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Q&A: David Gill reveals 2019 Boots, Bottles & BBQ is on its way to Success!

The annual Boots, Bottles and BBQ (BB&B) event that has been successfully benefiting the Monterey County Future Citizens Foundation (FCF) for the past eight years is once again being held on Saturday, September 7th at Future Citizens Foundation Campus. To find out more about the event, I had a conversation with Future Citizens Foundation Board’s Chairman and Co- Founder of Gill’s Onions, David Gill.

The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Q: With all the companies you have and with the limited time you have since you're a busy man, what makes you want to give back?

A: It's the right thing to do, to give back. I have a high priority on education and youth programs that help the community's youth so it's just something that I enjoy doing. I like seeing a program like the First Tee, how it benefits a lot of young kids, hopefully change their lives going forward, and help them make better life-changing decisions.

Q: How and when did the BB&B get started?

A: The BB&B started back when I became chairman about eight years ago. We were trying to come up with an event in the Salinas area to create awareness of the FCF programs. Most people and businesses didn't know what The First Tee was doing, they didn't know what it was about, they thought it was more of a golf program and not an educational program, so we created the BB&B to bring people to show them the program and we thought we would do it on campus with a tent that way we can have everyone come see the program in action, see the kids, learn more about it, and raise more money. The fundraising was secondary when we started. It was really primarily to get the awareness out to the community.

Q: As a chairman, what are your expectations for the BB&B and what will you do differently this year as opposed to the last?

A: What we want to see is a continuation of the same excitement and enthusiasm that we have had for the past eight years. I don't see us doing a whole lot different as much as trying to increase attendance, to get more people to come and see the program.

Q: What is your biggest achievement with the BB&B?

A: The first goal was to create the awareness and then raise money, but I think what we are most proud of is the fact that we did raise a lot of money, and now it's a major contributor to our budget. It's always good to see some of the young kids get up there and speak, talk about the program. It's a combination of seeing the fundraising part along with the continuous awareness.

We’re generating more enthusiasm in the community, more knowledge in the community we're getting more volunteers from people that want to get involved.

Q: You said you raised a lot of money last year, can you give me an estimate of last year's funds?

A: Last year, we broke a record, the previous year we were at $450,000 - $470,000, around that range. Then last year, we got to $610,000; that was the gross amount of money that we raised. We are really proud of that, it was surprising that people see it and what we're getting is people coming back and donating year after year now that never were donating before.

Q: How did you get involved with the Future Citizens Foundation?

A: I became involved through The First Tee program, but I am involved in all the programs, including Pay It Forward and the Taylor Farms Center for Learning. I am involved because I am committed to the kids in Monterey County.

Q: Where do you see the Future Citizens Foundation program going in the future? Do you have any new ideas or plans you're currently working on?

A: I think we're really excited to keep expanding the program. We want to see the King City expansion, we want to see more expansion in Greenfield, South County. We are looking for more expansion in the Salinas area and possibly in Seaside and Marina. We have a master plan and a master set of goals to keep the program going. Our plan is to continue to do that, it's just a matter now of developing the resources so that we can expand it.

Q: Lastly, other The First Tee chapters look up to our chapter here in Monterey County. Will we ever see the ideas we have that makes our program so diverse be expanded into other The First Tee chapters?

A: I've heard feedback from the national trustees, our program is one of the top premier programs in the whole system, there's a lot of chapters that are trying to emulate what we are doing. We've set a pretty high goal on our program with diversity with the Pay it Forward, the Taylor Farms Center for Learning, The First Tee program underneath the Future Citizens Foundation umbrella. We've definitely got a really great program we have to be proud of.

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