Question: What is 12 years old, has only celebrated 9 birthdays, has survived two recessions and a pandemic, and has raised $521,800 for our community?

I know . . .too easy. Obviously, it is the First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitational! As we look forward to the 2021 First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitationals in Milwaukee and Madison in August and September, respectively, it is worth looking back at the history of this unique event.

In 2008, First Business Bank was trying to hold an event to help non-profits in the Madison area. When the idea of a charity golf event surfaced, Corey Chambas, President & CEO of our parent company, couldn’t bear the idea of hosting the typical 6-hour charity scramble in which so many of us have participated. It had to be unique, and above all, it had to be competitive! An idea formed for an event during which clients and friends of First Business Bank would create two-person teams, pay an entry fee that would be a donation, and select a charity for which they would play. The charities chosen could reap the rewards of their golfers’ abilities. First Business Bank would pay for the full cost of the golf event so 100% of the entry fee proceeds would go to the charity the winning team selected. Winner take all!

Corey says he has a lot of ideas, but only 50% of them are good (please don’t tell him that his estimate might be a bit optimistic). In this case, the idea was great, but the timing wasn’t. The planning for the first Invitational began in 2009, but the Great Recession had other ideas — not a great time to kick off a charity event. The First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitational would be delayed for two years — officially kicking off in 2011. However, in its first year, the Invitational was a huge success; the winning team brought home $42,000 for their designated charity!

From 2011 to 2019, the First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitational in Madison was wildly successful — raising over $40,000 every year. The only significant change over time was to modify the winner-take-all format to pay out for the top five places because the purse grew large enough to make significant contributions to multiple non-profits.

In 2019, first place team Jay Hazen and John Leja won $20,000 for the Dane County Humane Society and the second place team of Ted Matkom and Tom Patzman won $10,000 for Impact Seven. Due to the pandemic in 2020, we held a scaled-down, modified version of the event in the Milwaukee area. So you can imagine how pleased we are that the event will return in 2021 in both Madison and Milwaukee. The 10th First Business Charity Golf Invitational in Madison will be held on September 15, 2021.

Based on the success of the Madison event, the First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitational in Milwaukee started in 2014. The Milwaukee event has been well received by clients and friends of First Business Bank. In the 2020 event in Milwaukee, the winning team of Joe Klein and Derek Schneider won $15,000 for Above and Beyond Playground and second place team of Tim and Terry Wallen contributed $6,000 to The Milwaukee Urban League. The 2021 First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitational in Milwaukee will be held on August 30, 2021.

During the pandemic, the demand for services from non-profits increased dramatically, while studies show that approximately 75% non-profits experienced a decline in revenues. In 2021, the contributions from the First Business Bank Charity Golf Invitationals may be more important than ever. As we look forward to both of these events, I am extremely proud of First Business Bank for investing in our community and grateful for our generous clients and friends who have participated over the years. In the meantime, you will probably find me at the driving range . . . .