Many people think that summer is about golf.  On June 27, it was about something more.

Steve Smith is a celebrated athlete for his career on and off the basketball court.  From his start as a Michigan State Spartan through 14 years with the NBA and now as a game commentator, Smith is a basketball legend.  But Steve Smith’s professional fame is matched and surpassed by his life work and commitment to education through the Steve Smith Charitable Fund.
In honor of that commitment, the West Michigan Spartans annually hosts the Steve Smith Charity Challenge Golf Outing at Egypt Valley Country Club.
Held this past Monday, the outing brought together over 400 MSU alumni and friends for a spectacular day of golf and philanthropy.  The perfect Michigan summer day started with a sea of green, as Spartan fans enjoyed a round of golf on Egypt Valley’s championship course.  After golfing, guests gathered on the front lawn for dinner and an auction.  This year included three special guest speakers.  MSU Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, shared the secret to MSU’s success: the family they form and that lasts long after graduation.  Baseball superstar Kirk Gibson shared his love of MSU and the importance of community.  And, of course, the evening ended with Steve Smith himself, who spoke about the power of education

IMG_0599 %282%29-2One of the programs supported by this event is the annual MSU Game and Tailgate for Grand Rapids Public Schools elementary students.  On October 8, 40+ students from four GRPS elementary schools (160 students total!) will experience a day like no other—a day on the campus of Michigan State University!  The students will travel to East Lansing in style on one of four Dean Trailways coach busses.  While on campus, the students and chaperones will attend a tailgate party specially designed for them with food, activities and performances and will meet special guests like the MSU cheerleaders and Coach Izzo.  After the tailgate, students walk to Spartan Stadium to watch MSU play the BYU Cougars.  For many of our students, this trip is their first visit to a college campus and makes a lifelong impression.On Monday evening, the West Michigan Spartans raised $20,000 for the MSU Game and Tailgate for GRPS on October 8.  Thank you to our Bus Sponsors: Peter and Joan Secchia, Bruce Essex of Port City Group, baseball great Kirk Gibson, and Don VanDine of Wells Fargo.  A special thank you to Kellie Dean and Dean Transportation for providing the busses!

Since its start a decade ago, the golf outing alone has raised over $600,000 for MSU sponsored programs and scholarships.  In total, the West Michigan Spartans donate approximately $200,000 each year to MSU and to the Student Advancement Foundation in support of the students in GRPS.


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