Good luck finding a charity golf tournament that’s on par with the kind of success that CLV Group's Mike McCann Memorial enjoyed this past Thursday at The Meadows Golf & Country Club.
“We’re going to raise a heck of a lot of money tonight,” Mike McGahan, CEO of CLV Group and InterRent REIT, told the sold-out crowd that packed the clubhouse for dinner.
He wasn't exaggerating. The net total came to $758,375. That’s believed to be the highest amount ever raised, without a matching dollar program, at any golf tournament in the region. Those funds will help at least 10 non-profit organizations, including The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
The inspiration behind it all: Mike McCann.
McCann, who owned marketing firm Velocity Media, was the driving force, for so many years, behind CLV Group's Ron Kolbus Memorial Charity Golf Tournament. It raised more than $3.2 million by the time the benefit wrapped up in 2017, after 20 years.
Sadly, McCann, 63, passed away in February from cancer.
McCann and McGahan had been very close friends. With their similar-sounding names, they were often referred to as the "two Mikes".
“He was just an amazing individual,” McGahan told the room of his fun-loving friend’s natural ability to talk to anybody, about anything, and always keep a positive and upbeat attitude — right to the very end. “He was a really genuine person.”
It took the experience of organizing a tournament in honour of McCann for others to truly appreciate and realize the huge amount of effort he put into the fundraiser, year after year. He was a “one-man tour de force,” added McGahan, who joked about the one year he found himself driving to the wrong golf course, forgetting that the tournament had changed locations.
“That’s how little involvement I had, until this year,” said McGahan. “We had no idea how much work it was, honestly, until now.”
McGahan also spoke about the responsibility of the business community to give back, whenever possible. He encouraged everyone to be generous that night. “Everyone of us in this room is super lucky; we’re so fortunate,” said McGahan, who was named Outstanding Individual Philanthropist at last year's awards dinner held by the Ottawa Association of Fundraising Professionals.
CLV Group is an Ottawa-based real estate company that specializes in property management. InterRent REIT is a publicly traded real estate investment firm with a portfolio of more than 10,000 apartments throughout Ontario and Quebec.
At least 50 people pitched in to organize the Mike McCann Memorial, with Danielle Baron, executive assistant to InterRent COO Dave Nevins, taking the lead.
It turned out to be a gorgeous day for golfing. The tournament, with its 288 golfers, not only sold out but it also had a waiting list. Another 60 or so people joined in for dinner.
The Mike McCann Memorial, which saw big banks BMO, Desjardins and Scotiabank serve as diamond sponsors, had the support of dozens of businesses.
Present was McCann’s family, including his wife, Gloria McCann, and their three daughters, Ashley Lyon, 36, Jordanna McCann, 34, and Alexandra McCann, 30, along with their respective husbands.
During the cheque presentation, Gloria expressed her love and gratitude to everyone, particularly CLV Group president Oz Drewniak, who was like a younger brother to her husband, and to McGahan. “There are no words that can describe how he felt about you,” she told him before giving McGahan a warm hug.
Gloria donated a dinner for 10 at her family-owned Al’s Steakhouse on Elgin Street. It sold for $8,000 during the auction.
Ryan Watson from Raising the Bid was the evening’s engaging emcee and auctioneer. At the start of dinner, he offered quick access to the buffet food to whichever table had the highest bid. It came from Gary Zed, CEO of Treehouse Family Advisory, with $2,000, but he donated his “first dibs” to the McCann family.
Zed also threw in an all-expenses-paid, two-day fishing experience for four at his privately owned salmon fishing club, Sutter, on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. It hauled in $24,000 after selling twice, to the two top bidders.
As well, he donated, along with CLV Group, a girls’ weekend for four to NYC, including tickets to ABC talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan. It sold for $6,500.
A dinner for 10 at high-end restaurant Riviera on Sparks Street, courtesy of Todd Brown from Ottawa Venues, went for $4,000.
McGahan and CLV gave a trip for two to catch a NFL regular season game in the North American city of one's choice. It sold for $5,500, while a similar package involving the NHL went for $6,000.
A package of items to create one's own “mancave,” including a giant-screen TV and vintage popcorn maker, brought in another $5,000.
As proof of how generous the crowd was that night, two bidders paid $6,500 each for a gift card at Home Depot, even though the card was worth $5,000.
The crowd was on its feet with applause after listening to keynote speaker and cancer survivor Kimberly Mountain share her story of how The Ottawa Hospital saved her life. She had surgery for a brain tumour in 2011, at age 28, and later found out it was cancerous.
She went through treatment and has been cancer free since 2012. She now encourages others to stay positive and make a point of celebrating life’s little moments, every day.
Mountain recognized that she was fortunate with her outcome while McCann was not. “[Cancer] is never fair,” said Mountain, a dispatcher with Ottawa Fire Services. “I know that even if mine does come back, I am confident in The Ottawa Hospital. With its constant innovative cancer research and clinical trials, it’s making treatments better at saving lives like mine."
The tournament also supported: The Boys and Girls Club, Sun Youth Montreal, Habitat for Humanity NCR, Youth Services Bureau, Christie Lake Kids, The Kidney Research Centre, The Snowsuit Fund, Easter Seals Ontario and Old Forge Community Resource Centre.
Before dinner, McGahan told OBJ.social it hasn't yet been really decided whether the tournament would become an annual thing. Yet, he closed off the night asking all the attendees to get home safely so that they can return next year, to raise even more money.