By Edward Husar
Plans were announced this morning for the 10th annual Sammy Fund event that raises money for youth-oriented charitable causes.
The event is held each year in memory of a 10-year-old Quincy girl who died in March 2000.
This year’s Oct. 10–11 fundraiser features a running/walking event, a golf tournament, a dinner and a silent auction, with proceeds benefiting children in the community.
This is all being done in memory of Samantha Otte, daughter of Chuck and June Otte, who died after a liver transplant necessitated by cystic fibrosis.
After Samantha’s passing, her family and friends decided to create something positive in her honor by forming the Sammy Fund group, which works to raise money to benefit other children. The chief source of revenue is the Sammy Fund event, held each October since 2000.
Plans for the 2009 event were outlined at a news conference this morning at Cornerstone Foundation for Families, 915 Vermont, where Ralph and Lisa Oakley were introduced as honorary chairmen of this year’s Sammy Fund event.
“I think this organization is quintessential Quincy and the Tri-State area,” Ralph Oakley said.
“It’s friends and family who have gotten together to do good things for the community and for thousands of kids. It’s a wonderful event, and thousands of dollars have been raised, and thousands of kids have been helped.”
Since its inception, the Sammy Fund group has raised more than $360,000 through the annual events and private donations.
Most of that money was turned over to the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund, which was established in September 2000 through the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area. Over the years, the foundation has distributed 100 grants totaling $137,535 to help provide access to worthwhile activities for children with limited opportunities. The most recent grants – a dozen totaling $21,500 – were awarded Jan. 6th, Samantha’s birthday.
The fund now has a balance of more than $200,000 and will continue to grow so more grants can be awarded.
In addition, the Sammy Fund group – a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization – has distributed more than $10,000 in direct grants to support youth-oriented activities and needs in the community.
Chuck Otte said the annual fundraising event, which raised $47,726 last year, has been a success because of the community’s strong support and the efforts of more than 100 loyal volunteers.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the support from the community,” he said. “We want to help kids in the community in Sammy’s name, and we’ve been able to do that. And we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
June Otte said she is grateful for the continuing support.
“It started out just as a way to bring comfort to people who loved Samantha, and it has grown beyond our wildest expectations,” she said.
“The generosity of the Quincy community has been incredible. They really care about their children. and they don’t just talk about it. They put their money where their mouth is and really help a lot of kids.”
First Bankers Trust Co. has served as a major sponsor of the Sammy Fund event from the beginning. Refreshment Services Pepsi, the Quincy Herald-Whig, WGEM and County Market are also major sponsors.
Activities planned as part of the 2009 Sammy Fund event:
*Saturday, Oct. 10: A run/walk beginning at 9 a.m. at Madison Park and going through Quincy’s East End Historic District.
*Sunday, Oct. 11: golf tournament at Westview Golf Course starting at 10:30 a.m.
*Sunday, October 11: Dinner and silent auction at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Doors open at 3:30 p.m., meals served from 4 to 6; silent auction from 4 to 6:15; prizes awarded at 6:30.
More information is available by calling 242-1527 or visiting the Sammy Fund group’s website: www.thesammyfund.com
Direct contributions to the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund can be arranged by calling the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area at 222-1237.