RTO Renegades create EDAWN partnership

When the Renegades organization was created in 2011, its founders hoped to encourage economic development along with the group’s primary mission to support The Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux.

This year, the Renegades are getting more serious about that economic-development role.

The Reno-Tahoe Open has struck a deal with the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada to provide financial support to the economic development agency — support that might reach $50,000 a year.

The mechanics are simple: A portion of the $1,000 that business people and community leaders pay for an annual membership in the Renegades will be earmarked for EDAWN. The exact percentage will depend on the number who sign up as Renegades.

“We’re going to help drive economic development for northern Nevada,” says Chris Hoff, executive director of the PGA tour event.

Mike Kazmierski, president and chief executive of EDAWN, says the partnership with the Renegades of the Reno-Tahoe Open is expected to pay benefits beyond the simple cash contribution.

The golf tournament — one of only 39 PGA events each year — provides important media exposure to Reno and draws business executives who are golf fans.

“It puts us on the radar for visitors who otherwise might not come here,” says Kazmierski, who has been preaching the need to get business owners and managers to visit northern Nevada to open their eyes to the region’s potential.

The Renegades’ support, Hoff says, is an important element in the financial structure of the tournament.

Then, too, Kazmierski says that the partnership will boost awareness of EDAWN and its work among the business and community leaders who sign up to become Renegades.

Membership of the group has been running in the range of 100 to 125, Hoff says. Among other benefits, members are welcomed into a VIP suite behind the 18th green during the tournament. (This year’s event is scheduled for July 28-August 3.)

Spurred by the EDAWN partnership, the Reno-Tahoe Open staff has begun recruiting Renegades members earlier than usual this year. With the next several years, Hoff says, the tournament hopes to create an organization of 300 to 500 members.

Kazmierski, meanwhile, says the partnership with the Renegades isn’t likely to be duplicated with other organizations, largely because the golf tournament and its role in economic development are unusual.

“We see this as something fairly unique,” the EDAWN executive says.


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