CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY | The crowd surprised everyone. And why wouldn’t it be? Good causes rarely age well as there are so many of them. Generous people always gather around friends, giving, sharing and showing their support when needed. But the next tragedy is coming. Time and resources are scarce. No one forgets the root cause, but there’s not much you can do.
Thank goodness people like Marina Alex are there to remind us why we give.
On Monday night, the latest LPGA Tour winner was the unofficial host of the second annual Saving Grace at 1776 charity event by David Burke and TopGolf Swing Suite in Morristown, NJ, a short jaunt south of Upper Montclair Country Club where the best of the LPGA Tour will play Thursday in the Cognizant Founders Cup. The charity feature was created last fall by Alex and Golf4Her founder and CEO Christina Thompson to raise money for Grace Godfrey, the daughter of LPGA Tour veteran Jane Park and longtime caddy Pete Godfrey. . Last summer, Grace contracted a virus and suffered a series of seizures that resulted in brain damage. Its challenges will require special (and often expensive) care for many years. With the help of friends and other players like Alex, the LPGA family will always stand by the Godfreys.
“We were blown away (last October) when we started this,” Alex said. “Christina is the founder and operator of Golf4Her, an online women’s clothing retailer, and she sponsors me and Jane. She now sponsors Mariajo Uribe. She has long sponsored Tiff Joh and Mo Martin. She helps equip us with all our clothes.
“Her heart was broken, like many of us, when all of this happened with Grace last July,” Alex said. “Right away (Christina) was, like, ‘I want to figure out what we can do. I want to help Jane and her family in any way I can. It was her idea to come up with this (event), and I just tried to help out in any way we could on the golf side that attracted some of our players there, working with some of the companies – Ping and Callaway to get donations and working with anybody in the golf industry to bring all we could.
The first year was a great success. Celebrity chef David Burke opened his new restaurant in Morristown a week earlier to host the event which attracted hundreds of generous donors and a good number of players. In addition to initial donations, attendees engaged in a silent auction and close-to-the-pin contests with players from the LPGA Tour.
But that was seven months ago. A lot has happened since then. Would people remember that? Would the outpouring of support be the same in a year of runaway inflation, food shortages and a plummeting stock market? What would the crowds be like on a Monday in May with everything going on in the world?
The answer surprised everyone. The establishment was again full to bursting. Players like Mel Reid, Alison Lee, Bronte Law, Annie Park, Megan Khang, Jaye Marie Green and Brittany Altomare joined Golf4Her Ambassadors and a few hundred generous guests who opened their hearts and wallets.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to see you all here,” Pete Godfrey told the crowd Monday night. “It means more than you’ll ever know. And even though I’m not very good at giving speeches, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
Jane and Grace also made a video appearance where Jane thanked the group and spoke about the many challenges of raising a precious child with special needs.
Later that evening, Alex took to the mic to thank the crowd for not forgetting Grace and her ongoing needs. “Jane was one of my first and best friends when I went on tour,” said Alex. “It’s up to us to keep this family front and center.”
A day later, reflecting on his return to New Jersey as the last winner on the LPGA Tour, Alex didn’t lose his focus. “Most of what we make (for Jane, Pete and Grace) in terms of what we give back is from the auction we had last night – auction and ticket sales,” he said. she declared. “Any way we can make it all come together to give them something is our ultimate goal.”
Generosity is an instinct for many. Marina Alex wants to make sure it’s not a quickly forgotten impulse. Achieving that goal could be his biggest win of the year so far.