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SEF News & Success Stories

Swinging for Success and Aiming Higher to Empower Students with Disabilities

Planning is underway for this fall’s 22nd Annual Dan McLaughlin Charity Golf Tournament and Auction. Like the previous 21 years, this year’s event will be held at Norwood Hills Country Club on the second Monday of October, this year that’s the 14th.

Throughout its history, the Dan McLaughlin Charity Golf Tournament has been a beacon of hope, raising over $5 million for the Special Education Foundation. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the collective effort of our donors, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters, who have been instrumental in transforming the lives of students with disabilities in St. Louis County.

Over the past year, SEF has directly assisted nearly 6,000 students with everything from hearing aids to attending summer camp, thanks to the support and contributions from our dedicated community.

Each year, as part of the post-golf festivities at Norwood Hills, our Honorary Chair, Dan McLaughlin, produces a video that helps tell the SEF story about our role in connecting the dots to meet students' needs. In 2022, the tournament’s 20th year, Dan told a beautiful story about the tournament and SEF's impact on the lives of kids with disabilities with the powerful statement, “How Blessed Are We All.”

The 2022 tournament went on to raise more than $410,000 to help students, which was incredibly timely coming out of the pandemic allowing us to help more students go to camp and provide additional funding for our Classroom Innovation Grants for teachers to bring innovative ideas and projects for thousands of St. Louis County students.

By the time the 2023 tournament rolled around last year, SEF had added a new program, SEF Presents!, to bring music, dance, and theater to SSD students. The golf tournament helped fund performances from The Imaginary Theater Company, Metro Theatre, the St. Louis Symphony, and Afriki Lolo during the current school year.

The tournament also helps support our John Cary Scholarship program, which assist students continuing their education beyond high school, along with SEF’s Critical Needs program.

Among the different aspects of our Critical Needs program that we assist in is providing Food Kits for families during winter and spring breaks. In addition, our Critical Needs fund helped a young woman in SSD’s Vocational Service Program accomplish her goal of competitive employment. SEF provided this student with five pairs of work pants and new shoes, which helped her gain a position in the food service industry earlier this month.

We often talk about our focus on giving our students tools and opportunities to succeed, and the funds from our annual charity golf tournament help us do just that! In the 2023 video for the tournament, Dan shared the story of one teacher dedicated to helping his students succeed, both in and out of the classroom.

We raised more than $330,000 last year and hope to surpass that total in 2024. You can help by becoming a sponsor, putting together a foursome for golfmaking a donationdonating an item for our silent or live auction, or volunteering to help out at the tournament.

We look forward to you being a part of this amazing event that helps so many students, and thank you for your support!