FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2023) – The 26th Annual Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational may have taken place Dec. 16 at the at the Cypress Lake Country Club in Fort Myers, but the giving continues across Southwest Florida as organizers plan to distribute the $78,000 raised during one of the area’s most highly anticipated charity golf tournaments.
“Paul and I wanted to bring our friends and business associates together to celebrate the holidays and raise money for kids. One of the reasons the Slaw Dog is so special is how the business community truly comes together to pitch in by supporting and sponsoring the event, knowing the money goes to helping local kids in need,” said Scott Fischer, co-host of the event and owner of Scott Fischer Enterprises. “The Slaw Dog has grown above and beyond anything Paul and I imagined when we started it 26 years ago. The generosity of the Southwest Florida business community amazes me more and more each year.”
What started on a whim as close friends Paul Sands and Scott Fischer reflected on the upcoming holidays after a round of golf, has grown into one of the most successful and highly anticipated annual charity tournaments in Southwest Florida history. The Slaw Dog has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support local youth causes.
When Sands passed away in 2010, the Slaw Dog was renamed in his honor, and ex-wife and dear friend Lisa Farrell-Sands, Broker and VP of VIP Realty Group, took over as co-host that December. Paul Sands was a rainmaker who had an award-winning career in commercial real estate, served on the boards of several prestigious local businesses and nonprofits. He served the community, believing it was important to give back. His passing was a huge loss to Fischer, Farrell-Sands, and the community.
“Paul Sands was a very giving guy, and nothing was dearer to him than family, friends and his beloved slaw dogs,” said Fischer. To this day, dinner at the end of the Slaw Dog tournament remains a Carolina dog, grilled and topped with hearty beef chili (no beans!), creamy coleslaw, and chopped onions. “Everybody loves it!” said Fischer.
The tournament is traditionally held in December at Cypress Lake Country Club where Fischer became a member early on and convinced Paul to join. The Slaw Dog sells out each year. In fact, as some golfers have aged out over the years, their adult children quickly claim the coveted spot to play in the Slaw Dog Invitational. The first Slaw Dog raised $5,000, and in 2021 it raised a record $106,000 in celebration of its 25th event anniversary. David and Charlyn Veracka, representing the entire Rockstar Harley-Davidson family, have upped the game by donating $50,000 for three consecutive years.
Sands was passionate about the Real Estate Investment Society (REIS) Scholarship Fund at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and helped to grow it, and Fischer is a founding member of the Board of Directors for Blessings in a Backpack Southwest Florida. These two organizations have become the annual fundraising recipients. This is the second year Valerie’s House will also benefit from the proceeds.
Blessings in a Backpack helps feed children on weekends for an entire school year so they can return to class every Monday morning with a full stomach and an eager mind. “With more and more families facing food insecurity, generous donations from the tournament help provide tens of thousands of meals to local children in need,” said Executive Director of Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida Cecilia St. Arnold. “No child should have to go hungry.”
“Nonprofits need our help more than ever,” said Sands. “Every bit of the money comes from golfers and sponsors and is given right back to local youth in our community.”
Slaw Doggers work hard, play hard and generously support local causes. Through the years, organizers have raised almost $500,000 to support young people in our community.
For more information about the Annual Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Lisa Farrell-Sands at Lsands@VIPrealty.com or visit the Slaw Dog Invitational on Facebook.
About the Annual Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational
The Paul Sands Memorial Slaw Dog Invitational is an annual tournament held every December at the beautiful Cypress Lake Country Club in Fort Myers to benefit youth charities in Southwest Florida. Paul Sands, a prominent community figure and successful commercial real estate broker with a love for slaw dogs, initiated the tournament with a desire to help local youth around the holidays. Today, his dear friends Scott Fischer and Lisa Farrell-Sands continue the event in his memory. It has since grown to be one of the most impactful and highly anticipated tournaments in the area, raising nearly $500,000 since its inception in 1996.