Renee Brouse, the new director of the Good Neighbor Center in Tigard, had a pretty good first month on the job.
On July 13, exactly one month and one day after taking over running the homeless shelter from former director Jack Schwab, who retired, she was handed a check for $6,500.
That donation represented a lot of hard work by members of the Summerfield Women's Golf Club, who annually raise thousands of dollars for local organizations and this year chose the Good Neighbor Center that helps under-served people through its Charity Golf Tournament and Fundraiser.
Golf club member Sandy Brewer seems to have a permanent job as chair of the fundraiser, shepherding the process through a couple of different re-incarnations over the past several years.
Money was raised several ways: raffling gift baskets filled with donated gift cards; selling raffle tickets for guesses on how many golf balls and tees were in a tall vase as well as the chance to win a variety of prizes (bottles of wine, restaurant gift certificates, golf course certificates and golf swag) at the dinner following the tournament; and selling tee box sponsorships and "miracle putts" for the charity golf tournament.
Brewer, who acted as mistress of ceremonies at the dinner, was ably assisted by her husband John, who carried a bowl of raffle tickets around the Clubhouse ballroom for attendees to draw out the winning numbers for Brewer to announce.
Brewer first thanked golf club President Becki McWaters, plus Fran Rieder and Irene Jordan, co-chairs of the dinner committee.
McWaters thanked "our fearless leader, Sandy Brewer, who year after year after year works tirelessly on this fundraiser. Thank you so, so much, Sandy."Brewer also thanked Bob and Jan Meek, Gene and Carol Knutson, Bob and Janis Primrose, and Richard and Hal and & Joy Thiemann for working on the miracle putts and check-ins, and those who worked on the 9th Hole Challenge: Marilyn Launder, Joyce Knutson, Diana Smith, Carol Hargis, Linda Gray, Mary Kerns, Sharon Strain and Pat Cherrick.
"The ladies who did the golf tee times and such were Carole Krueger and Karen Torrance, and my right-hand lady who takes care of the money is Pet Cherick," Brewer said.
After introducing Brouse, Brewer announced the winner of the contest to guess the number of balls and tees in the vase. "I used plastic balls instead of real golf balls because it would have been too heavy to carry around," she said. "It was a lot of fun, and there were some interesting guesses, ranging from 54 to 470."
According to Brewer, the total number in the vase was 273, and Jackie Mitchell had the closest guess – 283. For her lucky (or calculated) guess, Mitchell won a $50 gift certificate to Al's Garden Center and a $50 gift certificate to McCormick and Schmidt's.
Next it was Brouse's turn at the podium to talk about the Good Neighbor Center, which since 2000 has provided transitional housing for families coming off the streets along with support services. Families can stay at the center for up to six weeks, where they are provided with three daily meals and snacks (all provided by outside individuals and groups), case management services, access to a children's program, life skills classes, opportunities to participate in the Rent Well program and more.
The staff also works to get the families into stable housing situations when they leave, with the program's success rate of keeping families from returning to the streets at more than 90 percent.
Brouse, who has more than 20 years' experience working in non-profits, most recently ran the Sherwood Family YMCA for more than 10 years as well as serving on the Sherwood City Council.
She told other guests at her table before the dinner started, "I'm excited to be involved in social justice and social responsibility. We need to find solutions to homelessness."
Speaking to the crowd, Brouse said, "Groups like you help our staff to do what it does – helping homeless families. We can serve up to nine families at a time. We have 45 beds, and our mission is to support families who have fallen through the cracks. We have kids staying with us ranging from 1 year old to 12 years old.
"Every day when I'm out, someone runs up to me and tells me that they ended up where they were because of bad choices. They have to figure out how they got there and how to do it.
"We serve 70 to 100 families a year, and every night a group comes in to provide food. We provide a summer school program and after-school programs for kids and parents."
Thanks to the generous donation of the Summerfield Women's Golf Club, even more families will be helped this year.