About us

This section gives an overview of the RITA ( Research Is The Answer ) Foundation.  Included over the past 20+ years are our Annual letter, Financial Summary, Grant Recipients, Special Projects and Publicity.

Foundation’s events since we began in 1997.

Our annual Financial Summaries, Grant Recipients, Special Projects and Publicity are also included.


All in all, another excellent year.  We started with our new event, the Caring and Sharing Hope 5k Walk/Run in Nocatee in mid-January.  It was cold at 6:30 in the morning!  Event director, Teri Trotta, organized an outstanding event in about three weeks.  Over 100 runners and walkers enjoyed the brisk morning.  We are trying to build the event to tie in Baptist South and the Nocatee community.  The goal is to have both involved.

The RITA Champions followed in March at Club Continental.  Registration for the 48 teams again filled quickly.  Even with a small committee of four, the event went smoothly.  The tournament runs fine, but having such a small committee hinders our fundraising efforts.  Our goal is to increase our committee and find more sponsors for our Mission. 

The MixedRITA event continues to make gains every year.  Sherill, Gary Herzfeld and Lorrayne Carless oversee a relatively small but very organized committee.  Every year is a record year for the bottom line.  $82,250 was the net proceeds and they have a goal to be at $ 100,000.00.  Dr. Al Copland received $ 15,000 and several new endowments were created.  This tournament was filled in one day!  Awesome job!

 The SenioRITAs at Sawgrass also continues to grow and set records.  300 players competed and a record $ 245,000 was raised.  The new party and auction venue at The Yards in Oakbridge was very well received.  Dr. Al Copland’s cancer lab received a $50,000.00 grant plus the proceeds from our two endowments at Mayo Clinic.  With the balance, we finished funding 6 endowments and made contributions to another 17 existing endowments. The annual proceeds are used to provide ongoing revenue for several special projects at Baptist MD Anderson, Baptist Medical Center Beaches and Baptist Medical Center South.

 We look forward to growth in all four events in 2024.  We will be surpassing  $ 7,000,000.00 in our efforts to fight against breast cancer in Jacksonville.

Charles Jantz


2022 In spite of the economic issues, this was a pretty good year. The RITA Championships at Club Continental draw was quickly filled. Proceeds grew slightly and four new endowments were started. Our plan is to fully fund six endowments at Baptist Clay and designate the annual proceeds to providing mammograms for the underinsured. The committee of Molly and Adam Blackner, Kendall Taylor, Sherry Latta-Raines, Elizabeth Burke and Monica Moore did a super job….again.

The MixedRITA event registration filled up even faster….one day! Sherill and Gary Herzfeld and Lorrayne Carless continued to grow the sponsor and the net revenue. Proceeds of $ 76,000.00 allowed a $ 15,000.00 grant to Dr. Al Copland at Mayo Clinic, $ 30,000 to finish our commitment to the Baptist Buddy Bus, and $ 31,000.00 toward fully funding two endowments. Proceeds from these two endowments are designated to the Life Wellness Center at Baptist MD Anderson.

The SenioRITAs at Sawgrass results were excellent, $ 209,000.00, although slightly below last year’s record amount. Dr. Al Copland of Mayo Clinic received a grant of $ 50,000.00 and $2,000.00 was added to the Endowment honoring Chuck Saacke. We paid of the remaining $ 10,000.00 for the Baptist Buddy Bus commitment, added two fully paid Endowments and created eight new endowments. In total, Baptist received $ 157,000.00. The tennis tournament continued with 298 enthusiastic competitors. Our KickOff Party at Pussers had slightly lower attendance but was very successful. The Auction and Party attendance was down, which translates into fewer bidders so the auction results were less. Karen Aaro and the key committee members will address issues and explore additional options. As our 20+ year committee core members have aged, several have had to retire due to health issues. We will be looking to add some youth to the ranks of the committee.

A new venture is in the planning stages. We are taking an opportunity to add a 5 K Walk / Run event in Nocatee in January of next year. We hope to develop new recognition for The RITA Foundation and additional revenue for our Mission.

Leaner and better in 2023!

