In the fall of 1969, Joseph Pinter, Sr. who was then appointed Crusade Chairman for the American Cancer Society of Suffolk County, contacted Ed Long and Jim Tsunis to see if monies could be raised through golf for the American Cancer Society. They looked favorably upon this idea and they in turn recruited Whitey Ford and Bill Conway, who were instrumental in obtaining celebrities in the field of sports. The Tournament Of Stars, as the foundation event was called, was played at Southward Ho Country Club in Bay Shore on September 18, 1970. That first golf tournament netted $9,000, which was donated to the American Cancer Society.
Our tournament has grown over the years and blossomed into a major fund raiser with donations totaling over $4,000,000 to such organizations as American Cancer Society, The Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, P.A.L., Long Island Cares, Madonna Heights Services, St. Joseph’s College, Catholic Charities, Hospice of the South Shore, American Lung Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Stony Brook Burn Center and many other organizations.
Over the years, we have had the pleasure of having many luminaries from the world of sports participate as golfers in our tournament. Each year our amateur golfers have the opportunity to play with such well known personalities as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Ralph Kiner.
In 1990, the Long Island Charities Foundation honored the 1980 Stanley Cup Champions, Long Island’s very own New York Islanders. In addition to being an outstanding hockey team, many of the players were and continue to be actively involved in community and charitable affairs. It was a fitting tribute that this Long Island team be honored.
Each year after a fun-filled day of golf, all celebrities, golfers and their guests are wined, dined and entertained at a wonderful dinner party. Show business personalities such a Bob Hope, Foster Brooks, Frankie Avalon, Joey Heatherton, Tom Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Vale, Telly Savalas, Harry Chapin and Pearl Bailey have appeared before an always appreciative audience.
Another tradition which has been followed throughout the years is honoring an outstanding Long Islander for his/her accomplishments and recognizing their charitable efforts. Some of those so honored include George Morton Levy, Perry Duryea, George Babcock, John E. “Buddy” Long , Robert Entenmann, Mario Posillico, Walter H. “Bud” Miller, Paul Townsend, Harry Chapin, Martha Entenmann, Whitey Ford, Ed Westfall, Joe Pinter Sr., James Smith, Clare Rose, James J. Duffy, Xenophon P. Damianos, M.D. Robert F. Smith, William Tyree, Morton S. Bouchard Jr., Harold J. “Hap” Boening, Jim Tsunis and our own Edwin R. Long.
As usual, an impressive array of the world’s most talented sports celebrities have played without pay so many less fortunate neighbors can benefit from the collective efforts of everyone involved in our Charity Classic.
We are truly grateful for the generosity and we sincerely thank all who give so generously to this wonderful event. It is because of this unselfish giving that we have been able to distribute more than $4,000,000 throughout the Long Island community. The Long Island Charities Foundation prides itself with the fact that its members are 100% volunteers.