The mission of the Parker Foundation for Health & Happiness is to create a renewable resource that offers young people the opportunity to enjoy health and happiness through the magic of a camp experience that will never leave them.
Our organization raises money to help children with life-threatening illnesses. While each camp allows kids to attend free of charge, the means to do so is ongoing. Our tireless efforts will provide more deserving children with the opportunity to experience camp.
The year was 2006, Matt was on his way to another year of donating a week's vacation as a counselor at the Double H Ranch in upstate New York. Little did he or Tim Weaver, who was on his way to another year as a camper, know that they would be in the same cabin and share the same passion of Golden Tee video golf.
During that week at camp and numerous hand injuries on the old 1999 arcade version of Golden Tee, Matt and Tim formed an amazing friendship that continues to this day. While sitting around the cabin's common area, Tim and Matt realized that they lived only 6 miles apart in the Chicagoland suburbs. Camp is about friendship and helping others and Tim, being the epitome of camp, said to Matt, "we ought to have a fundraiser back at home." Matt had been raising money by shaving his head for years and had just started a charitable gift fund, the Parker Foundation for Health and Happiness. The rest, as they say, is history.
The first event was held the next spring at Gunther's Bar and Grill as a Golden Tee Golf tournament with the winner receiving $500. From there, word spread and the makers of Golden Tee, Incredible Technologies, jumped in to sponsor. They even helped Matt and Vanessa procure a new Golden Tee arcade game for camp! Over the years, the events have grown from a video golf tournament to an entire day's event including beer/wine and food pairings, grand prize drawings including a week's condo and airfare, silent auctions and live entertainment.
To date, we have been able to raise nearly $125,000 cash, and in kind, for Double H Ranch, Serious Fun Children's Network and their member camps. Not too shabby for a 14 year old kid saying, "we ought to have a fundraiser."