Every year at BIGHORN, charitable donations of time, talent and money grow exponentially, helping thousands of Coachella Valley residents of all ages. Over the last 20 years, BIGHORN Members have gifted over $155 million to worthy causes and organizations in the Coachella Valley, and around the world.
“BIGHORN Members are true entrepreneurial leaders who recognize the power of philanthropy,” states Kelly Levy, Director of Charities and Marketing at BIGHORN. “From one-time charitable donations, to sustained philanthropy that endows lasting change, Members are admired in the community for their compassion and generosity. Each individual has the power to bring people together for a common goal. It’s about creating a better future for generations to come. We can change the world together.”
While giving to others in need is heartwarming and essential in our world, the realization that your act of charity has actually changed someone’s life for the better is profound. BIGHORN’s many charitable efforts can be summed up in two words: life changing.
HELPING NONPROFITS THRIVE
BIGHORN Cares is a prime example of the generosity and philanthropic nature of the Club. This nonprofit was created to assist other 501(c)3 organizations by issuing grants for specific projects that benefit the most underserved citizens in the Coachella Valley. In true BIGHORN fashion, this organization is supported by Member contributions, and a partnership with One West Bank, with 100% of the funds passed through to qualified applicants.
Over the past five years, BIGHORN Cares has distributed $2.3 million to 243 projects, benefiting the lives of countless adults, children, and families.
“Each year this program grows, and this was our biggest year yet. To distribute $600,000 to 70 local nonprofits is an amazing accomplishment for a golf club community,” stated Member Joe Kirby, Chairman of BIGHORN Cares. “We are thrilled to be able to make an impact on so many organizations that are doing great work and serving different needs across the Coachella Valley. We couldn’t be more proud of our Members and the community.”
One of the 2018 grant recipients was Father’s Heart Ranch, located on the outskirts of Desert Hot Springs. The Ranch, a group home for abused and neglected boys, has a mission to receive, restore, and revive children whose lives have been impacted by abuse and neglect. Its goal is to provide skills that each child can take with them on their journey through life. This is accomplished through therapy, community involvement, spiritual development, exposure to new things and above all love.
For the past 13 years, Christina Torres has been the Administrative Director of Father’s Heart Ranch and is grateful to BIGHORN and its Members for their generosity and support of the community. As a four-time recipient of BIGHORN Cares grants, funds have helped build a shaded playground.
“Our nearest park was 20 minutes away,” explained Torres. “Playing is such a huge part of a child’s physical and mental wellbeing, and this new equipment allows the boys to play on-site – to run and play on monkey bars and a swing set.”
In addition to the playground, funds helped to build an onsite splash pad with cooling water for interactive play during hot desert days. BIGHORN Member Dr. Craig Ball, became personally involved and worked side-by-side with Miguel Gomez and a team of landscapers to install irrigation for not just a raised garden, but also for approximately 80 palm trees and 20 citrus trees that they planted for shade and windbreak to protect the playground.
During a recent BIGHORN Cares Road Trip, Members, including Katy and Bruce Titcomb, recently visited Father’s Heart Ranch.
“We first met the boys in the cafeteria where we broke the ice by drinking root beer floats together,” said Katy. “We then went to several different activity stations, read books and put together jigsaw puzzles… Bruce and I were surprised by how friendly and open the boys were. They were really well behaved, cheerful, and playful; we were sad that they had suffered so much in their young lives. We were also amazed with the dedication of the staff and pleased that BIGHORN Cares is financially supporting this organization.”
“When the kids get one-on-one attention, you see them thriving and enjoying their time,” said Torres. “BIGHORN Cares is a wonderful program and the Members are making a big difference, not just financially, but they invest their time as well, and that is a precious resource.”
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Many people feel that higher education is priceless, but with the constant rising costs of tuition, earning a degree can be financially difficult. Thanks to a special program implemented by BIGHORN, the cost of education for employees is much less daunting. Through the BIGHORN Scholarship program, more than 600 collegiate and post-graduate grants have been gifted in just 13 years.
Clubhouse Service Manager Rick Neilon’s family is just one of the hundreds of beneficiaries of these scholarships, primarily awarded to BIGHORN employees and their family members.
