Fundraising is child’s play for men’s club - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Fundraising is child’s play for men’s club

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Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 6:15 am | Updated: 6:27 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

In June, a Scottsdale men’s group dedicated to making a positive impact on the community through children will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

From the nearly $500,000 the Scottsdale Active 20-30 Club No. 547 handed out last month, members are truly fulfilling their mission.

The all-volunteer club bestowed grants to 16 Valley charities, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, last month at its annual foundation gifting dinner.

Five additional grants went to recipients who requested anonymity.

The club’s 50 members, businessmen in their 20s and 30s, had a record year, according to the group’s president, attorney Kurt Merschman of Squire Sanders in Phoenix.

“It’s always a good year when our philanthropy events set records,” said Merschman, a club member for six years. “We’re a group of men who are motivated to raise money for groups that benefit children. There’s social camaraderie for members and the sense of what we’re doing to help needy children.”

Nancy Clare Stern, vice president marketing and development for the Boys & Girls Clubs, said the group does wonderful things for many organizations, not just hers.

“They raise a ton of money and support our community like no one could,” she said. “They’re extraordinary. I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for them.”

Active 20-30 International had its beginnings in 1922. Its founders thought that established service clubs were dominated and run by older men and wanted to do something to get the younger set involved. The first two clubs were in Aberdeen, Wash., and Sacramento, Calif.

Members of the Scottsdale club have two monthly meetings, a formal get-together at a Scottsdale restaurant and an informal session typically held at a member’s home.

There are also 20-30 clubs for men in Glendale and Phoenix, while the Valley of the Sun Active 20-30 Club in Scottsdale is exclusively for women.

Some of the men’s club activities include a fishing derby for children, taking members of the Boys & Girls Clubs to baseball games, providing Christmas trees to needy families, and refurbishing older homes for underprivileged families.

Last year, the club was instrumental in raising more than $70,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation alone.

“We have social and philanthropic sides,” Merschman said. “In my mind, having

two sides sets us apart.”

The club has three key events that the majority of funds come from. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale partner with 20-30 for “Nite Flite,” and Phoenix Day works with it for “Fly Away.” The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and of Metropolitan Phoenix and Boys Hope Girls Hope benefit from an event called “Brokers for Kids.”

Marc Altieri, director of real estate finance and sales for Opus West Corp. in Phoenix and immediate past president of the club and its foundation president, said while gathering funds for charities gives members a good feeling, the concept becomes clear at one of its events.

“It hits home when you go to a charity and give money away,” said Altieri, a member of the group for seven years.

“You feel like you’ve done something special. We work hard to raise money, and it does give you a warm feeling to see where it’s going and some of the kids it will help.”

Merschman said the club’s annual goal is to raise as much as it can at each event.

“We went beyond our expectations this year,” he said. He added that club membership is capped at 50 and there’s a waiting list of prospective members.

For more details about the club, visit

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