Karen Vogter - Why I Give
Karen carries on her husband Mark’s legacy through the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, which has raised more than $850,000 for an endowment supporting the Vogter Neuro Intensive Care Unit (VNICU). Karen has been tournament director since 2004.
What does it take to plan and direct the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger?
There are about 300 people from all over our community who volunteer in some capacity every year. No one is paid, and that’s unique for a professional tennis tournament. The tournament wouldn’t be the same without all of these people who are willing to give their time.
What motivates your work as a volunteer?
You don’t want your loved one’s death to be meaningless if there’s something you can do about it. Mark, unfortunately, was a neurosurgeon here for only 10 years, but even in that short time, he provided so much for his patients and the community. I want Mark to be remembered.
How do you personally benefit from directing the tournament?
It’s nice to be able to give something to a bigger purpose. We do a Special Olympics event at the tournament every year, and we bring about 250 kids from all over Leon County. To see them enjoying themselves playing tennis, it’s just wonderful. It benefits me way more than it benefits them.
How has the endowment supported the Vogter Neuro Intensive Care Unit?
Mark was really interested in his colleagues. He truly admired the people who dedicated their lives to working in this unit. One of the things we’ve supported is ongoing education and professional development for his colleagues so they can benefit from the latest knowledge in their field, which in turn benefits patients and families.
What are your goals for the tournament?
My children and I will be so happy when we reach $1 million in support for the endowment. We have worked toward this for so long, and we are within striking distance.