As a child, Benjamin Sater was a frequent patient of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, having suffered from a condition affecting the tendons in his fingers. When he learned the hospital operates solely on donations and that his treatment was free, he knew he wanted to do something to show his gratitude.
So in 2002 at age 11, Ben created “Kidswing,” an annual children’s charity golf tournament to raise money for hospital programs at Scottish Rite. Over the past seven years, “Kidswing” has become one of the hospital’s biggest fundraising events of the year.
This past May, Ben received recognition as one of five national high school recipients of the 2010 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, which honors students in grades 5-12 who have exhibited exceptional volunteer work.
As a national honoree, Ben received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for national recognition events, an award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for “Kidswing” and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a non-profit, charitable organization of his choice. Not surprisingly, Ben chose “Kidswing” as the recipient of his grant and will use the $5,000 award to help pay for college.
By late 2009, the annual tournament had raised more than $800,000 dollars for the hospital. Winning the Prudential Award, Ben says, helped him reach his ultimate goal – to raise $1 million by the time he went away to college. “Kidswing” hit the milestone earlier this month.
“Winning the award helped a lot,” said Ben. “After I came back from Washington, there was a lot of media attention and a lot of stories were written about the tournament. That attention was a big part in people taking notice and donating.”
“I don’t think we would’ve reached the million dollar goal without the media coverage,” said Ben.
This fall, Ben will begin his freshman year at Austin College, a private liberal arts school in Sherman, Texas. While he won’t be able to be oversee all development of “Kidswing” while away at college, Ben plans to be involved as much as possible in the preparation of the tournament by writing letters to recruit sponsors and players and making decisions regarding prizes, awards and contests.
And although he hasn’t determined what he wants to study in college –business, psychology and pre-med have all sparked his interest – Ben says he knows founding “Kidswing” has provided him with an invaluable experience he will draw from in the future.
“A nonprofit organization is similar to a business – [starting “Kidswing”] helped me in terms of gaining experience of running things,” said Ben. “And I have so many new friends and opportunities I would’ve never had if I’d never started “Kidswing”.”