NANAIMO — There will be dozens of charity golf tournaments around the mid-island this summer, but only one of them bears the name of a Nanaimo icon.
The first annual Tom Harris Charity Classic is set for June 15 at the Nanaimo Golf Club. Money raised will go into Harris’ community endowment fund at the Nanaimo Foundation, to be dispersed to a variety of community initiatives.
Tony Harris, Tom’s son, told NanaimoNewsNOW while the obvious goal is to raise money for deserving community causes, there’s a greater motivation behind the event.
“Towards the end of his life, dad was really focused on encouraging more people to think about how they want their legacies to be remembered,” Tony said. “We want to provide an opportunity to amplify dad’s spirit of giving and maybe encourage more people to think of themselves as philanthropists.”
The goal is to raise at least $100,000, money Tony said will be distributed as soon as possible based on immediate needs in the community. Funding will be guided by the Harris family, in line with Tom’s values, which Tony said included youth, healthcare and providing basic needs and services.
Tony, who followed his late father’s footsteps by recently joining the board of the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation, said assuming a community-focused mindset has been a “natural” fit.
“It feels like I’m doing dad’s work in a sense. He’s a part of me and I feel close to him when I get to hear people’s stories about him and in my own way amplify his legacy. It feels like the right thing to do and I enjoy it.”
Predictably, organizing an event connected to Tom Harris drew an immediate response from friends and associates.
“Honestly it’s overwhelming. People are so generous, talking about how their entire way of giving back to the community was inspired by dad and they want to do that work in his honour because of what he did.”
On Twitter: @domabassi