Golf Tournament Raises Money For Children’s Institute And Autism


“While many think individuals with autism are limited, we know never to underestimate the talent, dedication and passion they possess,” said Diane Berry, director of Development at The Children’s Institute (TCI) in Verona. “They inspire us with their incredible abilities and talents everyday.”

TCI plans to host its fifth annual Fore the Kids Golf Tournament at the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange on Tues., Oct. 6. The Fore The Kids Golf tournament started in 2010, after the founder of the tournament, Michael Conley’s daughter of Mendham attended TCI; he gathered some of his personal and professional contacts to get the tournament off the ground and running.


Diane Berry, TCI’s director of Development has very high hopes for this year’s event. According to Berry, the tournament has raised more than $400,000 in the past four years.


TCI opened its doors in 1963 as a state-approved school for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities, including autism. Through this tournament, TCI is able to raise money to benefit the children who attend the school while also raising money for the adults of The Center of Independence.


“We are thankful to have some of the greatest parents out there!” Berry said. “When Michael invites his contacts to attend, he always lets them know that his daughter attends the school and has grown tremendously in the time she has been there.”


“Her academic and life skills have greatly improved, and as is the case with all students at TCI, she is preparing for life as a productive adult,” she added.


Each year the tournament brings about 100 to 110 golfers to participate, and for those who do not golf, TCI hosts an additional dinner with live and silent auctions for guests who want to participate in the event and still support the school. This year the dinner will have speaker Jim Axelrod, CBS News National Correspondent and reporter. The cost for the dinner is $150.


Registration with a breakfast buffet will begin at 9 a.m. and the golfers will tee off at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start. TCI’s film program will also be attending the event filming shots of all the golfers at the event. The shots will be edited into a video and shown at the end of the event.
“We couldn’t be successful without our golf committee!” Berry said. “The chairs of the committee, Jim Hunter and Tom Releford, along with the rest of the committee play a huge role in planning the event. They work tirelessly as volunteers to put it all together. The overwhelming support of local businesses has been terrific and we thank everyone so much.”


TCI hopes that in the tournament’s fifth year they will be able to raise more than $110,000 for the school and to educate the community about autism and about the services that TCI provides.


“Students and adults can be impacted by their autism in different ways,” Berry said. “Autism can have a tremendous effect on social, life and vocational skills, which are areas that we focus on within TCI. With the prevalence of autism being one in 45 children in New Jersey, The Children’s Institute and our adult program, The Center for Independence, strive to meet the growing need of individuals with autism in our community.”


In addition to the annual Fore the Kids Golf Tournament, TCI will also host two other fundraising events throughout the year. The annual Walk for a Lifetime is hosted every May and attracts around 1,000 TCI students, families and supporters and its Hall of Fame Dinner takes place in the late fall.


For more information regarding the 2015 Fore the Kids Golf Tournament and other upcoming events, contact Diane Berry, at 973-509-3050 ext. 237 or email her at To learn more about the programs and services offered at TCI, visit the TCI website at















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