Local executive Curt Rocca raises big bucks for favorite charities
Steve Fleming, president and CEO of River City Bank, was on the 18th hole of Capital Cup 2016 when hail started pounding the green at Granite Bay Golf Club.
“There was a huge sonic boom and then a massive lightning bolt hit right behind him,” describes the tournament’s founder, Curt Rocca. “I saw fear in Steve’s eyes.”
The storm “literally ended the tournament with a bang” says Rocca. It also ended the three-day fall competition a little early, but the winner was clear. Sactown Eagles had the game in the bag, and not necessarily because they had the 12 best golfers.
Capital Cup is a charity tournament where the more money golfers raise, the higher their handicaps. Sactown Eagles raised $582,572 to the River City Rebels $157,183. The grand total of $739,755 far exceeded the goal of $500,000, but after 2015’s first-year success – raising $450,000 with a goal of $150,000 – Rocca wasn’t too surprised.
Rocca, who is a managing Partner for DCA Partners, a regional investment banking firm and private equity fund, created the tournament as a way for local top executives–many of whom compete in the business world during the 9 to 5–to enjoy some friendly competition on the course while giving back to the charities that matter most to them.
Each of the 24 golfers raises funds for the charity of his or her choice. And that’s what sets Capital Cup apart from many of the other charity tournaments in the area. For the golfers in Capital Cup, it’s personal.
Founder and CEO of The App Chicks, Carey Mulligan, teed off for Albie Aware Inc, a breast cancer charity that provided her with love and support as she fought the disease in 2015. President of Alcal Specialty Contracting and dad to Kailea, Darren Morris, played on behalf of Easter Seals, an organization that helps those with special needs and disabilities, including his daughter.
In honor of his wife Jennifer’s late father and a list of family and friends lost to cancer, Rocca fundraised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“I actually hate asking for money,” Rocca says. “But what surprised me most was how no one was wildly annoyed when I asked.” Instead, he explains, dozens thanked him for raising money and awareness.
It’s that giving attitude that “reinforced how philanthropic and giving the Sacramento region is,” he says.
The top two participants raised over $160,000 each, and as members of the winning team, also received a share of the $50,000 grand-prize. Rick Wylie, President of Villara Building Systems, received his bonus for Bayside Church – Granite Bay, and Bob Clark, President of Operations at Clark Pacific, added to his total for the American Heart Association.
Rocca credits the success of his tournament to the quality of people who participate. “These are people who have helped so many others throughout the years, so when they reach out and ask for help for the charitable causes that matter to them, they have a broad number of people who will open up their hearts and their checkbooks.”
The tournament is also a good time for players and spectators alike. “There’s a sense of collaboration and camaraderie. It’s a great spirited competition,” Rocca adds.
Next year, the competition will increase in size and goal. Capital Cup 2017 will add more members to the teams–there’s already a wait list–and up the ante. “One million dollars sounds like a nice round number,” Rocca says. “It also seems like a ridiculously high number, but that’s what we’ve thought about every goal, so we’ll just keep trying for ridiculously high numbers.”