Charles Jantz


2021 turned out to be our best yet with all three events back into action after last year’s cancellations. We began in March with The RITA Championships at Club Continental. Molly and Adam Blackner ran an outstanding tournament and Players Party. Elizabeth Burke, Kendall Taylor, Sherry Latta-Raines and Monica contacted all the Sponsors, got auction items and were on site during the three day tournament. The net result was $ 25,000.00. This enabled us to create a Cancer Endowment at the new Baptist Clay MD Anderson campus. The endowment was named in Honor of Molly and Adam Blackner and children. Our plan is to create additional endowments in the coming years to honor our committee members and to fund programs at Baptist Clay.

The MixedRITA committee, with Co-founders Sherill and Gary Herzfeld, Lorrayne Carless and Lisa Dalziel also had an outstanding event at Sawgrass Country Club in late May. The tournament, auction and Sponsor support resulted in a record to date net of $ 51,700.00. Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Al Copland received a $ 5,000.00 grant, $ 10,000.00 payment to the Buddy Bus commitment and the balance of $ 36,700.00 into several of our MixedRITA endowments at Baptist. The Herzfeld endowment was fully funded, the balance reduced on the Carless endowment and a new endowment created for Lisa and Mark Dalziel.

Our largest event, the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass, led by Karen Aaro and supported by the Super Committee was truly outstanding. The Kick-off Party at Pusser’s set an attendance and net record. The Auction and Party was held at the new Sawgrass Club House. Along with a new electronic bidding program, excellent results were achieved. The tournament with almost 300 players sold out the registration in two weeks. Several Sponsors increased their donations and even with increased costs on food, the net was a record $ 240,000.00 shattering our previous high. Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Al Copland received a grant of $ 55,000.00 and $ 2,000.00 was added to our Mayo Endowment. The balance of over $184,500.00 went to the Baptist Health Foundation. We made the fourth of five $ 10,000.00 payments toward our Buddy Bus commitment. Nine of our current Endowments received $ 59,500.00 and $ 125,000.00 established five new fully funded endowments. These new endowments are, hopefully, the beginning of my efforts to increase our visibility within the community. We will have the RITA Foundation name, MixedRITA logo and SenioRITAs logo on the Buddy Bus. Currently, we have plaques at Baptist Beaches Imaging Center and MD Anderson listing the Endowments providing the ongoing funding. The plan going forward is to establish an additional twenty Endowment honoring both our key committee members and major donors.

Charles Jantz


2020 started off with the resumption of The RITA Championships after a one year hiatus. The event was held at Magnolia Point Golf & Country Club in Green Cove Springs. This was our first event on the west side and, for the most part, went well. The tennis was extremely well attended and run under Molly and Adam Blackner. There was a successful silent auction under the direction of Sherry Latta-Raines. Although our expenses were extremely high due to unforeseen circumstances, the event netted $ 22,430.00 and our first Endowment at Baptist Clay was established.

Our next event, MixedRITA, was scheduled for late May. By that time, Covid 19 was causing cancellations everywhere. Sherill Herzfeld moved the date into August hoping things would calm down. That was not to happen and Sawgrass Country Club asked that the event be cancelled. At the same time, our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass was also cancelled. Both committees felt that we should and could continue with just our fundraising efforts directed primarily to our regular donors. So, in spite of losing all revenue from player registration, raffles, parties, and auctions, both committees were highly successful. The MixedRITA netted $ 31,545.00 after returning player registration fees, running a thank you ad, printing and IT expense. Dr. Al Copland at Mayo Clinic received $ 5,000.00, $ 10,000.00 toward the $ 50,000.00 Baptist Buddy Bus commitment with the balance of $ 16,545.00 plus an equal match going into three of our cancer Endowments. Terrific job!

SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee, led again by Karen Aaro, was also hard at work and their efforts resulted in net proceeds of $ 119,125.00. Dr. Al Copland and his cancer lab at Mayo Clinic received $ 45,000 with $ 3,750.00 added to our two cancer Endowments. Baptist received $ 20,000.00 toward $ 50,000.00 Buddy Bus commitment and the balance of $ 54,125.00 going into 10 of our 17 cancer Endowments. Outstanding!

