RITA began in late 1996 at a Deercreek Country Club tennis committee meeting. The committee was trying to create an event at our facility. When little progress was made, Charles Jantz, committee chair, suggested Jacksonville needed a women’s tennis tournament and the event could raise money for a local charity. Breast cancer was chosen and, initially, all the money went through the Baptist Health Foundation and to the Baptist Cancer Institute. After three years, we obtained our non profit status, which enables us to fund additional local breast cancer programs.
From our beginning with just one event, we have grown to threedifferent fund raisers. For more information on these events and dates, please go to the Events ribbon.
Using a format of a women’s tennis tournament along with social functions, RITA will combine a grass roots volunteer organization with media coverage to increase awareness of self-examination programs, treatment options, and research programs within the Jacksonville community.
What make RITA different from other non profit organizations? Actually, there are a number of factors that make us unique. First, we are all volunteers. That means there is NO SALARY expense. RITA operates out of the Jantz’s house, so there is NO RENT or OVERHEAD costs. These factors plus our major Sponsors mean we are able to donate 100 % of the net proceeds from each and every event. All the money raised is then donated to local Jacksonville agencies. Nothing is sent out of town. Every dollar raised in this community remains here.
Our special events include The RITA Championships in the Spring, the MixedRITA at Sawgrass Country Club in the early summer, and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in October at Sawgrass Country Club. Previously, our Caring And Sharing Hope 5 k Walk/Run ( CASH ) was given to Hands on Jacksonville. They have renamed the event The Human Race and the event is still open to all non-profit agencies as a turn-key fund raising event. After 15 years, we turned over the administration of the Lexus Champions for Charity golf event to the recipient agency, UF Health Jacksonville. Please contact their Development Office for details of this ongoing golf tournament.
Our new ‘In Memory of’ and ‘In Honor of’ Programs earmark donated funds to provide lasting recognition. Recently, 31 portable DVD players were donated to the Baptist Cancer Institute for the benefit of all chemotherapy patients and 6 iPODS were donated to Mayo Clinic for their chemo patients. In both cases, all items indicated the donor and were accompanied by a special wall plaque.
These factors combine to make us a very special and unique in the non profit community.
The Mixed Rita event at Sawgrass continued to grow their net proceeds in 2019. Now in their third year, $ 43,500.00 was raised. $ 38,000.00 was granted to Baptist Medical Center Beaches and all went into our endowments. All these funds qualified to be matched by the Baptist Health Foundation, so our impact was doubled.
The SenioRITAs at Sawgrass event, consisting of the Kick-off Party at Pusser’s, Live and Silent Auction Party, and Women’s Tennis Tournament, broke last year’s record proceeds. $ 163,000.00 was the amount granted between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Health. Mayo Clinic received $ 75,200.00. Dr. Al Copland and his cancer lab received $ 45,000.00. The balance went into our two cancer endowments; $ 3,000.00 into the Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke and $ 25,200.00 completing the $ 100,000.00 pledge for the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Memorial Endowment.
Baptist Health received $ 88,400.00. A new endowment for $ 25,000.00 was established honoring Sawgrass Country Club. $ 24,000.00 finished the pledge for the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Leadership Endowment. $ 10,000.00 was the first of five pledge payments to the Baptist Buddy Bus mobile mammography program. Both SenioRITAs and MixedRITA committed $ 50,000.00 each payable over five years. The balance of the grants went into 7 endowments. We received $ 36,000.00 in Baptist Health matching funds.
We are proud to announce RITA has passed the $ 5 Million Dollar Donation mark this year….$ 5,001,770.00 plus Baptist matching funds of $ 329,500.00 to date for a total local market impact of $ 5,331,270.00.
Congratulations to all the MixedRITA and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass volunteers for more than a job well done. You are all the best!
More good news came from Magnolia Point Country Club in late 2019 with an offer to host The RITA Championships in 2020 at their facility.
We look forward to another excellent year in 2020 in our fight against breast cancer. Thank you for all your support!
2018 was another challenging and interesting year. We knew the RITA Championships results would be disappointing, but we had a plan and an agreement with Deerwood Country Club to host the 2019 event. Unfortunately, a new management team did not abide by the agreement and, instead, their money request was not acceptable. Subsequently, we reached out to five additional sites. For various reasons ranging from “too busy”, not enough courts, wanting 2/3 of the net proceeds, no response, or high costs, we were not able to secure a location for the event. After 23 years as one of the top women’s tennis events in Jacksonville, no one wants or is capable of helping a local charity. Sorry, ladies, and a sad commentary on the local tennis community.
