Drew Stanton Celebrity Golf Outing and Charity Auction Raises $80,000
By Chrissie Wywrot
NFL veteran Drew Stanton hosted his ninth Celebrity Golf Outing and Charity Auction, June 16, at Hawk Hollow Golf Course in Lansing, Mich., raising $80,000 for the High 5ive Foundation.
Those funds will be directed toward Children’s Miracle Network and Special Olympics of Michigan, two of Stanton’s primary causes.
“It’s special to me getting a chance to come back here and draw on my resources at Michigan State,” said Stanton. “(We have) current Spartans and other guys that are sprinkled throughout the NFL, NHL and NBA.
“It’s a very special event and it’s become a reunion in a sense.”
Taking a look back at photos from previous years shows how this event has evolved over time. Michigan State players and coaches, teammates from the Lions and Cardinals, and pro athletes from other leagues have come and gone from year-to-year.
The one constant has been funding the High 5ive Foundation, something near and dear to Stanton’s heart.
“This is our primary fundraiser,” said Stanton of the June 16 outing. “All of the proceeds will be distributed to Children’s Miracle Network and Special Olympics of Michigan.
“At Sparrow Hospital we’ve been able to redo a teen room, which is one of the very few in the entire country, and (have redone) the entire playroom. Through Special Olympics of Michigan, we’ve been fortunate to donate not only to the Lansing area, but to the entire state of Michigan.”
Honoring A Miracle
Each year at High 5ive’s celebrity golf outing, the foundation honors a family that has been through trauma and emerged out the other side thanks to Sparrow Hospital. This year’s honoree was 13-year-old Jack Kraushaar.
“Our son, Jack, had been sick all day with what we presumed to be the flu,” said Jack’s dad, Mark. “Later in the afternoon, he began to complain of acute pain in his lower right abdomen, and we came to Sparrow with what we thought might be an appendix issue.”
Tests ruled out Jack’s appendix as the problem, instead showing a kidney infection, inflamed gall bladder, and blood- and urine-borne bacteria that was later determined to be staph aureus.
“Jack’s condition deteriorated rapidly into full-blown septic shock by early Friday morning, and the situation became quite serious,” said Mark.
“Dr. Steven Guertin and his team of medical professionals provided outstanding care and response to the situation, stabilized Jack’s condition, and started him on the road to recovery.”
The Kraushaar family had nothing but praise for Sparrow Hospital, where Stanton himself was born in 1984.
“We were honored to have a child at the event to represent Sparrow and the great work that happens there,” said Stanton. “Jack is a great kid and I am thankful for the opportunity to meet him and his family.”
Amidst all he has been able to accomplish through his foundation, Stanton has always kept perspective that he can do none of it without his supporters.
“I understand that people have the ability to donate their money to a lot of places, but I want them to be in the forefront of this foundation,” he said. “We continue to grow and grow and now we’ve got to the point where we’ve sold (the golf outing) out.
“That’s a great problem to have.”
With the golf outing in the books, it’s time for Stanton and his family to return to Arizona to prepare for the NFL season. While he won’t physically be in Michigan, he will keep tabs on the causes he supports through the High 5ive Foundation.
“I started the High 5ive Foundation back in 2007 right when I was drafted by the Detroit Lions,” said Stanton. “Being fortunate enough to be drafted in the state where you played your college football, you already have an unbelievable amount of resources.
“Being able to draw on those resources and especially this local community that helped shaped my life and helped me to become the man that I am today is an incredible feeling.”
High 5ive Foundation Continues Support of Fresh Flint Festival
By Chrissie Wywrot
As the Flint Water Crisis unfolded in 2015, Farmington Hills, Mich. native and NFL pro Drew Stanton wanted to do something for the city residents … and he wasn’t alone.
After water was declared unsafe to drink in October 2015, celebrities — many of whom grew up in the Detroit area — came out in droves to help. Hip hop artists Meek Mill and Big Sean donated bottled water and money. Rap artist Eminem teamed up with Wiz Khalifa, Sean “Diddy” Combs and actor Mark Wahlberg to donate one million bottles of water.
Recognizing all that was already being done, Stanton wanted to do something different.
“I saw a lot of guys already doing great things for the city,” said Stanton. “So I asked Kim (Doverspike, Executive Director of the High 5ive Foundation) to look into what else we could do.”
Doverspike contacted Flint Presbyterian Church in Flint, with whom she knew Pastor Paul Ytterock. He put her in touch with staff member Brenda Poe-Finkbeiner.
“At the time, (the crisis) was really spotlighted in the news media nationwide and we had just truckloads of water being delivered,” said Poe-Finkbeiner. “Well, Drew wanted to do something beyond sending a truckload of water.”
Fresh Flint Festival
Poe-Finkbeiner brainstormed and ultimately came up with the idea for the Fresh Flint Festival, an event that would bring together athletes, local businesses and organizations, and community members.
The idea was to provide resources to local families while engaging them in physical activity and nutrition.
“Physical activity and good eating habits are very important to help mitigate the effects of lead poisoning, so the whole event goes hand-in-hand with what is needed for these people,” said Poe-Finkbeiner.
“Those are two things that underprivileged people don’t always have access to. They aren’t always living the most healthy lifestyle, they don’t have access to resources to get them.”
This year’s April 22 event marked the second-annual Fresh Flint Festival. Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation was the top sponsor for the second year in a row.
“Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend due to my football schedule,” said Stanton, who has been with the Arizona Cardinals since 2013, “but seeing photos and hearing the success stories has been really gratifying.”
Access to Resources
More than 30 local-area exhibitors were on hand for this year’s Fresh Flint Festival highlighting health, proper nutrition, sports and other extra-curricular activities. The goal is not only to have fun at the event, but to connect families with resources beyond the event.
“We had one organization, for example, that delivers lunches to homes of children all summer long,” said Poe-Finkbeiner. “They were at the event giving away lunches and signing people up for the summer lunch program. If parents don’t know that’s available, they’re not going to have access to it.
“I’m sure that schools are sending things home, but not every parent’s going through their kid’s backpack every night. If we can hook up one family to a resource like that, that’s critical.”
The event has drawn attention for it’s unique take on the city’s water crisis. A major cable network even reached out to First Presbyterian to put together a documentary highlighting its impact, but was ultimately unable to attend.
“I really credit Drew for challenging us,” said Poe-Finkbeiner. “Saying, ‘I want to do something, I don’t know what I want to do, but I want it to be awesome. You tell me what I can do.’
“He challenged us to think of what we could do to respond to this crisis, and it’s been extremely valuable.”
Support High 5ive
You can help the High 5ive Foundation give back to events like this by attending this year’s Drew Stanton Celebrity Golf Outing and Charity Auction Afterglow party!