
Trump said he is looking to get younger people involved, starting with his own children, Andrea, 23, and Christian, 21, who will be bringing their friends to the tournament.
The tournament is also the beginning of a year-long celebration of Abilis’ 65 years helping people.
“I’m here because I want Abilis to be around for another 65 years,” Perry said. “The continued sustainability of Abilis is so important to us because of all the people that are served by our programs. If any organization can demonstrate the quality of care and high level of services for 65 years that Abilis has, then it’s going to be a benefit for the community. We’re going to keep on carrying that forward.”
More information about the event and the items in the silent auction is available online at www.501auctions.com/golf4abilis.
Orginal article can be found here.