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May 18, 2009 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-05-18

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Monday, May 18, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Teeing off for Mott's Children's Hospital

Third annual charity
event raises $650,000
Managing Sports Editor
Under the leadership of former
Michigan football players Brian
Griese and Steve Hutchinson, the
Champions for Children's Hearts
Celebrity Golf Tournament enjoyed
a very successful third year.
The duo sought to continue the
philanthropic trend initiatedby for-
mer football coach Gary Moeller in
1990. Moeller would take his players
on weekly visits to Mott's Children's
Hospital to brighten the lives of
sick children through the From the
Heart Program.
Originally slated as a gala event
and a reunion for members of the
1997 National Championship foot-
ball team, the event has expanded
to become one of the football pro-
gram's largest fundraisers and
includes members of the 1997 team
as well as current NFL players and
past Michigan greats.
The annual event includes a kick-

off dinner gala at Crisler Arena
which served 500 guests, followed
by the golf tournament the next day.
In its first two years, the-golf out-
ing and gala event raised more than
After the event's first two impres-
sive years, Griese was thrilled to see
this year's event continue its suc-
cessful run with an expanded guest
list of former athletes and over
$120,000 raised at the gala alone. By
the end of the golf tournament, the
donations totaled $650,000.
"Part of beinga Michigan man is
doing community service and giv-
ing back," Griese said. "And Mott
Hospital is a great way to do it. ... It
means a lot to (Hutchinson and I)
because it was a part of our experi-
ence as student athletes."
In addition to support from
Michigan athletes and coaches, the
fundraiser has had continuing sup-
port from sponsors Lexus of Ann
Arbor and Delta Airlines, which
have both continued to aid Griese
and Hutchinson in the execution of
such a large fundraising venture.
Much of the fundraising at the
event will go toward the construe-

tion of the new Mott Hospital,
which is expected to cost an esti-
mated $523 million and is scheduled
to open in 2011. The rest of the fund-
raising will go toward the Michigan
Congenital Heart Center and the
Samara Mendu Fellowship Fund for
pediatric cardiology and pediatric
cardiac surgery.
Niether Griese nor former Heis-
man trophy winner Charles Wood-
son were surprised that contributors
made this year's event the most
successful of all, despite the recent
downturn in the economy.
"To raise so much money with
what's going on right now is amaz-
ing," Woodson said. "What that tells
you is that this cause is important.
When you can help someone out
who's hurting, especially a child, I
think most people would give their
last dime for something like that."
Woodson's contribution to this
year's event inspired Griese and
Hutchinson to invite him to become
the third leg of the fundraising
event next year- something Wood-
son said was "just duty calling."
"When Brian asked me, I had no
hesitation," Woodson said. "Wheth-

er it's doctors, aspiring doctors or
researchers, it's important that they
have whatever they need to facili-
tate to patients. Those patients need
all the care in the world, and what
the doctors need is funding.
"It's important for us to be
involved and get this money raised
so maybe sometime in the future we
find that cure."
During the tenure of former foot-
ball coach Lloyd Carr, the athletic
department began to increase its
role in fundraising ventures, and
current coach Rich Rodriguez, who
was a coach at West Virginia Uni-
versity at the time, took notice.
So when he came to the Univer-
sity, Rodriguez felt that continuing
the overwhelming support for fund-
raising, especially for Mott hospital,
was an important part of his student-
athletes' experience at Michigan.
"In our profession, I think it's
part of your job, but I don't think
that's the reason you do it," Rodri-
guez said. "You want to give back to
the community and the people who
mean so much to our area ... and I
don't know if there's a better cause
you can contribute to."

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