By Katie Hensel, Founder & Director, Tri 4 Schools
Running a non-profit gives you a front row seat to experiencing the best in humanity. It also provides you with a lot of the tough side, but as an eternal optimist, I prefer to focus on the good that exists all around us.
In 2011, I started Tri 4 Schools, a non-profit devoted to encouraging health and wellness for kids through the sport of triathlon. We donate the entry fees from our events and programming to the schools of our participants to support initiatives that foster healthy lifestyles. We believe that by supporting our local schools, the place where our children spend most of their time, we can have the greatest impact on the health of the next generation.
Over the past nine years, we have been supported by many individuals and organizations who believe in our mission, and right there at the top is Prominence Advisors, led by their CEO, Bobby Bacci.
Bobby and I met at Epic, starting within a month of each other in 2006. That first summer, I was raising money for a two-day charity bike ride, and plucked up the courage to ask my coworkers for help in reaching my $300 goal. Frankly, I wasn’t optimistic that any of them would donate, since most of us were staring down the road of paying off student loans, car payments, rent, and all the other bills that come with official “adulthood.”
But, within about 10 minutes of sending out my email, I got a response from Bobby Bacci. He gave $100.
I was floored. That experience still sticks with me 13 years later. He was, and remains, one of the most generous and kind people I have the privilege to know. That’s the kind of person you want leading your company.
So, when my fledgling non-profit wanted to try a golf scramble in 2014 as a way to help grow our after-school triathlon training program, Prominence signed on right away as the presenting sponsor. That first year, we raised $5,000, which was incredible for our very small organization.
Since 2014, our organization has grown from serving about 1,500 kids a year to over 3,000, raising $320,000 in funding for school health and fitness resources. Here are just a few of the key stats from 2018.
The Golf Classic has been a large reason why we’re able to add more programs, events, and offer more financial assistance to kids in our community who need it. And every step of the way, Prominence has increased their support to continue to make our biggest fundraiser of the year a success.
In 2019, we served over 500 kids through our Training Team program, which helps kids train for 8-10 weeks after school with the goal of completing one of our triathlons at the program’s end. Along the way, our athletes learn about all areas of health – including character-building skills and mental health techniques like meditation and breathing exercises. Thanks to the support raised at the Golf Classic, this program has continued to grow, serving more than 2,000 kids in our community (and counting)!
Take it from Mary, one of our coaches at Wright Middle School in Madison, who is also the school’s Psychologist.
“THANK YOU! Once again, Tri 4 Schools had a huge impact on the students at Wright. We taught three students to swim and strengthened the confidence of many others, taught three students how to ride a bike, and all of them grew in their fitness and confidence overall. I can’t express how much this program means to students who otherwise would not have access to such an amazing opportunity.”
Well, with 140 golfers, our biggest auction yet, and a new tasting event for non-golfers…we raised just shy of $27,000!
This is enough to provide 70 educator coaches for our training team program, who are the key to providing these important lessons to our kids across 30 sites across Dane County and Greater Milwaukee.
On behalf of all of us at Tri 4 Schools, I’d like to thank Prominence Advisors for their steadfast support since 2014, and for investing in the health of the next generation.