Providence Healthcare Foundation
Providence Healthcare Foundation

The Incredible Founders of Providence Golf Classic... 23 years of "making a difference!"

May 25, 2017

Three gentlemen with a dedication to a cause, decided to roll up their sleeves to make a difference, and have fun no matter what came their way.

How can we express our thanks and gratitude to the incredible founders of the Providence Golf Classic- Dusty Miklas, Bill Cooke and the late (great) Gus Arrigo? Together, they were pivotal in launching this annual golf tournament almost 23 years ago. At a time when plans were underway for a $22 million capital campaign to build the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence, our new long-term care home, these three gentlemen assumed the challenge like true champions! They were determined to raise the funds needed, and broaden Providence Healthcare’s profile across the city.

Planting the Seed

It all began in 1994 when a member of the Providence Healthcare Foundation staff connected with Gus Arrigo and planted the seed to create an exceptional golf event, unlike any other. Gus joined forces with his good friends, Dusty and Bill, and the Providence Golf Classic was born. They introduced a unique concept where golfers would pay for everything upfront, in advance of the event, and not have to reach into their pockets again. It really sold people! In fact, in its first year, the event raised an incredible $50,000 for Providence Healthcare!

Despite its very humble beginnings operating from Gus’s garage, they formed a small committee which included Sister Roberta Freeman, Father John Weber, and Tom Dawson. They connected with influential colleagues, family, friends and even NHL celebrities (such as Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich and Dick Duff), to put the ‘ball in motion’ and create an outstanding day of golf. In the tournament’s 5th year, Ken Shaw came on board and has been lending his support ever since. In fact, in 2009, we named the tournament after Ken and his wife, Nancy, to pay tribute to them for their deep support of Providence Healthcare and this tournament.

Breaking Records

For 21 years, the annual Providence Golf Classic consistently raised between $100,000 and $170,000, until its 22nd year, when a record-breaking $220,000 came in for Providence! It isn’t surprising that in 2017, we set our sights even higher with a goal of $250,000!

In its 22-year history, this sough-after tournament, now named The Ken and Nancy Shaw Providence Golf Classic, has successfully brought in almost $4 million, of which, more than $300,000 personally came from Gus, Dusty, and Bill. Their unwavering support has helped put Providence on the map in the city of Toronto and they did so with determination, charm, tenacity, and good humour.

Dusty still remains on the committee after all of these years, representing the tournament founders. Bill retired from the committee in 2012 and Gus Arrigo passed away in 2015. But his legacy continues on.

Help The Ken and Nancy Shaw Providence Golf Classic reach its milestone goal!

This year’s event hopes to raise $250,000 (net) for the urgent needs of Providence Healthcare. Being hosted by the prestigious St. George's Golf and Country Club, the tournament was immediately sold out. We still have availability for additional sponsors to contribute to our lofty goal, so if you are interested in being a part of this very special golf milestone, please visit our Providence Golf Classic page.

But don’t despair if you didn’t get a spot in the 2017 Providence Golf Classic. We have already created a 2018 “Reserved List”. We are returning to Coppinwood as the long-term home of our Providence Golf Classic from 2018-2022 (and likely beyond)!

“Where there is unity there is always victory.” Publilius Syrus