On the brighter side, the Mixed Rita event at Sawgrass grew their net proceeds to $33,000.00 in just the second year. All these funds went into our Endowments for Cancer Research at both Mayo Clinic and Baptist Health Foundation.
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass results were $ 154,869.73, an all-time high for net proceeds. Baptist Beaches received $ 46,425.00 which went into several of our Cancer Endowments We completed the funding for one Endowment in Honor of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. and another in Honor of Fields Auto Group at the $ 25,000.00 minimum. Both will be matched by Baptist Health Foundation bringing each total to $ 50,000.00. Mayo Clinic received $ 108,800.00. Dr. Al Copland and his lab received $ 45,000.00 and, $4,800.00 was added to the RITA Foundation’s Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke which now totals over $ 170,000.00. $ 59,000.00 was added to our new SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment bringing that total to $ 74,500.00. We will meet the minimum Mayo endowment of $ 100,000.00 in 2019. An outstanding achievement by Co-chair Karen Aaro and the entire SenioRITAs committee.
We are looking forward to continued success in 2019 as we work to find a cure for breast cancer. You can find additional information at our website: www.the-rita-foundation.org.
The RITA Championships had a very disappointing year. The Jacksonville Golf & Country Tennis Staff, Mark, Scott, Faye, Sue, and Adem did an excellent job running the tournament. However, added expenses from the host site made the financial result the lowest in 20 years. This will need to be corrected and 2018 will be critical in determining how to move forward.
Back to the good news….the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee out performed themselves. Under the leadership of Karen Aaro, chair, Carol Carter and Donna Wagener, the tournament, party and auction was our best ever. Revenue exceeded $ 117,000.00 in net proceeds. Mayo Clinic received $ 48,150 with $45,000.00 supporting Dr. Al Copland’s basic cancer research on NNN breast cancer and $3,150.00 added to The RITA Foundation’s Cancer Research Endowment. The Baptist Foundation received $ 50,000.00 that will create two new fully funded Endowments….in Honor of bestbet and in Honor of Pat and Tylee Wilson. Both endowments will be matched by Baptist. An additional $20,000 was added to four of our other SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowments at the Baptist Foundation.
In summary, an excellent year! Since beginning in 1997, RITA has now contributed over $4,600,000.00 to local programs. The RITA Foundation is proud to Give where We live.
2016 was a Happy 20th Anniversary Year. Our Spring event, the RITA Championships continues to be a successful, fully supported tournament. Last year, we turned over the management of the Lexus Champions for Charity Golf event after 14 years to U F Health, the recipient agency. This year our role was to advise and help.
Our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass event….Kick- off Party at Pussers Caribbean Grille, Party and Auction, Pro exhibition and three day tournament had outstanding results! Co-chair Karen Aaro, Auction leaders, Donna Wagener and Carol Carter, led the committee and events to our highest net revenue.
Continuing to donate 100% of the net proceeds, we were able to again fund Mayo Clinic cancer researcher Dr. Al Copland with a grant of $ 45,000.00 and add $ 6,000.00 to our $ 100,000.00 SenioRITAs Cancer Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke. Additionally, we were able to take advantage of the Baptist Health Foundation’s Endowment Matching Program. We created a fully funded $ 25,000.00 Cancer Endowment in Honor of The Main Street America Group and a fully funded $ 25,000.00 Cancer Endowment in Honor of Regency Centers. Both of these long time Sponsors were excited to be recognized in these way and more excited when our donations were equally matched by the Baptist Foundation. The result was two fully funded $ 50,000.00 cancer endowments.
We further added $ 2,285.00 in Memory of Nancy Alderman to our SenioRITAs $ 200,000.00 Cancer Endowment. Another new endowment for $ 8,000.00 for a future Sponsor was begun and $ 12,000 in a new Cancer Endowment for the Cimarrone Ladies Golf Association. When these two become fully funded at $ 25,000.00 each, they will also be matched by the Baptist Foundation.
ALL IN ALL, $ 124,385.00 DONATED PLUS $ 50,000.00 IN MATCHING FUNDS! I am very proud of this committee of fine, caring and super women! They make me look forward to 2017!
