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Mike Henderson, director of World Cup events for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, also sits on the board of directors for Friends of Animals Utah, and has organized a golf fundraiser for the organization. (Photo courtesy of Mike Henderson)
Mike Henderson, known as the director of World Cup events for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, wears another hat.

He's also on the board of directors for Friends of Animals Utah (FOA), a nonprofit organization that protects and rescues animals, as well as fostering awareness of animals' roles in people's lives.

One of Henderson's roles is to come up with ideas for fundraising, because it takes about $1 million to run FOA for one year.

"We don't just run the rehabilitation ranch in Browns Canyon and the Furburbia adoption center," Henderson said during an interview with The Park Record. "We also are involved in numerous projects including our education and outreach programs, kids summer camps and the Purple Paw Project."

That project helps people who are in domestic violence situations take care of their pets.

"Up to 50 percent of victims in abusive situations won't leave because they don't want to leave their animals behind," Henderson said. "They won't leave because they don't want to leave the animal with the person who is the abuser.

"So, the Purple Paw Project allows Friends of Animals Utah to offer safe haven to the animal until the victim can figure out their legal and relationship situation," he said. "We will take that animal free of charge and look after it by making sure it has all its vaccinations, as well as providing it food and water and exercise until the victim is ready to have that animal back in their lives.


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One of the fundraisers Henderson came up with is the Fore Paws Golf Marathon that will be held June 15, at the Homestead Golf Course, and he is currently seeking participants who will agree to play 100 holes of golf that day.

"The Fore Paws event is very different from a traditional golf tournament fundraiser where you rent a golf course for a day and fill as many tee times up with people as you can," Henderson said.

In a regular fundraiser, people will pay $200 to $400, which is the donation to the charity and they play the round of golf and get a big dinner, cocktails and nice prizes, he said.

"In my experience, these types of events are fun, but you don't make very much money, because a lot of the money paid by people to enter the fundraiser usually goes to pay for the cost of the event," Henderson said. "Our concept of the golf fundraiser, on the other hand, is pure and simple."

The difference, Henderson said, is that he is trying to solicit 25 to 30 people who will become player-participant fundraisers and try to play the 100 holes of golf.

"Between now and June 15, the player-participants will go raise money in the communities through pledges and sponsors," Henderson said. "For example, if you sign up to be a player, you will then go into your own personal community of friends and family and tell them that you're going to play 100 holes of golf for Friends of Animal Utah."

Player-participants can raise money by the hole or they can solicit lump sums from their donors.

"For example, if someone gives a total of $50, that's great," Henderson said. "But other people can say, I'll pay $1 a hole. It doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, the people who pledge or sponsor you will get a tax-deductible receipt they can show to the tax man."

Another difference between the Fore Paws Golf Fundraiser and other golf tournaments is the size of the participant-players groups.

"We are looking at having two people on a hole at once," Henderson said. "We don't want too many players because there will be too many balls flying all over the place."

Also, there are a lot of rules and regulations that keep the event exciting and fun, he said.

"For example, you never look for a lost ball," Henderson explained. "If you hit one out of bounds and can't find it, you drop another one immediately.

"In addition, if you're three over par, you pick up the ball and go to the next hole," he said. "So, what you're playing is what we call speed golf."

Of course, it will be hard work for the participants in the summer sun.

"They'll play all day long, but we will make sure we hydrate and take care of the players," Henderson said. "We will provide food and sunscreen, because they are using up a lot of energy.

"We'll give them hot breakfast, a box lunch and lots of liquids, including a couple of cocktails at the end of the day," he said. "We ask that the participant arrive at the golf course before sunrise. After breakfast the participants will break off into partners and then assigned a specific starting hole."

Each golfer will be provided a cart and driver for the day, Henderson said.

"If golf isn't your game, but you want to participate, you can come out and volunteer," he said. "We need cart drivers and people to help with serving food to the participant fundraisers, but we will also ask the volunteer fundraisers to solicit some donations from their families and friends.

"This way, we'll have a two groups raising funds for the event, which will benefit Friends of Animals Utah," Henderson said. "And if businesses want to sponsor a hole, we'll make sure their logos are on display."

Once the fundraiser wraps up around 5 p.m., Henderson said anyone can come play a round of nine holes for free.

"We've got the course for the whole day, and if anyone wants to come and play, they can," he said. "They don't have to pay, but if they want to donate for a game, we won't stop them."

In fact, Henderson won't stop anyone from giving funds to FOA.

"If people want to donate, but can't participate, they can donate through our website, www.foautah.org ," he said.

Friends of Animals Utah will host its Fore Paws Golf Fundraiser n Saturday, June 15, at Homestead Golf Club, 700 N. Homestead Dr. in Midway. To become a participant player or volunteer, call Mike Henderson at (435) 640-8540 or email him at mike@foautah.org.