The Donors: Ladies' Golf Club of Toronto
The Gift: $174,000 and climbing
The Causes: Various health-related charities
When Toronto's Ada McKenzie starting playing golf in the early 1900s she had a hard time finding anywhere to practise. That's because few golf courses were open to women at the time and the ones that were had limited playing time available. Nonetheless Ms. McKenzie managed to become a championship golfer, winning numerous titles around the world and being named Canada's Female Athlete of the Year in 1933.
In 1924, Ms. McKenzie founded the Ladies' Golf Club in Toronto, which remains the only golf club in North America reserved for women. For decades the club has been more than just a place for women to play golf. Members banded together to mow the fairways, tend the gardens and expand the course. "It was an amazing survival story through times when it was tough going," said Lynn Reynolds, who has been a member since 1979 and is now club president.
By 1997 the club was well-established and members turned their attention to other causes. They started raising money for charities devoted to causes that affected women, holding a biannual fundraising golf tournament. Members select a different charity to support for each tournament and the club has raised a total of $174,000 so far for groups ranging from Osteoporosis North York Seniors to the Wellspring Cancer Support. The latest event, held last summer, raised $30,000 for the Massey Centre for Women.
The club also donates green fees to charity auctions, about $22,000 worth in 2011 alone.
"We're sort of all about volunteering, staying involved and kind of looking after ourselves, like women in general," said Ms. Reynolds. She added that the club's years of banding together to keep going has "carried over to the charity side and to this day so much of our work is volunteer."