Christian to join her father with Lifetime award

by Don Heinzman

Contributing writer

Robin Christian just knew her golf tournament committee could raise the $50,000 that would be matched by the Initiative Foundation and put the Three Rivers Foundation’s endowment over $1 million.

Robin Christian

While she says raising $48,000 with the tournament was a team effort, the foundation’s board of directors is recognizing her leadership and commitment by awarding her the highest honor of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

She and four new Hall of Fame Leadership award winners will be honored at the foundation’s fifth annual gala Oct. 25 at the Rogers Community Center. Tickets at $35 each can be obtained by calling Gala Chair Jessica Stockamp at 763-441-0020.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Christian. “I’m too young to be getting a Lifetime Award.” .

Christian, who has been involved mostly in a leadership role in 23 of the 25 golf tournaments, proudly says the golf events have contributed $550,000 to the foundation’s endowment.

At first, some foundation board members were skeptical when she said the tournament could raise the $50,000, because over the years it hadn’t produced more than $30,000.

She proved them wrong as she organized a high-powered committee with lots of connections. They not only sold regular sponsorships but secured new ones, proclaiming the message that the sponsorships would be matched by the Initiative Foundation.

“As we approached that $50,000 goal, the excitement and the momentum grew,” she said.

The rest is history, as the committee signed up a record 50 sponsors and 148 golfers.

“It wasn’t just me,” Robin stressed, as she named members of the committee: Michele Eder, Bob Deiley, Brad Richardson, Ellie and Chad Christian, Emily Vickerman, Denny Hutton, Chuck Christian, George Sanford, Roger Lamp and Bill Christian.

Once the committee knew the tournament would be successful, member Hutton suggested they organize another fundraiser they called A Concert on the Course. The idea was to attract young people to a concert on the driving range of the Elk River Golf Club and make them aware of the foundation.

Christian and Eder co-chaired that successful event with a committee that pre-sold 500 tickets. The concert on a cold, windy night attracted 300 mostly young adults.

Golf Professional Chris Singer was a big help.

Christian is excited by the energy and commitment of the foundation’s board of directors. She is serving her second three-year term and plans to apply for another three-year term. “There are wonderful people on the board and it’s just fun to be a part of it,” she said, noting how the foundation awards scholarships and grants from the endowment’s proceeds each year.

A resident of Otsego, Christian is the office manager for Christian Builders. She has a daughter, Alex, who will be employed in Australia for a year and a son, Jack, who is a student at St. Cloud State University.

As for the award, Robin says it’s very meaningful. “It’s mind-blowing to think you’ve been involved in the same project for 25 years. I appreciate it because I respect the people on the board.” Reminded that her father, Chuck, also has received the same Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin said it feels really good to be in the same league with him.

“I’ve been fortunate to go out on sponsorship calls with my dad …  Those were fun times. He showed me not to be fearful to ask. They might not always say yes, but they might try to give in a different way. Being in the same league with my dad is hard to swallow, because he’s done it for so long. On the other hand it feels good.”