In late 1999, a few people got together and thought up the idea of a benefit golf tournament. We wanted to do something good, something simple, and something to genuinely help people in need. The V-Foundation seemed like the perfect charity to donate to. Named after the legendary Coach Jim Valvano, the organization has its own team of doctors who do nothing but research a cure for cancer of all kinds. The V-Foundation has an inspiring motto that fits the spirit of 18 FORE Life as well; “Don’t Ever Give Up!”
In our “rookie” year, we intended to send all of the money we raised to the V-Foundation. After playing in the golf tournament, a local sponsor asked if we kept any money local. That great question sparked a terrific idea and turned 18 FORE Life into something more than just a simple fundraiser for the V-Foundation. From that day forward, we would still support the V-Foundation, but we would keep the majority of our earnings and give them away locally to families battling cancer in the form of what we call “love offerings”. These love offerings, along with a note of hope, love, and encouragement not only the inspiration to the families that receive them, but also provide the motivation to an army of volunteers who are constantly working to do more.
18 FORE Life
Our mission statement is this: 18 FORE Life will get as many people together as possible to play golf and celebrate the gift of life by helping others in need, raising as much money as possible. Jake Barge, Kip Musgrave, my brother, Ben, and I came up with the name and settled on it immediately. Our charity will always be called 18 FORE Life, but now we will always be much more than a golf tournament. In 2005, we began hosting a weekend of good times and great FUNdraising. The festivities are called The Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life Charity Golf Event.
As of August 2017, we have sent over $20,000.00 to the V-Foundation and over $2.1 MILLION to families all over southeast Missouri and beyond. Our bowling event, 10 Pins For Ben, has raised over $200,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in only five years. We are sure that this is only the beginning of the good things that we are going to accomplish through 18 FORE Life.