Michael Conley, founder of the Spectrum 360 Fore the Kids Golf Tournament, is a valued supporter of Spectrum360’s mission.

Conley and his wife Mary Jo came to Spectrum360 when their daughter Jolie, now 23, entered school.

“My wife did a ton of research and we looked at quite a few places for her to go. Spectrum360 seemed the best fit for her and it’s been a great experience,” says Conley.

He quickly rolled up his sleeves to help the organization with fundraising. At the time, Spectrum360 (then known as The Children’s Institute) was running a golf tournament that was in need of new leadership following the departure of its organizer.

Conley and a friend in the advertising business put together a pitch and logo for the “Fore the Kids” event, and the renewed golf outing was born. The tournament provides significant funding to allow Spectrum360 the ability to offer high quality programming that exceeds public funding. The event is held every fall and has raised nearly $1,000,000 for Spectrum360 since its inception nine years ago.

Conley is the Vice President, Trade Operations and Analytics, at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, where he has worked for 33 years. Attendees of the event have been drawn from his wide business and personal network, as well as Spectrum360 families and community supporters.

Fore the Kids has been a consistently popular event, attracting approximately 100 participants annually, and of course it takes a considerable team to organize an event of that size. A volunteer committee works year-round on logistics of setting up the event, recruiting sponsors, arranging registration gifts and much more.

“It’s not possible to do alone,” says Conley.” It’s a lot of work by a lot of people. It has been very rewarding to have this group who are invested in volunteering to make the tournament a success.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Spectrum360 to cancel many of its regular fundraising events in 2020, unfortunately including the golf tournament.

“It was a tough decision,” Conley says. “It ultimately came down to the state not allowing group gatherings. We thought about moving the date around but ultimately it wasn’t viable.”

Conley’s daughter now attends the Independence360 adult program. While the pandemic has also made in-person sessions periodically unavailable, Conley says she is still thriving.

“It’s been very very good for my daughter, it’s a very supportive environment. She’s grown and progressed amazingly. Even with the virtual programs, she’s handed it well. She’s on the computer from 11 to 3 every day, enjoys it and looks forward to it.”

Conley says he and his wife value the opportunity to help Spectrum360.

“Our ability to do anything to help the school to provide services for kids like my daughter who need the help and services that S360 provides, has been very rewarding.

We thank Mike and the committee of Fore the Kids for all the work they do for Spectrum360 and its programs that make a difference in the lives of our students and adults.