While the year was challenging and frustrating, the results were amazing. Thanks to our long term donors who recognize our Mission, our Dedication, our Volunteers and our Results. Thanks to the committee members that makes RITA and our events so special. The RITA Championships, the MixedRITA and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass are on the calendar and looking forward to 2021.

Charles Jantz


The Mixed Rita event at Sawgrass continued to grow their net proceeds. Now in their third year, $ 43,500.00 was raised. $ 38,000.00 was granted to Baptist Medical Center Beaches and all went into our endowments. All these funds qualified to be matched by the Baptist Health Foundation, so our impact was doubled.

The SenioRITAs at Sawgrass event, consisting of the Kick-off Party at Pusser’s, Live and Silent Auction Party, and Women’s Tennis Tournament, broke last year’s record proceeds. $ 163,000.00 was the amount granted between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Health. Mayo Clinic received $ 75,200.00. Dr. Al Copland and his cancer lab received $ 45,000.00. The balance went into our two cancer endowments; $ 3,000.00 into the Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke and $ 25,200.00 completing the $ 100,000.00 pledge for the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Memorial Endowment.

Baptist Health received $ 88,400.00. A new endowment for $ 25,000.00 was established honoring Sawgrass Country Club. $ 24,000.00 finished the pledge for the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Leadership Endowment. $ 10,000.00 was the first of five pledge payments to the Baptist Buddy Bus mobile mammography program. Both SenioRITAs and MixedRITA committed $ 50,000.00 each payable over five years. The balance of the grants went into 7 endowments. We received $ 36,000.00 in Baptist Health matching funds.

We are proud to announce RITA has passed the $ 5 Million Dollar Donation mark this year….$ 5,001,770.00 plus Baptist matching funds of $ 329,500.00 to date for a total local market impact of $ 5,331,270.00.
Congratulations to all the MixedRITA and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass volunteers for more than a job well done. You are all the best!
More good news came from Magnolia Point Country Club in late 2019 with an offer to host The RITA Championships in 2020 at their facility.

We look forward to another excellent year in 2020 in our fight against breast cancer. Thank you for all your support and to learn more, please visit our web-site at www.the-rita-foundation.org.


Charles Jantz


2018 was another challenging and interesting year. We knew the RITA Championships results would be disappointing, but we had a plan and an agreement with Deerwood Country Club to host the 2019 event. Unfortunately, a new management team did not abide by the agreement and, instead, their money request was not acceptable. Subsequently, we reached out to five additional sites. For various reasons ranging from “too busy”, not enough courts, wanting 2/3 of the net proceeds, no response, or high costs, we were not able to secure a location for the event. After 23 years as one of the top women’s tennis events in Jacksonville, no one wants or is capable of helping a local charity. Sorry, ladies, and a sad commentary on the local tennis community.

On the brighter side, the Mixed Rita event at Sawgrass grew their net proceeds to $33,000.00 in just the second year. All these funds went into our Endowments for Cancer Research at both Mayo Clinic and Baptist Health Foundation.
SenioRITAs at Sawgrass results were $ 154,869.73, an all-time high for net proceeds. Baptist Beaches received $ 46,425.00 which went into several of our Cancer Endowments. We completed the funding for one Endowment in Honor of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. and another in Honor of Fields Auto Group at the $ 25,000.00 minimum. Both will be matched by Baptist Health Foundation bringing each total to $ 50,000.00. Mayo Clinic received $ 108,800.00. Dr. Al Copland and his lab received $ 45,000.00 and, $4,800.00 was added to the RITA Foundation’s Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke which now totals over $ 170,000.00. $ 59,000.00 was added to our new SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment bringing that total to $ 74,500.00. We will meet the minimum Mayo endowment of $ 100,000.00 in 2019. An outstanding achievement by Co-chair Karen Aaro and the entire SenioRITAs committee.

We are looking forward to continued success in 2019 as we work to find a cure for breast cancer.  

