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Published July 16 2013

Cando natives raise money for hometown by sponsoring golf tournament in Fargo

FARGO – When people from a town with a name like Cando get together, there’s no telling what they can accomplish.

With organizers of the Fargo-based Impact Cando Connection Fund, that meant raising more than $100,000 to benefit Cando and Towner County.

The fund, which was established in 2008, topped that mark earlier this month, said advisory board member and co-founder Cindy Eggl.

The effort grew out of discussions Eggl and her sister, Jill Eggl, had with fellow Cando native Rusty Papachek, former general manager of West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo.

“Rusty and Jill and I had seen each other out at the golf course, and we kept on thinking, there’s so many people from Cando that are here in Fargo, maybe we should try to do a little get-together, you know, like a mini-reunion so to speak,” Cindy Eggl said.

They discussed sponsoring a golf tournament and donating proceeds to their home community, which is about 200 miles northwest of Fargo. They established the Cando Connection Fund, with the tournament kicking things off.

On July 27 of this year, they’ll sponsor their sixth golf tournament. Organizers alternate the event between the Cando Golf Club and the Rose Creek Golf Course in Fargo, where the event is being held this year.

“There are so many people that grew up in Cando and love Cando. … It was just like a Mayberry town almost,” said Jill Eggl, who owns Jill Eggl Lighting Design Studio. “And so what we’re trying to do is reach out and say, ‘Hey, remember where you grew up and had such a great upbringing and have that warm spot in your heart, you know, maybe you want to give back some of the money you have now and return it to your hometown.’ ”

The fund has awarded more than $68,400 in grants to Cando and Towner County nonprofit organizations. The golf tournament is just part of the fundraising effort; gifts are accepted throughout the year.

Among the grant recipients is the Cando Area Food Pantry, which received $1,000. The gift was a matching grant, meaning the fund would match what the organization raised up to $1,000. Cindy Eggl got a call from a pastor in the area on Christmas Eve 2011.

“She said, ‘We have raised $3,899, not counting your thousand dollar match,’” Eggl said.

Ramsey National Bank, which has a branch in Cando, also offered matching funds for donations benefiting the food pantry.

The Impact Cando Connection Fund has also awarded grants to support the arts council, the library, the Audi Theatre, the Towner County Medical Center and more.

The fund has a balance, so money is still available for granting.

“We have money to give away,” said Papachek, who is senior vice president of development for Brandt Development in Fargo.

Pat Traynor is executive director of the Impact Foundation, the organization under which Cando Connection has its nonprofit status.

“They’re full of energy, and they’re using it to propel good.” Traynor said of the three Cando Connection founders. “I consider them charitable champions.”

He sees what they’re doing as a model for what other communities can do.

Cindy Eggl, who had a long career in the nonprofit and fundraising sector, continues to work with the organization even as she recovers from breast cancer. She said the work she does with the Cando Connection has helped her keep going through that battle.

“The tremendous support that I got from the Cando community going through this thing was just unbelievable, unbelievable,” she said. “The prayers and the cards and calls and the emails. I mean, there’s no doubt in my mind that this work’s going to continue for as long as I’m physically able to do it.”

If you go

What: Impact Cando Connection Golf Tournament 2013

When: July 27: 10:30 a.m. registration, tee times begin at 11 a.m.; social hour/dinner 5 p.m.; Individuals do not have to golf to register for the dinner.

Where: 2013 Rose Creek Golf Course, 1500 Rose Creek Parkway, Fargo

Info: Go online to candoconnection.com/2013golftournament.html for tournament information and to download an entry form. Registration deadline for the golf tournament is Saturday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734