Rockford Cosmopolitan Club: Tee Up for a Good Cause with the Cosmos

The organization’s members, dedicated to fighting diabetes and helping local charities, know that one of the best ways to raise green is to hit the green, with their annual Golf Classic.

The Rockford Cosmopolitan Club’s annual golf outing fills two local country clubs as it helps to raise money for charitable causes. This year’s outing is Friday, Aug. 12. (Brian Thomas Photography photo)

The whole point of a fundraiser is to have fun, right?

The Rockford Cosmopolitan Club is ready to do just that during its annual golf fundraiser on Friday, Aug. 12, at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Country Club and Forest Hills Country Club, in Rockford.

Each course has a capacity of 144 golfers, says Greg Lundquist, golf outing event chair for the Cosmos Club. With the additional attendees who come just for the dinner, he expects to see roughly 325 people in attendance.

“We’re very blessed in the sense we have a large following with the club that enjoys our golf outing,” Lundquist says. “With our size, scope and reach, to have two courses filled on a Friday in the middle of summer is a testament to the work that club president Chris Zion and the existing and previous Cosmos board members have done to make the Rockford Cosmo the premier group in the area.”

In 2020, the club’s golf outing – plus its other major annual fundraisers – brought in $56,000, despite COVID-19 restrictions, Zion says.

This year, the Hard Rock Casino Rockford is joining the fun as a platinum sponsor. With the added benefit of a big-name sponsor, the club expects to have another record fundraising year.

“The Hard Rock Casino and ROCK’N Vodka of Rockford are our co-premier sponsors. The Hard Rock was instrumental in bringing along ROCK’N Vodka,” Lundquist says. “So, to have them see what we’re doing within the community and want to be the platinum sponsor tells us that we’re doing the right work.”

Geno Iafrate, president of Rockford Casino – A Hard Rock Opening Act, says it’s all about community.

“In addition to making our casino a great place to work and play, we’re committed to making our community a great place to live,” he says. “By partnering with and supporting amazing local organizations and events such as the Cosmopolitan Club’s annual golf outing, we can help fulfill that commitment.”

From a golfer’s perspective, you can’t beat the deal you get by golfing with the Cosmos Club, says Zion.

“For the $160 a golfer donates, they get golf at the course, an open driving range, lunch, dinner, drinks, golf balls and golf towels, a T-shirt and opportunities to win raffle prizes like TVs and refrigerators,” Zion says.

Despite the fun, the crux is to give back to the community.

Rockford has the largest chapter in the entire international Cosmopolitan organization, with 214 members, Zion says. Last year, the club raised $103,500 through various efforts.

“That money pretty much all stays here,” he says.

A perfect example is the $600,000 the club raised for Crusader Community Health in the past nearly 30 years.

“We’re focused on fighting diabetes as an international organization,” Zion says. “Locally, the money we raise to fight diabetes is given to Crusader Community Health. It completely funds the diabetes outreach program each year for Crusader.”

The Crusader Clinic Cosmopolitan Diabetes Program actively reaches out to the homeless – often utilizing a van purchased by the Cosmos – to offer diabetes test strips, testing devices and ongoing health education.

Zion, who is Type 2 diabetic, lauds Crusader Community Health but says his appreciation goes beyond typical health care.

“Having gotten to know Crusader Community Health and who they are as an entity is really what inspires me,” he says. “I see what they do with the community in terms of health care, with little government interference. Our local hospitals offer incredible care, but it’s a much more personal touch at Crusader.”

To learn more or sign up, visit birdease.com/rfdcosmo.