Local charities received $75,000 last week from the NobleBank Foundation’s annual Martha Vandervoort Memorial Golf Classic.
The charity tournament is named for Anniston resident Martha Vandervoort, known for her work as executive director of Interfaith Ministries, among other accomplishments. Every year it raises thousands of dollars and distributes the money to faith-based outreaches and service providers in Calhoun County.
According to Hannah Downing, marketing officer at NobleBank, the event had raised $75,000 in 2019, but with the pandemic swallowing most of 2020, the October tournament’s outcome was uncertain.
“This year we didn’t know what to expect with the pandemic happening,” Downing said by phone Wednesday, “but we were blown away by the outpouring of support.”
Organizations benefiting from the tournament include Interfaith Ministries, HEARTS of Cleburne, Cheaha Valley FCA, Sav-A-Life, The Right Place and Calhoun Cleburne Habitat for Humanity.
Several outreach groups have had to cancel their usual fundraisers this year, leaving them with a high demand for services and fewer resources to meet those needs.
“It’s a true ‘fish and loaves’ story,” Downing said, referencing the parable of Jesus feeding multitudes with just a few fish and loaves of bread. “I don’t know how they’ve done it, but they have.”
Amanda Pinson, director of Calhoun Cleburne Habitat for Humanity — which recently made the inclusion of Cleburne County in its name official — said the money will help Habitat regain the momentum it had coming into 2020. The organization had intended to begin its expansion into Cleburne County this year, but the pandemic slowed that plan.
Money from the 2019 golf tournament made possible a home renovation for James Holifield, an Anniston resident and Army veteran. “They fully sponsored that renovation,” Pinson said Wednesday.
While a full home build in Cleburne County is a ways off, she said, money received from the NobleBank Foundation will allow for “A Brush With Kindness” projects there, which will see volunteers renovate the outside of homes with paint, landscaping and other maintenance work.
Downing said she’s hoping the pandemic will have been quelled by Oct. 20, 2021, the date of the next Golf Classic, to make preparing for and pulling off the event a little less intense.
Bankers pulled a lot of late nights while poring over the myriad rules of the Payroll Protection Plan and the crises brought on by the pandemic, Downing said, but NobleBank’s board and Anthony Humphries, the bank’s CEO, were set on making time for and delivering the event.
Downing said organizing the tournament is a good gig, though, even when it’s tough.
“It’s been the best part of my job, for sure,” she said.