It was serendipity that aligned Scott and Melissa Cavanaugh with Give Kids The World, and caring hearts that continue to fuel their immeasurable support for the Village. As vice president, strategic partnerships and licensing at Travel + Leisure Co. – formerly Wyndham Destinations, Scott was part of a team that volunteered at the Village in 2013 during Extreme Village Makeover. The simple but meaningful task of stripping and painting rocking chairs immersed Scott in the magic of the place, and he was hooked.
Later that year, Scott and colleague Richard Scinta gathered friends and associates for a casual round of golf to raise funds for the Village, a cause that has since become imbedded in the philanthropic culture of Travel + Leisure. Over the past nine years, the group’s inaugural $1,500 fundraiser has evolved into the annual Stars & Pars Weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, which has raised more than $1.5 million to make wishes come true for critically ill children and their families. In 2019, the event raised more than $400,000 – a milestone Travel + Leisure hopes to surpass during its 10th anniversary Stars & Pars event scheduled to be held on Friday, October 28, 2022.
“We are blessed by the support of many wonderful corporate sponsors who share our passion for giving back – and who come back year after year not for the business relationships they are able to gain, but for the good that they are able to do for such a moving, heartfelt cause,” says Scott.
In 2016, an evening gala was added, with Melissa Cavanaugh spearheading the festivities and taking the event to an exciting new level. The gala includes dinner, live and silent auctions, and an opportunity to hear from wish families. Most recently, an after-party has been added featuring a DJ, dancing and cocktails.
“I have worked with many charities, but few can match the amazing mission and extraordinary people involved with Give Kids The World,” says Melissa. “It’s an absolute pleasure to support such an important cause that impacts countless children and families around the world. We are also grateful to members of our outstanding Stars & Pars committee for their passion and support, especially Jonathan Hall – who has put his heart and soul into this event.”
The 2022 Stars & Pars event on October 28 begins with golf at 8:00 am at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club – named by Golf Magazine among the “Top Courses You Can Play,” followed by the evening gala starting at 6:00 pm. To register or learn more about joining more than 50 local companies in sponsoring the event, please contact Scott.Cavanaugh@travelandleisure.com.