Play Some Golf, Help Your Community

Having fun is good, but having fun that benefits your community is much better. That’s why the Rockford Cosmopolitan Club will proceed with its 29th Annual Golf Classic on Aug. 14, says Eric Magnuson, event chair. Local non-profits have had to cancel most fundraisers this year due to COVID-19 and need community support more than ever.

“Being outside playing golf is safer than most events because you can social distance from all the other players except the one in your cart,” says Magnuson. “At first we wondered if we could go forward with it this year, but then we decided, ‘We can do this!’”

Last season, the club raised more than $94,000 for local charities. It gave $20,000 to the diabetic outreach program at Crusader Community Health and has donated more than $600,000 to Crusader Clinic over the past 20 years.

The club has a reputation for putting on an exceptionally fun golf outing.

“Golfers of all skill levels always have such a good time,” says Magnuson. “But the main reason we do it is to give back to our community.”

The event will take place at both Aldeen Golf Course, 1900 Reid Farm Road, and Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Road. Participants can choose the course they wish to play when they register online. Each course can accommodate up to 144 golfers.

The golf classic will begin at 11 a.m., followed by lunch, and will end with an After Party with free tap beer and a cash bar, an hors d’oeuvre buffet, results, awards and raffles at the Aldeen Golf Course pavilion.

New this year is a special $500,000 Hole-in-One prize. For $5, participants can enter a trial event that will narrow down hole-in-one competitors to 20 people. Before the After Party, everyone will gather to watch those 20 golfers try their best to score a hole-in-one that could earn them a $500,000 annuity. This is funded through a policy with a local insurance company.

“We wanted to do something big and exciting for golfers,” says Magnuson. “It definitely generates a lot of attention and will be fun for everyone to watch.”

Along with lunch and an afternoon of golf with a cart included, golfers will receive golf balls, a T-shirt, time on the practice range and free beverages on the course as well as the hors d’oeuvre-buffet After Party.

Cosmopolitan International is a not-for-profit civic organization. Founded in 1918, it has 1,500 members in 47 clubs in the U.S. and Canada. Rockford has the biggest chapter of all, with more than 225 members.

“I think our club is so successful because it offers a lot of flexibility, with no attendance required for events,” says Magnuson. “It’s a good group of people who find camaraderie and share the same focus. Some don’t have a lot of spare time to give, but if we all help out where we can, we can still accomplish a lot for the community. We strike a nice balance of holding fun events while keeping our focus on giving back.”

The club has been particularly successful at recruiting younger members who enjoy networking and want to be involved in the community. Tom Graceffa is the incoming president of the Rockford Cosmopolitan Club for 2020-2021.

The international club’s primary focus is raising millions of dollars for diabetes research and treatment. It works with PAWS Saving Lives, a program that pairs diabetes alert dogs with people who need them most.

These highly trained dogs recognize changes in blood sugar by the smell of a person’s breath and touch the person to signal when something is wrong. In some cases, they touch a 911 pad if a person living alone becomes unconscious. Grant applications can be made online at

Last year the club not only donated $20,000 to Crusader Community Health, but also presented grants ranging from $850 to $6,000 to 17 organizations, including Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, Northern Illinois Food Bank, Rock House Kids, Barbara Olson School of Hope, Center for Sight & Hearing, Gigi’s Playhouse, Midway Village Museum, Paws Saving Lives, Rockford Rescue Mission, Shelter Care Ministries, The Literacy Council, Walter Lawson Children’s Home, the 17th Circuit Therapy Dog Volunteers and Ken-Rock, Northwest and Patriots Gateway community centers.

The cost to participate in the golf event is $660 per foursome, $760 per foursome with a tee sign or $165 per individual.

The club guarantees a rescheduled event or refund to participants, should cancelation occur due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Learn more and register online at ❚