On December 10th, 2015, we held our annual Clays for a Cause charity event for the fourth consecutive year. We are proud to announce that this year’s event was our most successful one yet! Since our inception in 2012, we have been putting on Clays for a Cause, a sporting clay shoot event that raises money for local charities.
This year, Clays for a Cause raised $21,000 and had over 100 attendees – which is double the turnout we had in 2014. During its first three years, Clays for a Cause raised over $30,000. The event has now raised over $50,000 in four years, bringing an infusion of much-needed support to local charities in North Florida.
Clays for a Cause was inspired during our first full year in operation as a Jacksonville home builder by our desire to give back to our local community. We decided that instead of having a holiday party, we would invite all of our employees, trade partners, bankers, consultants, and anyone who had contributed to our business for a fun-filled day of shooting sporting clays. We funded the entire event and asked participants to consider bringing a donation – one hundred percent of which was donated to several local charities.
“We are beyond thankful to the participants and sponsors,” said MasterCraft Builder Group partner, Chris Shee. “Giving back to the community, which has helped our business grow, is a vital part of who we are as a company. There’s plenty of need right here in our own backyard. We continue to be amazed at the generosity of our trade partners and vendors that make giving back so impactful.”
This year, the donations from Clays for a Cause were given to St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS), the Cotta Family, the Monique Burr Foundation, and a project by St. Johns Housing Partnership and a local church to help restore the home of a veteran living in St. Johns County.
SAYS is a nonprofit organization that houses and cares for abused or neglected children. They provide therapeutic treatment to help children heal from traumatic situations and learn better coping skills. This year, as last year, SAYS received half of the proceeds from the event.
SAYS had their staff on-site at Clays for a Cause to emphasize their need for fundraising. SAYS Director of Development Robin Burchfield said, “At age 18, these children are aged out of the SAYS program. Living independently is all the more challenging due to their diagnosed mental health issues. Our new goal is to build six efficiency apartments adjacent to the current SAYS property for these young men to live and continue with high school or vocational training. A married couple (life coaches) will live on-site and be there for support.”
“This new facility is critical to meet the needs of at-risk youth and families throughout St. Johns County. Without the help and support of our local community, these young people often end up homeless or in the legal system. We are looking forward to providing this much needed service and really appreciate all MasterCraft Builder Group has done for our cause,” added Schuyler Siefker, SAYS Executive Director.
Another portion of the proceeds from Clays for a Cause were donated to the Cotta Family. Issac Cotta, whose father is a MasterCraft Builder Group trade partner, is currently fighting an illness that has required multiple brain surgeries. “After hearing about Issac’s health issues and that the family has incurred more than $300,000 in medical bills, we knew we needed to help,” MasterCraft Builder Group Partner Andy Chambers stated. “A Go-Fund Me account was set up and we passed the word that the Cotta’s needed prayers and help. Since the MasterCraft family extends well beyond our employees, we all felt very strongly about including them as a beneficiary of this year’s shoot to offset some of their medical bills.”
The Monique Burr Foundation, whose mission is to protect children from all forms of abuse and bullying, also received a portion of the money raised. The foundation provides “MBF Child Safety Matters” to all Florida elementary schools. MBF Child Safety Matters is a prevention education program to inform and embolden elementary school students, staff, and parents with ways to prevent bullying, digital abuse, and child abuse.
The funds from Clays for a Cause also benefitted a retired military veteran living in St. Johns County who needed housing assistance. “Hearing about a local veteran needing housing assistance and being a local home builder really made our decision to devote funds from Clays for a Cause an easy one,” said Neill Singleton, MasterCraft Builder Group partner.
Thank you to all who participated and donated to this year’s Clays for a Cause! We are looking forward to next year’s event, which will be held in early December 2016. The charities for the event will be announced in November. Charities selected for the event must serve the local St. Johns County community, have low overhead, and usually involve helping children. If you’re interested in learning more about the event, please contact us online or give us a call at 904-274-2773.