The event, named in honor of late former NHCAC CEO Michael Leggiero, was held at White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth, NJ.
The outing is one of NHCAC's two major fundraisers to help expand services and programs to the community.
NHCAC is a non-profit agency that provides health services and screenings for low-income residents, and receives funding from state, county and municipal governments. The agency also has partnerships with health organizations across the state.
NHCAC has sites located in Garfield, Hoboken, Jersey City, North Bergen, Passaic, Union City and West New York.
"This is our fifth golf classic, and our most successful fundraiser," said Rosemary Lavagnino, director of the North Hudson Community Action Program (CAP). "We have raised close to $90,000."
"It was a successful outing and we are proud of the fact that we are able to do this," said Chris Irizarry, president and CEO of NHCAC.
Irizarry said that a significant part of the funds raised will be used to purchase defibrillators for each of NHCAC's seven health sites across Bergen and Hudson counties.
A good cause
The NHCAC Foundation, which was established in 2002, hosts two major fundraisers per year in order to finance things on the organization's wish list for current and future projects.
The group plans to expand the organization's facilities and its inventory of affordable housing.
"[The fundraiser] has been imperative for the center," said Lavagnino.
NHCAC also uses the funds to establish other service programs for the community. Last year the non-profit set up the Delia Torres Domestic Violence program, which provides talk therapy and group counseling to victims.
"This came about after we [learned] a staff member's sister was killed by her boyfriend due to domestic violence," said Lavagnino. "The domestic violence [program] has been very successful. The things we can't handle here, we refer [to other organizations]."
There are currently 28 residents enrolled in the program, said Lavagnino.
"[We ask] 'how can we make our patients' lives better and how can we make the community's lives better as a whole?'" said Lavagnino. "We are here for the people."
This year, the center will purchase a defibrillator for each of its seven health centers. A defibrillator is an electronic device used to counteract a rapid, irregular beat of the heart muscle, which could cause cardiac arrest. It restores a normal heartbeat by applying a brief electric shock. Lavagnino said each defibrillator will cost $1,800.
The idea came about recently after a staff member at NHCAC's West New York headquarters suffered a heart attack. Although she was all right, it got the administration thinking that they needed to have a defibrillator on hand in case of such events.
"We are a health center and we have 156,000 visits [a year] that could [require] resuscitation," said Lavagnino. "We provide over 3.5 million services annually in our programs throughout our sites."
Fundraiser money has also gone toward the purchase a Doppler heart-monitoring machine and in 2004 they started a nursing program in collaboration with Hudson County Community College to address the nursing shortage within this area.
Good time had by all
Despite the rain, a number of golfers still enjoyed the day's events, which started with brunch at 10 a.m., and was followed by a raffle and awards ceremony.
Before the raffle, players were scheduled to play a round of 18 holes. But due to the rain, nobody made it onto the greens.
"The manager of the club was very gracious," said Lavagnino. "He offered to reschedule us on Thursday, or to give everyone who showed up [or couldn't attend] a certificate to come back any day between Monday to Friday and play a round of 18 holes."
NHCAC also gave all players a Callaway XG two-ball putter.
Among the items raffled were: a $100 dining certificate to The Quays on the Hoboken Waterfront, a $495 package for a Spirit Harbor Cruise around Manhattan, and a $995 one-night stay on a weekend in the Grand Luxe Guestroom at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. The highest coveted prize was a $2,150 one-night stay in the luxury Mandarin Suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York.
"When we raffled off the prizes, we were just short of what we raised last year. We were very happy," said Lavagnino.
"We are so grateful to all our supporters," she said. "We truly appreciate [their contributions.]"
In recognition, the Michael A. Leggiero Memorial Golf Classic Cup was engraved with the names of all participants and sponsors. The cup will remain permanently on display at NHCAC's West New York headquarters. Jessica Rosero can be reached at email@example.com