When Jan Hansen hosts her annual fundraising gala for Educate Tanzania, she welcomes guests to Hazeltine in two separate roles—as the President/CEO of the charity, and as a longtime member of Hazeltine. She's held the event on the first Friday after Memorial Day every year since she and her husband Steve co-founded Educate Tanzania in December of 2010. "And it's not only up to par," she says, "it exceeds expectations every year."
Hansen quickly credits Catering Sales Manager Jan Knudtson and the rest of the Hazeltine staff for the event's success. "I think that a well-planned event can almost make or break your organization in that that is your night to tell your story," she says, "and Jan Knudtson gets that. She's excellent in both the conceptual and detail, and it's the rare person that can do that level of detail with a smile on their face."
Hansen admits she enjoys hosting the event at her home club and working with familiar faces, yet it's the staff's attention to detail that really sells the venue. "When we host an event, everybody at Hazeltine is the face of Educate Tanzania."
She raves about the quality of the food, but also the care taken to get the right food to the right people. "Our guests come from everywhere - the East Metro and Wisconsin, but also Costa Rica and other nations - and some have dietary restrictions. Jan's gone so far that she will learn where that person is sitting in a room (that needs a special meal), and make sure it's delivered right to that person."
The Hansens have been social members since 2009, even though Jan isn't linked to the club's signature sport. "I don’t consider myself good enough to be able to say I’m a golfer," she says. "My husband is. But I find the members to be very grassroots, very down-home, and very open to other things besides golf."
"We actually live on the course," Jan explains. "There are a number of people in the neighborhood who are social members, and we still go over for meals. Our sons were caddies. We knew a lot of people who were at the club. So it seemed like the neighborly thing to do to become more involved."
It might also seem neighborly to host the event at her home club, but Jan says she's motivated by quality, not loyalty. "I've done my homework," she says. "We have options, but we choose Hazeltine each year because they do such a good job."
Jan says hosting the event at such a unique venue helps draw some guests. "I know for a fact that we have people come out just to see what Hazeltine looks like. But some people think that it’s such a nice place and think a majority of money must be going to the event, and that’s not true." She spends too much time trying to raise money to support Educate Tanzania's vision to waste any of it frivolously. "We try to make that really clear so that they know we have over 92% of our funds go to the programs in Africa."
And what about the future? When asked whether Educate Tanzania will be back at Hazeltine next year, Jan has an easy answer. "June 3rd, 2016. I just paid our deposit."
To learn more about Educate Tanzania, click here.
Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private golf club located in Chaska, Minn., about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The club opened in 1962 with a mission to build and maintain a golf course suitable for the conduct of national championships. Hazeltine is one of only two courses in the United States to have hosted the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and Ryder Cup. Hazeltine’s meeting and event space, golf shop and specified services in the learning center are open to the public. More information about becoming a member at Hazeltine is available at www.hazeltinenational.com.