It was a thank you-filled Thursday morning after the six recipients of the proceeds from Hyatt Regency Saipan’s annual fundraising golf tournament got their checks in a presentation at the Giovanni’s Restaurant.
Make-A-Wish Foundation Guam & CNMI received $15,000 from proceeds from the 22nd Annual Charity Golf Classic, while the five others—Center for Living Independently in the CNMI, Dandan Middle School STEM and Garden Club, Saipan Paddling Club, Salvation Army, and 670 Sonics—were given $10,000 each.
Make-A-Wish board member Kanae Quinn, who was joined by fellow board member and Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan general manager Wendi Herring, said the annual golf tournament has been an important part of Hyatt’s community program.
“[Make-A-Wish and Hyatt] have been partners for a long time and we’ve been a major recipient of donations from them. The money would help grant the life-changing wishes of kids with illnesses. We’re looking forward to more years of partnership,” said Quinn.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation Guam and the CNMI had already helped more than 200 children in the Marianas, while dozens more are expected to have their wishes granted within the year.
Center for Living Independently executive director Susan Satur said the money would help their programs of teaching persons with disabilities to learn how to live independently.
“People with disabilities are some of the most under-represented. We have programs that help the disabled learn how to cook and tend a vegetable garden. The money would help us in assisting disabled people become independent,” said Satur.
DMS representatives thanked Hyatt for the opportunity of being chosen as one of the recipients this year. They would use the money to buy materials and train students to achieve their goals of developing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning, promoting health and wellbeing, and having a healthy relationship with food production.
SPC president Justin Andrew, who is also the head of the Northern Marianas National Paddling Sports Federation, said they would use the money to bring in international paddling coaches for their development program.
“Outrigger canoe is part of our island culture where we are a family connected to the ocean. We want to bring the sport to the grassroots level and, at the same time, promote taking care of our environment,” said Andrew.
Pastor Wayne Gillespie received the donation in behalf of the Salvation Army. He said the money would serve a lot of people that they assist with their food bank and soup kitchen.
“We assist by delivering food everyday to homeless people. We give out meals to villages and areas with the greatest need. We give out nearly 200 meals a week in the Koblerville area and around 2,500 to 3,500 a month, depending on the need,” said Gillespie.
Jesse Tudela, one of the founders of the 670 Sonics and a current board member, said Hyatt’s donation would be a big help in their goal of developing basketball at the local level.
“We are hoping to bring basketball [in the villages] back to life and to give more opportunities to our youth. In the past, we always held fundraisings or rely on donations from our officers. We are truly grateful for this donation,” said Tudela, who also coaches one of their teams.
Next year’s tournament, the 23rd edition, is set on April 27, with Hyatt officials begin planning and organizing the event as early as November.