I have a dear colleague and mentor named Tom Krummel. He is the former Chair of Surgery at Stanford and the founder and co-director of the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. Tom is truly one of the most energetic, entrepreneurial and generous people I have ever met. A number of years back he gave me some great advice: "When opportunity comes along, never say no."
Let me take you back to June of 2018 where I heeded that advice and it paid off. Cars Curing Kids was about to become an independent 501(c)(3). For various reasons, we were forced to sever our umbilical cord of support from the University of Wisconsin Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Foundation in order to serve our mission. We were starting to see some early success with one of our key recurring events: Cars and Coffee. However, we had the daunting task of resurrecting our Cruise event which had been shelved the previous year due to issues beyond our control. In short, it was a tense time for me and our board. We also had several senior members step away, and I was missing their leadership terribly. In those days it felt like we were live, on a high wire, without a net.
So, imagine my response when one of my board members enthusiastically brought a new, potentially big, but yet undefined opportunity with one of the major indoor water park resorts in Wisconsin: Chula Vista Resort.
In that moment, I channeled my inner Tom Krummel and answered, "Jack, that sounds really exciting! Can we meet with them?"
The back story of course is more interesting.
Jack, as the former Program Director of Hospitality at Madison College (MATC), worked closely with the Culinary Arts Program and was responsible for supplying chefs to the resorts in the water park capital of the world, the Wisconsin Dells.
Jack found himself in May 2018 at an event with none other than Mike Kaminski, owner, operator and serial big thinker of Chula Vista Resort. Mike was complaining about how a rival resort had just hosted an event that raised an enormous sum of money for a charity and wondered aloud, "Why the heck can't I have an event like that here at Chula Vista?"
The next words out of his mouth were, "So Jack, now that you are retired what are you doing with your free time?"
Not one to miss an opportunity to talk about Cars Curing Kids, Jack jumped right in.
And here we are now in March of 2019 in a wonderful place simply because we didn't say no.
We have created a new separate 501(c)(3) called Kids Health Vista. We have a terrific board. We have a spectacular logo. We have a mission: Funding initiatives to improve kids' health throughout under-served communities. And we have a huge event coming up on September 7th and 8th.
Drum roll please...
We will be hosting a 2-day event at the historic Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells which will include:
Saturday arrival of guests, afternoon countryside cruises through the Dells and surrounding area, a strolling dinner, silent and live auction with MC Jackson Jones from Madison's Hometown Country Q106 FM.
Sunday morning will see a golf outing with Wisconsin sports celebrities on Chula Vista's scenic Cold Water Canyon Golf Course. For those not interested in golf, the chef at Chula Vista will host a cooking class and there will be a boat tour of the Dells as well.
As with Cars Curing Kids, we will cover our expenses and everything else will go to fund projects that will achieve our mission. In other words, we are not building a nest egg or a war chest.
If you are interested in purchasing a table for this event, organizing a foursome for the golf outing, sponsoring the event, or just volunteering, please let us know.
As I mentioned previously, Mike Kaminski is a serial BIG THINKER. In addition to funding individual grants, look for us to make an announcement to fund a very big, hairy, audacious initiative to help kids throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Getting back to my friend and mentor Tom Krummel, I am really glad I took his advice and didn't say "no."
We can't wait!