While the results on the field this year have led our beloved STLFC to the playoffs for the first time, that may not be the most important thing to take away from the 2018 season. For those who’ve followed us the last several seasons you know we’ve taken our platform and used it to raise money for various local charities. Starting with the arrival of Saint Louis FC in 2015 our fundraising really took off and each year we’ve managed to raise a crazy amount of money for good causes. We’ve done this by simply putting out a jar at our tailgate parties and relying on the kindness of our members. We call it Charity Du Jour. We ask for donations for food & drink. We do raffles. We sell small items like stickers, buttons and magnets. Occasionally we’ll have special scarf or shirt sales we’ll donate to charity. But mostly it’s just people stopping by the table and dropping a couple bucks in our bucket.
Last year thanks to an incredibly generous donation of $10,000 from Jim Kavanaugh (CEO of World Wide Technology & Saint Louis FC) and Tom Strunk (CFO of World Wide Technology & Saint Louis FC) We were able to donate $20,000 to various charities chosen by the members of the St. Louligans. This year our goal was just to do better. We again started off the season with a promise that Jim & Tom would match our contributions up to $10,000. Seriously, we have the best front office in all of soccer in any league. But if I’m honest, from the start of the season I wanted to get to $25,000. That was my goal. I thought if we worked it really hard we could get to that new milestone.
So we did the work. We tried to pick charities that spoke to people. We tried to plan them for days that we could maximize donations. Having a team playing well on the field definitely helped because it kept the tailgate party attendance high throughout the season. The tailgate food crew stepped up and made their operation more efficient so they could give more back. Our friends at Kirkwood Station made a huge difference this year with their contributions. The team stepped up and helped promote our quest and did their part to keep it going. Different team sponsors donated food or drink to help us raise more than we normally would. Really, everyone came together to make it a very special season. And giving is infectious. The more we raised the more people gave, all in an attempt to set a new record.
Going into the last game of the season we were $800 away from $25,000. I knew we’d had big days before and really hoped it would all come together so we could officially announce we’d hit our unofficial goal. The Saint Louis FC staff pledged they would match our contributions up to $1000 for the last game. Everyone wanted us to hit $25,000. So I was fairly confident going into the tailgate party that we’d hit our goal. We had a couple big raffle items and there was going to be a packed park for the all-important match that could send our boys to USL playoffs for the first time ever in their short history.
I sat back and enjoyed the day. We ended up raising $1,876 for our final charity of the season- Painting the Town Gold. (A charity that the Fink family works very hard for and was an obvious choice to finish our season off.) With the match from the team staff we ended up with $2,876. We easily passed our goal of $25,000.
But wait, there’s more… during the final tailgate party Tom Strunk told me that he was really proud of what we’d accomplished. He told me that he & Jim had decided a few weeks back that they were planning on topping off our donations to make sure we hit $25k but he was amazed that we had crossed the line on our own. This team really does appreciate all we’ve done in the stands and off. We’re very fortunate to have them but at the risk of sounding immodest, they’re lucky to have us too. Tom & Jim have decided to give a little extra anyway. They’ve added another $3,022 to their already amazingly generous $10,000 gift. Ladies and Gentlemen- because of our efforts and the help of our friends- We’re giving $30,000 to charity this year. I repeat- $30,000. We couldn’t have done it without every one of you that donated or worked at a tailgate party. From the bottom of our heart. Thank you so much. I don’t know how we’re gonna top this season, but we’ll just keep doing what we do.
This year’s charities we helped include:
Colon Cancer Alliance
Make A Wish
STL Meals on Wheels
American Diabetes Association
The Trevor Project
Playing For Pride
MO Humane Society
STL Area Food Bank
Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network
SPENSAPaint The Town Gold/Pediatric Cancer
Previous totals raised by season (Starting in 2015 when we kept track.)