Advocates benefactor praises benefits of corporate giving
by Matt Shinall
Sep 23, 2010 | 1901 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The final table of players vie for the win at the 2009 Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament hosted by Advocates for Children. Elizabeth Cheshire/Special
The final table of players vie for the win at the 2009 Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament hosted by Advocates for Children. Elizabeth Cheshire/Special
"Are you all in for kids?" is the question posed by Advocates for Children, a Bartow County nonprofit serving local families, as they prepare for their second annual Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament.

Slated for Saturday, Oct. 2, the event hopes to bring in funds for the organization's various programs, including mentoring, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Children's Advocacy Center and Flowering Branch Children's Center.

Touted as the lead sponsor for both years of the tournament, Red Top Auto Auction has taken extra measures to ensure the event's success by opting to host the tournament in-house.

"This year, we're actually hosting the tournament at the auction. Last year it was at the Hilton and this year we decided to cut costs and let them have it here at the Red Top Auto Auction for free," Sanford said. "We love being involved with those guys. It's a great, great charity. We keep everything local. We don't really donate money to national charities or get involved in any other organizations other than the Advocates so that we can focus all our efforts on them."

The informal adoption by Red Top Auto Auction to consciously focus efforts goes beyond this singular event and even beyond monetary donation. With an alternative look at lending a hand, Red Top Auto Auction has added a Flowering Branch resident to their regular staff, aiding in financial means as well as tangible work experience.

"It's just real-life work experience. It's a real job with real responsibilities and it teaches them the importance of being here on time and being productive while they're here and I think it teaches them the value of earning a dollar because they're earning their own money," said Cory Sanford, Red Top Auto Auction general manager, adding that the young man has excelled in his job and grown during his employment. "He's incredible, he's a great kid. He takes it very seriously, he's on time, he works hard while he's here. I think it's been a good influence on him both socially and economically. Again, I think it's teaching him the value of a dollar but I also feel like he's getting some real world experience. And in the social aspect, he's around a lot of our employees and around a lot of our customers and it's teaching him how to interact with those people in an appropriate manner."

Sanford emphasized the importance for local businesses to give locally by addressing the immediacy of the needs and the size of national nonprofits.

"If you're sending your money to a national charity, they have massive infrastructures that that funding has to support just to get the money out to who needs it. Whereas here the infrastructures are small, the money gets to where it needs to go immediately," he said.

For Sanford, his own family is the inspiration behind their corporate policies for giving. It is children that inspire him to give and their plight hits close to home.

"I have two daughters and just going over there to Advocates and seeing those kids -- I'm sympathetic to their needs and I just want them to experience as much normalcy as they possibly can. It's just a great organization that is focused on taking care of these children," Sanford said. "I've been so blessed with a healthy and happy family and a wonderful business here in Cartersville. I feel it is an obligation and a privilege to share those blessings with other people around me. It's our civic duty to hire those kids, teach them real-life experience and teach them the basics to get out there and do it on their own."

The Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament will take place in the auction bays at their Cartersville facility at 444 Joe Frank Harris Parkway. Registration begins at noon and cards will be dealt at 1 p.m. Tournament participation begins at $100, including playing chips, food, drinks, a goodie bag and raffle entry.

Prizes include a weekend stay for two at Imperial Palace Biloxi travel included with allowances for food and spa treatments; a one-night stay at Barnsley Gardens Resort with a round of golf for four; a diamond and gold necklace from Cartersville Jewelry Exchange; and an "Ultimate Cartersville" package, including gift certificates, museum passes, golf and more.

"The work done to benefit children and families by Advocates' many programs is astounding," said Executive Director Patty Eagar in a press release. "It's hard work, often thankless, but so critical if these kids are going to have half a chance at living normal fulfilling lives. Enjoying an afternoon of poker, with all the proceeds going to prevent child abuse, and help its victims, is an easy way to help. As I always say, 'doing good feels good.' So go 'all in' for our kids."

According to Karen White, Advocates Development Director, last year's tournament netted approximately $10,000. Hopes are for this year's event to match the previous year's total.

"We had an excellent turnout for our first event in 2009 and knew people would be excited to return again this year. The tournament gives participants a chance to play a game they enjoy while supporting a cause that is important to them. The event also provides a great alternative for people who love a reason to get out and have some fun in a laid back atmosphere," White said.

To register visit or contact Advocates for Children at 770-387-1143 or e-mail Day-of registration will be allowed if space permits.