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Rooted: Dennis Murphy's golf tournament idea results in hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to local hospital

'I told them I was hoping to raise $5,000 and we ended up raising $7,500 at the golf tournament, which was supposed to just be a one and done deal'

Rooted is all about the people and places that make us proud to call our community home. 


For Dennis Muphy, organizing the Farquhar Annual Charity Golf Tournament every year is about more than having people head out to Osprey Links for a fun afternoon of 18 holes. For Murphy, and his family, it is about giving back. 

“When my daughter Caitlyn was born, she had to undergo a 14-hour open heart surgery and so we always felt that if we had the opportunity to give back, then we would,” says Murphy.  

“When we ended up getting her to Ottawa, one of the things that was said to us was that her diagnosis was spot on which was surprising due to the lack of equipment that smaller hospitals have. That kind of stuck with me, the lack of equipment, and so that’s why we became adamant that we were going to do this for kids and do it so they can have the equipment they need.” 

It’s been almost 10 years since Murphy started organizing the event and it has raised more than $200,000 for the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation (NBRHCF). 

However, the reason it all started was for a separate cause.  

“At Farquhar Chrysler we had this incredible individual working for us named Dave Innes, who won a silver medal at the Invictus Games,” says Murphy.  

“He had decided that he was going to handcycle from Niagara Falls to Toronto in the Enbridge Ride for Cancer. At that point, he was going around asking for some sponsorships and I just thought it was ridiculous that he was needing sponsorships in what would be the first, and to date, the only handcycle ride of that race.”  

Murphy says he approached the higher-ups at Farquhar and asked if he could organize a golf tournament using the company name with all the proceeds going toward Dave Innes and his charity.  

“I told them I was hoping to raise $5,000 and we ended up raising $7,500 at the golf tournament, which was supposed to just be a one and done deal,” says Murphy. 

“Following the tournament, I was approached by both Steve and Ryan Farquhar and they asked if I thought we could keep this going. I went home and talked about it with my wife Elizabeth and my daughter Caitlyn. We talked it over and came to the conclusion that we could do it if I was the one who got to pick the charity.” 

Murphy says he knew he wanted the proceeds to go to something that would stay local and have something to do with kids, but “we were still having a really hard time picking a charity because there are so many organizations in need and so it really got tough to narrow it down. But I had a mentor who told me that I should have a meeting with the folks that run the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation,” says Murphy.  

The Murphy family met with Tammy Morison, President of the NBRHCF and her crew and Murphy says, “We just hit it off and blended like we had always been a team.”  

“The people at the North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation are amazing to work with and there have been other people who have approached me about doing some charitable work and I tell them to go see the folks there because they have a lot of good ideas and a lot of areas of need.” 

Morison says, “The Murphy family; Dennis, Liz and their daughter Caitlyn are passionate about ensuring babies and children have access to the best possible care, close to home. Throughout the past eight years they have rallied our community together to support advanced medical equipment needs for our youngest patients, such as monitors, pumps and isolettes. Raising more than $200,000 they are having an incredible impact on care.” 

Murphy says there is a lot of work that goes into organizing the tournament every year. From deciding what equipment the funds raised will purchase, to knocking on doors looking for sponsorships, to planning out the event and registering teams.  

He says, “It’s great to have the company that you work for back you 100 per cent as you’re planning this.”  

“Farquhar Chrysler has been completely supportive of this from day one and that really makes this tournament a Farquhar Chrysler team event. As well, Elizabeth and Caitlyn have helped me the most over the years with late nights of organizing tee sheets and typing up letters and everything else that goes along with it. Not that I haven’t had help from many other people as well, but my wife and my daughter have been the two biggest players in all of this.” 

Murphy says his wife and daughter work with the NBRHCF on developing a letter every year to express what the goals are, before Murphy hand deliver as many letters as he can. 

“I always feel like face-to-face business is better than sending an email, although we do have out of town businesses that sponsor the tournament as well,” he says. 

“The business community in North Bay is also very generous. When I was knocking on doors in the beginning, I really felt like I was pestering people and they would think ‘oh great Dennis is coming back again,’ but a local businessman told me ‘don’t ever feel that way because we need to see people who are hoping to do something good.’ We are very fortunate where we live to have the generosity that we do. In fact one year I had 54 sponsors for an 18-hole tournament! So, I was sticking one sign on the tee box and another on the green. That just shows you how much people are willing to donate to a good cause.” 

Murphy says he’s been told it has grown into one of the best annual tournaments in North Bay. 

“We really try to make it as big of a bang for your buck as possible. You get a sleeve of balls to play your round with, as well as 18 holes with a cart at Osprey Links. You get a steak dinner and a token thank you prize of approximately $40 and that’s all for a $120 entry fee. Plus, we do a silent auction where the prizes are showcased in the clubhouse throughout the week leading up to the tournament and on the day of the tournament, we do a live auction as well for some of the bigger items.” 

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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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