2016 Zak!Charity Open Brings a Passing of the Torch
Change is inevitable, and after 17 years, change finally came to the Zak!Charity Open when Irv Zakheim, founder of the event, officially passed the torch for the Zak!Charity Open over to the Rypien Foundation following the close of the 2016 event.
“I am continually honored and humbled by how big the Zak!Charity Open has become and how much we’ve been able to do to help kids in this community throughout the last 17 years,” said Irv Zakheim, founder of the event. “Without the unbelievable support and generosity from our sponsors, our volunteers, and the amazing people who organized this event we’d never have been able to continue it for as long as we have. But as hard as it is to let go, the time has come for us to pass the torch.”
Established in 1999 as a way to help raise money for local children in need, the Zak!Charity Open has become one of the premier charity events in the Inland Northwest. It has raised more than $5.7 million for local children’s charities including the Children’s Miracle Network, YWCA of Spokane Child and Youth Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County, and the Rypien Foundation. The impacts of these efforts can be felt throughout the community in projects that the Zak!Charity Open helped to fund including the Children’s Hospital Cinema, Open Air Terrace, and Rypien Children’s Emergency Center at Providence Sacred Heart.
“I’m so incredibly proud of all that we’ve been able to accomplish,” Zakheim said. “It’s incredibly hard for those of us who have poured our hearts and souls into this event to step back when we know there’s still so much that still needs to be done for these kids, but it’s time. It’s just time.”
On July 17, in front of a crowd of supporters during the 2016 Summer Celebration Dinner & Auction at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Zakheim announced that he was handing the reins (or the football as it was) over to Mark Rypien, Super Bowl MVP and founder of the Rypien Foundation.
“We have been working with Mark and the Rypien Foundation for more than a dozen years, and there’s no organization better suited to take over leadership of this event and continue to grow and develop it so it can help bring hope to even more children,” Zakheim said. “I’m so grateful for the people I’ve had an opportunity to get to know as a result of the Zak!Charity Open. Aside from my family, this event has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I can’t begin to express the depth of my gratitude to all the people who made this amazing journey possible.”
Watch our 2015 Thank You PSA produced by North by Northwest