Beaufort News

Long-time Heritage CFO and volunteer coordinator retire

Now that the two-year struggle to find a new title sponsor is over, the Heritage Classic Foundation's chief financial officer and its volunteer coordinator say it's time for a rest.

Ed Dowaschinski, vice president of finance and administration, retired at the end of July after 14 years tending to the foundation's financial planning and accounting and making sure the bills for Hilton Head Island's annual PGA Tour event were paid.

"I felt I needed a rest, and the foundation was in a situation where we needed to cut costs," said Dowaschinski, who was making more than $115,000, according to foundation tax filings.

Bonnie Hunt, executive assistant and volunteer coordinator, also retired after 42 of 43 years of working for the tournament.

Efforts to reach Hunt by phone Thursday were unsuccessful.

This year's tournament was played without a title sponsor after the foundation pledged its $4 million reserves and secured $1 million commitments from both the town and Beaufort County.

"There wasn't a day that went by you weren't running the numbers and trying to figure our how you're going to make it work and pay for everything," Dowaschinski said. "There wasn't ever a dull moment."

Tournament officials announced June 16 that the Royal Bank of Canada will fulfill that role through 2016, securing the tournament's future for the next five years. The Boeing Co. will be the local presenting sponsor, and the tournament also will receive financial support from the Hilton Head Island Town Council.

Dowaschinski has been involved with the tournament since moving to the area in 1981, working as a volunteer and later as a part-time accountant.He said he still plans to be involved with the tournament, either directly as a member of the foundation's board of trustees, or indirectly as a volunteer. Board chairman Simon Fraser said the foundation will make do with its current staff and plans to use Dowaschinski's expertise as an outside consultant."Both Ed and Bonnie have been with us from the beginning and have been instrumental in helping this tournament grow and succeed," Fraser said.

The Heritage has contributed more than $22 million to charity since 1987, and researchers estimated the 2010 tournament's economic impact at about $82 million.

Dowaschinski said he will miss handing checks to charities and awarding scholarships to high school students but looks forward to more time with family.

"That was the best part of the job, having that privilege," he said.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.

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