Our Spring event, the RITA Championships held at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club provided us the opportunity to grant $ 8,000.00 to Mammosphere. Dr. Kathryn Pearson-Payton started Mammosphere to provide instant access to mammograms by placing them into the ‘cloud’. Her program is a giant step forward for patients, doctors, and hospitals. In a short time, over 700 hospitals now offer this program to all breast cancer patients.
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament continues to be an outstanding social and competitive tournament. 137 doubles teams plus our Kick- off Party at Pusser’s Carribean Grille, Live and Silent Auction resulted in $ 30,000.00 being added to our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment at Baptist Medical Center Beaches. This will bring our contribution to $ 100,000.00 and with an equal match from the Baptist Health Foundation will total $ 200,000.00. Annual proceeds will be directed to helping provide mammograms to the underserved. We continue to support Dr. Al Copland’s cancer research at Mayo Clinic with a $ 45,000.00 grant.
The RITA Foundation was honored to receive almost $ 11,000,00 from the Cimmarone Ladies Golf Association. As a result, RITA added $ 12,000.00 to our RITA Foundation Cancer Research Endowment in honor of Chuck Saacke at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.
A small grant was given to In the Pink to help their lymphedema patients.
Our check presentations are set for early next year and will be followed shortly by our first planning meeting for the 2016 event. Since our beginning in 1997, our total donations, without any salary or overhead costs, have exceeded $ 4,331,698.00.
Our Lexus Champions for Charity golf tournament had a new venue at Timuquana Country Club. Our Sponsorships and golfer participation both exceeded last year. The net proceeds of the event were $108,500. One $5,000 vendor paid UF Health ( Shands new name ) directly, so the RITA check was for $103,500.This money was granted to the Breast Health Department at a lunch check presentation The Breast Health Department / Radiation will be purchasing a new Tomosynthesis mammography machine for their Emerson Southside Campus.
Our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee did more than their usual outstanding job netting a record $ 98,000.00. These proceeds were divided between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Beaches. At Baptist, we are creating an endowment called SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment. Our $40,000 is being matched by Baptist Health Foundation and annual proceeds will be used at Baptist Medical Center Beaches for breast cancer research, equipment, treatment and patient programs. At Mayo Clinic, we continue our funding of Dr. Al Copland’s research with a $60,000.00 grant to help find a cure for triple negative breast cancer. Currently, there is no treatment, so we are both hopeful and pleased to be involved. Through December 31, 2013, our grants totals exceed $ 3,900,000.00. Planning has begun for 2014.
The golf got off to a slow start due to changes in the Development Department at Shands. We finally got things into gear in July and we had a great event….net of $102,000.00. This money was granted to the Breast Health Department and will be used to upgrade both equipment and facilities. Our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee did their usual outstanding job netting a record $ 78,000.00.
These proceeds were divided between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Beaches. Baptist is using the funds to help their underserved population with breast cancer treatment and services. At Mayo Clinic, we funded a new research study with Dr. Al Copland to help find a cure for triple negative breast cancer. Currently, there is not a treatment, so we are both hopeful and pleased to be involved. Through December 31, 2012, our grants totals exceed $ 3,690,000.00.
Planning has begun for 2013. We hope to see you at one of our events. The schedule is posted on our web-page at www.the-rita-foundation.org. Thank you for your support.
This year was a transition from doing six special events to only two. Last year, The RITA Championships was taken over by Bill Gist, Jacksonville Golf & Country Club, the two Caring And Sharing Hope ( CASH ) 5 K Walk/Run events by Hands on Jacksonville.
The Black Tie Gala given to the Baptist Cancer Institute ran into organizational issues and unfortunately has ceased to be. Because of giving up control and management of these four events, our revenue was less than previous years, but my life now is not focused just on RITA.
The Lexus Champions for Charity golf event and the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament both were very successful. The golf tournament moved from Hidden Hills Country Club to San Jose Country Club. Perhaps after ten years, we needed to refresh the event. Everyone really liked the new venue….the course, the prizes, the dinner and auction. We netted $95,000 and there was an additional $5,000 that went to Shands directly….so the result was $100,000 to the breast cancer department.
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass had another wonderful Party and Auction, followed by three days of beautiful tennis weather. 144 doubles teams competed in seven categories and a good time was had by all. Pictures are on our web site…www.the-rita-foundation.org. The net of $70,000 was equally divided between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Medical Center Beaches. At Mayo, the grant was again given to Dr. Al Copland to help in his research. I would explain it, but I can’t and you may or may not understand it anyway. Suffice it to say that it is important to helping to find a cure for all cancers at the genetic level.
