As a lead sponsor of the ALS Memorial Golf Tournament, Associated Bank donated $5,000 to the ALS Association St. Louis Chapter’s 19th annual outing. The event’s turnout was remarkable — with roughly 50 teams on the course.

Charles Cafazza, commercial real estate team leader, Associated Bank St. Louis, has played a huge role in helping Associated become the lead sponsor for the past three years. He worked to raise donations through family and friends.

Several years ago, one of his clients, who served on the ALS board, invited him to participate in a foursome golf team on behalf of Associated. The event welcomed avid and novice golfers, and he always enjoyed the large turnout. It’s a structured tournament for all levels of enthusiasts who want to support the cause.

“In 2009, my wife’s father, James L. Sanders, also known as “The Judge” passed away from ALS after a two year battle with the disease,” said Cafazza. “Since then, I have aspired to do something more. The tournament seemed like the perfect opportunity to give back by creating a sponsorship with Associated as the lead sponsor.”

In 2012, with the help of the regional leadership team, Associated gave a $2,500 donation to the event. That year, Cafazza challenged his family to match the donation so they could share Associated’s title. The Judge was an avid golfer at the Forest Park course during his lifetime, so his family and friends were more than willing to donate toward the cause. They even made a financial commitment that exceeded the bank by raising $7,500.

“It was obvious early on that we made a great team — Associated, my family and the ALS foundation. Since 2012, my family and Associated have committed to become an annual sponsor. I now serve on the board of the local ALS chapter and each year the family sponsorship group grows,” said Cafazza. “This year my friends and family raised $15,000 in memory of The Judge. Along with Associated, total donations reached $20,000 — nearly one-fifth of their total donations!”

“The ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter is thrilled that Associated and the family and friends of Judge James Sanders have joined forces to fulfill our mission toward a world without ALS,” said Maureen Baker-Hill, president and CEO of ALS St. Louis.

It has been 19 years since the Barber family started the ALS memorial golf tournament to pay tribute to Baker-Hill’s father, Wayne Barber Sr., and to give back to the ALS Association to support efforts for continued research and quality care services. With another successful tournament, they have raised over $1 million dollars since 2001.

“We are so thankful for Associated’s generosity in sharing the title sponsorship for the ALS Memorial Golf Tournament three years in a row. I am confident with their continued participation that our Chapter will continue to grow this tournament. On behalf of the board, staff and persons living with ALS, we thank everyone who supported this year’s event,” said Baker-Hill.