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Kennedy Golf Invitational raises over $150,000 for the developmentally disabled

Aug 22, 2023

Receives support from dozens of area businesses

More than 100 area residents joined St. Coletta’s of Illinois on the golf course Aug. 21, raising over $150,000 for the developmentally disabled.

“Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we’re able to change people’s lives,” said St. Coletta’s CEO Heather Benedick. “We’re able to make their lives better.”

Based in Tinley Park, St. Coletta’s of Illinois provides educational, residential and vocational training services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It’s annual Kennedy Golf Invitational is one of the nonprofit’s largest fundraising events and is held each year at Crystal Tree Golf & Country Club in Orland Park.

“Your generosity provides critical services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Kennedy Invitational Committee Chair Bill Rybak told participants as they gathered for lunch before the shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Each participant paid $600 to play a round of golf at the private club and to learn a little more about St. Coletta’s.

Benedick served as the keynote speaker, telling golfers about the nonprofit’s needs and how they have changed since the pandemic.

“Everything is expensive for the people and families we serve,” said Benedick. “Sometimes meeting basic needs for their loved ones is difficult.”

As a result, St. Coletta’s is often providing for basic needs such as food and personal hygiene items.  

“It’s heart-wrenching when you see a person you serve with a basic need that is not being met,” said Benedick. “It motivates you to find a way to get those needs met.”

Just this year, Benedick started dipping into the nonprofit’s donation fund to purchase breakfast bars and oatmeal to serve hungry individuals in the morning and cans of ravioli or spaghetti to serve in the afternoon.

“This is not something the Department of Human Services funds,” Benedick told everyone at the Kennedy Golf Invitational. “These types of needs are not factored into the cost of providing services.”

For more than 70 years, St. Coletta’s of Illinois has been serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It operates a therapeutic day school for children ages 3-22, an Intermediate Care Facility for high-need individuals and a Community Day Services program for adults. The goal is to help individuals build adaptive learning skills, economic self-sufficiency, independence and integration into the community.

Among those supporting the organization’s mission by participating in this year’s Kennedy Golf Invitational were two dozen area businesses, including Kowalis Auto Group, CIBC Bank, Town Center Bank and Invesco.

Other sponsors included: Alera Group, Old Plank Trail Community Bank, Vedder Price, NuMark, PKF Mueller, Bettinardi, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Burke Orthodontics, the Conway Family, Olsson Roofing, the Longman Family, First Nonprofit, CNB Bank & Trust, Aleck Plumbing, Baird & Warner, Mars Medical, Currie Motors, State Street, Mrs. B Parking Lot Maintenance and Apple Chevrolet.

“Because of the generosity of donors like you, we’re able to change somebody’s life,” Benedick told the group. “Somebody’s life will be better tomorrow because of you.”

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