We continue to help Pink Sisters at Mayo with their cancer library project and again supported In the Pink at the Beaches to help women with lymphedema receive the proper compression garments that are an essential part of their therapy. As I write this, we have already scheduled our first meetings for the 2012 Lexus Champions for Charity Golf event and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass. Through December 31, 2011, our grants to local cancer programs have exceeded $ 3,500,000.
Thank you all for your continued support.
As this year began, it was difficult, given the poor economic conditions, to forecast our results. We were confident about our event participation, but the other component of our fund raising is corporate and individual contributions. For the most part, we were extremely pleased. Our Financial Summary shows Total Net Revenue at $283,638.02, $5,000 less than last year. Not included in the Net Revenue number were large contributions from golfer Jim Furyk and Lexus of Jacksonville….these came in right at year end and will be deposited in January and reflected in 2010’s results. All our events continue to do well in participation, most at capacity.
We did achieve three major milestones this year…..over $3,000,000 in total grants since we began, over $1,000,000 to the Baptist Health System and over $1,000,000 to Shands Jacksonville. You can see the year by year grants by going to the Recipient Programs tab.
In addition, we have made some strategic partnerships that will help to grow specific events and, hopefully, perpetuate them. At the end of last year, we began a partnership with Volunteer Jacksonville, now called Hands on Jacksonville, to grow our two 5 K Walk/Run events. We began to grow participation this year under the name ‘The Human Race’ and fully expect to double participation in 2010. All the net proceeds from both events will go to Hands on Jacksonville.
Our second partnership is with the Baptist Cancer Institute. For ten years, they have received the proceeds from the RITA Black Tie Gala. Now, they will be fully involved and desire to make this event their key fund raising effort for their cancer research program.
In addition, RITA continue to work with a group of nurses at the new Mayo Hospital, helping to establish a cancer library; grew our Lymphedema program by granting $25,000 to Shands Jacksonville and $5,000 to In the Pink to assist women purchase the compression garments needed for their proper treatment.
All things considered, another banner year for The RITA ( Research Is The Answer ) Foundation, Inc. We continue to donate 100% of the net proceeds from our events and all the money remains in Jacksonville. Thank you for your support in these difficult times. Know that each and every dollar is highly valued and helps benefit someone right here in Jacksonville.
The second printing of the ‘NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient’ was delayed until January, 2009. RITA continues to give this 84 page organizer free to local cancer programs. In December, we announced a new program for women on Medicaid with Lymphedema. Our partners in this underserved area are Lexus of Jacksonville, the Lymphedema Clinic, and the Players Championship.
Shands Jacksonville Breast Health Department received $250,000 in January. Scheduling issues delayed presentation from December, 2007. Another $250,000 was to be donated in December of this year, but will now take place in January, 2009. The Baptist Cancer Institute received $20,000 for research, Baptist Medical Center Beaches received $28,000 for their breast cancer programs, Mayo Clinic received $28,000 to fund a lymphedema study by Dr. Sarah McLaughlin. Lastly, the Women’s Center – Bosom Buddies Support Group received $26,000 which is half their annual operating budget. Our grant to Baptist Beaches represents their largest annual donation.
RITA has now donated over $2,800,000 to local programs….without any salary costs or overhead expenses. Our six events are already scheduled for 2009. In spite of the continued economic slowdown, we expect to surpass the $3,000,000.00 contribution level.
Wow, RITA has just finished our eleventh year…. who would have thought! Certainly, not me. Our major events continue to perform well. I am still trying to increase participation in our two 5 K Walk / Run events as they provide the best opportunity to dramatically increase income. Overall income was $468,306.52 less event expenses of $123,813.79 for a net of $344,492.73. We issued grants totaling $330,110.28 and are carrying over $14,382.45 for special projects plus our interest income. The “NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient” will be reprinted by mid 2008 and distributed at no cost to all interested cancer programs.
We will be donating $250,000 to UF & Shands Breast Health Center in December to help purchase state of the art digital mammography equipment. This represents the proceeds from our 2005 and 2006 Lexus Champions for Charity Golf events plus $20,000 from this year’s revenue. We donated $30,000 to both Baptist Medical Center Beaches and the Mayo Clinic. Part of the Mayo donation paid off our commitment made in late 2006 to fund a $25,000 digital mammography study for Dr. Elizabeth DePeri. Because of the excellent work by the Bosom Buddies support program of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville, we have donated $44,000 this year and plan major support again next year.
