athornebrooke@ricentral.com

EAST GREENWICH--The chamber of commerce will be hosting its 30th annual golf tournament for charity on June 12. Proceeds will benefit the Tomorrow Fund, an independent non-profit and charity dedicated to addressing the traumatic financial and emotional stress of childhood cancer.

Owner of Pinnacle Financial Group and long-time president of the East Greenwich Condominium Association, Craig Butzbach, spoke to the importance of giving back and of the role of the community in addressing children’s needs, and the importance of organizations such as the Tomorrow Fund, which has given aid to over 2,000 children and their families when confronted with cancer.

“I like the Tomorrow Fund’s mission and organizations that are focused on helping children,” Butzbach said. “In the past, we have largely focused on children’s charities like the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation and the Make a Wish Foundation, this is in that same vein. I’ve always enjoyed that. I used to go out to the airport and see the kids off for Make a Wish.”

The tournament, which usually features around 125 golfers and offers raffle prizes and accepts donations, has proven to be an essential part of East Greenwich’s charitable community and has helped to draw the best out of the town’s residents.

“We pull donors from Warwick, North Kingstown and Block Island,” Butzbach said, “but I am always surprised and amazed at how generous this community is. We’ve raised around $200,000 over the years.”

Butzbach has himself become something of a face for charitable giving in the community, having served as the chair of the chamber’s golf tournament for the last 30 years, a third of the time that the chamber has been in existence.

Executive director of the chamber of commerce, Stephen Lombardi, sang praises for Butzbach’s decades-old dedication to improving the town’s capacity to give back to its residents.

“For one third of the chamber’s 90 years of existence, we have had  Craig Butzbach as the chair,” Lombardi said. “It’s a phenomenal record. And the tournament continues to be extremely successful.”

Indeed, with Butzbach’s leadership, the tournament has transformed into an event to be remembered each year.

“It did use to be a lot smaller,” Butzbach said happily. “But the chamber has been great and the staff are an absolute asset. We always receive more sponsorship.”

The tournament, which will be held at the Richmond Country Club, welcomes all those who are interested in giving back, regardless of whether or not they know how to tee off.

“We really encourage non-players to come and join the luncheon and the raffle. There’s a Texas barbecue and it is a great networking opportunity. We try to go out and get these gifts for charity every year, and East Greenwich has proven to be great for that.”

“The Richmond Country Club has been really good to us over the years. They let us do what we want and know it’s for a good cause. We have always held the event in East Greenwich, and the key people involved have been great.”

Despite the immense turnout for the annual event, and the recognition that comes with organizing an event so enriching for the community, Butzbach remains ever grateful for the myriad people who help to make it possible each year, and handles himself with a certain humility when reflecting upon his now three-decades long tenure in overseeing the event.

“I just want to thank everyone involved,” Butzbach said when asked what he hoped the community knew about the event. “There has been tremendous support, and we could not do it without the people involved or the generosity of this community.”

Golf and dinner at the tournament costs $125, and dinner-only participation is $30.

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