“The Bighorn Scholarship Program has impacted my entire family with life-changing results,” said Rick. “The scholarships allow my family to concentrate on their studies instead of worrying about the financial burden of rising tuition. With my families’ higher education, they will be able to realize the lifetime goals they have dreamed of.” Rick’s wife, Fran, and his two sons, Stone and Parks, have all received scholarships to help further their education. Fran recently received her Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies from Azusa Pacific University, while Stone is studying Political Science and Public Affairs at UCLA, and Parks is majoring in Criminal Justice at College of the Desert.
“BIGHORN has been instrumental in the success I have achieved at both my work and in my personal life,” said Fran. “You never stop learning. You must continually grow and develop your skills. By going back to school, I could be an example for my young adult sons that self-development is never ending and there’s always time to further your education.”
Stone loves seeing his mother go back to school and enjoys sharing similar challenges such as writing papers and essays. “BIGHORN has given me the ability to be a better student. The scholarship has opened up new doors that were previously closed because of the financial hardships that come with going to a university.”
Parks agrees with Stone, is proud of his mother, and feels that, “BIGHORN has helped me tremendously in my ability to attend college. The scholarship has helped me afford books and other supplies needed to be successful. I am on track with my major and able to graduate in a reasonable time.”
From College of the Desert and nursing school degrees, to Harvard University and everywhere in between, BIGHORN employees and their families are realizing their dreams and building their future with a valuable education -- All thanks to the generosity of BIGHORN and its Members.
MAKING MIRACLES HAPPEN
Since its inception in 2007, BIGHORN BAM (Behind a Miracle) has directly impacted more than 100,000 local patients in their treatment of cancer. The organization has donated nearly $9 million including funds to purchase state-of-the-art cancer treatment equipment, but it did not stop at that. With the realization that no matter how advanced the equipment might be, it means nothing if patients cannot find transportation to get there, BAM made sure that van transportation services would be available for those with no way of reaching that life-saving equipment. To date, the nonprofit has given more than 12,000 rides to assist people to and from their treatments.
BIGHORN BAM founder and breast cancer survivor Selby Dunham started this grassroots effort to assist others in treatment. “I never dreamed the organization would go to this level, but I don’t know if I should be that surprised… knowing the people that support BAM. The generosity of our BIGHORN Members and friends never ceases to amaze me, even after 12 years,” noted Dunham. “It’s truly an honor to be able to make an impact in our community and help provide compassion, love and support for those fighting cancer in the Coachella Valley.”
In addition to funding equipment, research, and transportation services, BAM also supports over 300 families a year through The Pendleton Foundation’s outreach to ease the financial burden of cancer patients by providing crucial items, from groceries to gas gift cards.
Sean Roberts, President of The Pendleton Foundation explained, “When you don’t have food in the refrigerator, you can’t wait three weeks for benefits to come to you. We can approve an application within an hour of receiving it, and the benefits can reach our patients that same day. Those are our people. Those are the ones that BIGHORN BAM touches every single day.”
BAM does not rest on its laurels, but is always seeking new ways to reach those individuals in need. New this year, BAM has partnered with the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional Medical Center to assist its patients. They kicked off their support with a check for $36,000 to help fund gas gift cards and lodging for the Hanson House Foundation, a “home away from home” for the loved ones of critically ill and injured hospitalized patients.
Through the years, BAM has expanded from a focus on breast cancer to all cancers. BAM was able to contribute significantly to the purchase of a True Beam Accelerator, a new piece of equipment that offers the next level of radiation therapy treatments - precise, fast and comfortable.
“The purpose of this is to save lives, and it does,” exclaimed Monica Khanna, M.D. Medical Director of Eisenhower’s BIGHORN Radiation Oncology Center. “It’s just amazing as a physician to work in a place where philanthropy allows us to deliver the best possible care. It’s a miracle to be able to cure these patients.”
Alison Mayer Sachs, Director of Community Outreach & Cancer Support Services at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center notes, “You can have the best ideas in the world, but let’s be honest, if you don’t have the funding and the people behind it to get you that funding, it’s just an idea. BAM Donors and BIGHORN Members stepped up and made it a reality.”
“You want the definition of Behind a Miracle, there it is, right there.”