All in all, 2007 was another excellent year. I want to mention that Lexus of Jacksonville and their sister company, Brumos Motor Cars, Inc. have become a true partner with The RITA Foundation. They are the title sponsor of five of our six special events and their financial support exceeds six figures. They truly believe in both our Mission and the way we conduct our business……still no salary costs or overhead expenses.
Our total donations to date now exceed $2,500,000 and our goal is to reach $3,000,000. All the money remains in Jacksonville funding local cancer programs.
2006 marked our tenth year of raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. We continue our special event activity with six major events that additionally include two auctions. Our net revenue was $296,083.33 excluding $2,551.46 in interest earned. In addition, we have accounts receivable of $53,275.83 expected to be received in calendar 2007. There were really two significant achievements during the year. First and foremost, we were able to donate a LORAD Secureview DX digital mammography machine to the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. This unit was purchased directly from LORAD, a Hologic Company, the market leader in this new technology. Our donation, valued at $400,000 represents the largest single donation we have made. Secondly, we have been able to accumulate the money necessary to publish a “NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient”. Funds came from private fundraisers, special gifts, and Memorials. We anticipate actually have the NOTEBOOK printed by February, 2007 and distributed at no cost to all interested local cancer programs. To date, all have been extremely pleased with the NOTEBOOK and are looking forward to being able to include with other materials to all newly diagnosed patients. This project, along with the iPODS to Mayo and portable DVD players to Baptist, are examples of the special thought and effort given to provide the best long term use of any special funds received. Funds from our Black Tie Gala were used to purchase equipment for the Baptist Cancer Institute that helps technicians position patients for MRI scans. With 2006 cash grants of $176,439,18 and equipment donations of $380,000, our donations to local cancer programs now total in excess of $2,201,000.
The RITA Foundation, Inc. remains a volunteer organization donating 100 % of our proceeds from our events to local health care organizations. Proceeds are specifically designated to be used for breast cancer research and patient related programs. The goals are to fund medical research, increase awareness of the disease, and help in the prevention of breast cancer. Our funds have been used for establishing a breast cancer genetics screening program, many breast cancer prevention programs, assistance to patients who are underserved or uninsured, andfunding of several local breast cancer support organizations.
The year turned out to be challenging, yet successful. If you look at the Financial Summary, you will note the total grants are lower than last year. Last year we entered into several new partnerships. This year these partners managed three of our six annual events. Bill Gist at Jacksonville Golf & Country Club took over The RITA Championships Women’s Tennis Tournament. Participation grew with a new format, but no neighborhood fund raising activity took place so fund raising lagged. Plans for this year include moving the event from June to April and expanding the Players Party. All registration will be done online.
Hands on Jacksonville took control of the Spring and Fall 5 K Walk/Run events, which are now called ‘The Human Race’. Both agency and individual participation increased along with the proceeds. However, fund raising efforts by the non-profit agencies went directly to them without passing through our books. So while the amount raised was much higher than last year, our results appear to be lower. The good news is more money was raised by the non-profit community using our 5 K fund raising concept and platform.
The Baptist Cancer Institute had planned to use The RITA Black Tie Gala as their primary fund raising effort, but delays have pushed the event into 2011. The two events we actively managed, Lexus Champions for Charity Golf Tournament and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament, were both highly successful. The golf event netted $86,472 for Shands Jacksonville and SenioRITAs gave $31,500 to both Baptist Medical Center Beaches and The Mayo Clinic.
Five events have confirmed 2011 dates and planning is already underway. We expect to finalize the sixth event date shortly.
Grants to the Baptist Health System exceed $1,000,000 and the same is true with Shands Jacksonville. We are approaching $750,000 at Mayo Jacksonville. Our total grants now exceed $3,300,000 and will reach $3,500,000 by year’s end. RITA continues to donate 100% of our event net proceeds without any salary or overhead expense.
We look forward to growing our event contributions in our Mission fighting breast cancer in Jacksonville.
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment received $ 100,000 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of The Main Street America Group received $ $ 27,000 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of Regency Centers received $ 27,500 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of bestbet received $ 28,000 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of Pat and J. Tylee Wilson received $ 25,000 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of SunTrust Investment Services received $ 25,000 in matching funds
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass in Honor of Fields Auto Group received $ 25,000 in matching funds.
Total matching funds $ 257,700.
Mixed Rita with $ 25,000 in Baptist Matching funds.