Charles Jantz


2017 2017 was a good news, bad news and more good news year. Thanks to the efforts of Sherill and Gary Herzfeld, the Mixed RITA tennis event was started. With a small dedicated and enthusiastic committee, the first year resulted exceed all expectations at just over $ 20,000.00. The proceeds were split between Mayo Clinic for The RITA Cancer Endowment and Baptist Beaches for prostate cancer programs, including the establishment of the Mixed RITA Cancer Endowment. This Endowment will be fully funded by 2019 and then matched by The Baptist Foundation up to $ 30,000.00.

The RITA Championships had a very disappointing year. The Jacksonville Golf & Country Tennis Staff, Mark, Scott, Faye, Sue, and Adem did an excellent job running the tournament. However, added expenses from the host site made the financial result the lowest in 20 years. This will need to be corrected and 2018 will be critical in determining how to move forward.

Back to the good news….the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee out performed themselves. Under the leadership of Karen Aaro, chair, Carol Carter and Donna Wagener, the tournament, party and auction was our best ever. Revenue exceeded $ 117,000.00 in net proceeds. Mayo Clinic received $ 48,150 with $45,000.00 supporting Dr. Al Copland’s basic cancer research on NNN breast cancer and $3,150.00 added to The RITA Foundation’s Cancer Research Endowment. The Baptist Foundation received $ 50,000.00 that will create two new fully funded Endowments….in Honor of bestbet and in Honor of Pat and Tylee Wilson. Both endowments will be matched by Baptist. An additional $20,000 was added to four of our other SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowments at the Baptist Foundation. In summary, an excellent year! Since beginning in 1997, RITA has now contributed over $ 4,600,000.00 to local programs. The RITA Foundation is proud to Give where We live.  

Charles Jantz


2016 Twenty years…..who would have thought? Who would have known? Include me in that group! 2016 was a Happy 20th Anniversary Year. Our Spring event, the RITA Championships continues to be a successful, fully supported tournament. Last year, we turned over the management of the Lexus Champions for Charity Golf event after 14 years to U F Health, the recipient agency.

This year our role was to advise and help. Our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass event….Kick- off Party at Pussers Caribbean Grille, Party and Auction, Pro exhibition and three day tournament had outstanding results! Co-chair Karen Aaro, Auction leaders, Donna Wagener and Carol Carter, led the committee and events to our highest net revenue. Continuing to donate 100% of the net proceeds, we were able to again fund Mayo Clinic cancer researcher Dr. Al Copland with a grant of $ 45,000.00 and add $ 6,000.00 to our $ 100,000.00 SenioRITAs Cancer Endowment in Honor of Chuck Saacke. Additionally, we were able to take advantage of the Baptist Health Foundation’s Endowment Matching Program. We created a fully funded $ 25,000.00 Cancer Endowment in Honor of The Main Street America Group and a fully funded $ 25,000.00 Cancer Endowment in Honor of Regency Centers. Both of these long time Sponsors were excited to be recognized in these way and more excited when our donations were equally matched by the Baptist Foundation.

The result was two fully funded $ 50,000.00 cancer endowments. We further added $ 2,285.00 in Memory of Nancy Alderman to our SenioRITAs $ 200,000.00 Cancer Endowment. Another new endowment for $ 8,000.00 for a future Sponsor was begun and $ 12,000 in a new Cancer Endowment for the Cimarrone Ladies Golf Association. When these two become fully funded at $ 25,000.00 each, they will also be matched by the Baptist Foundation.

ALL IN ALL, $ 124,385.00 DONATED PLUS $ 50,000.00 IN MATCHING FUNDS! I am very proud of this committee of fine, caring and super women! They make me look forward to 2017!

/ Charles Jantz


2015 – was our eighteenth year and last doing the Lexus Champions for Charity Golf event for Brumos Lexus. The decision was made to give the event management to UF Health Jacksonville who has been the recipient for the last 14 years. Our committee, Jack Garnett, Gerry Hurst and myself, acted in an advisory role. Several sponsors, out of habit, sent their donations to us and we passed them on to UF Health. These donations of $ 24,400.00 did put our total contribution to UF Health to over $1,500,000.00.

Our Spring event, the RITA Championships held at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club provided us the opportunity to grant $ 8,000.00 to Mammosphere. Dr. Kathryn Pearson-Payton started Mammosphere to provide instant access to mammograms by placing them into the ‘cloud’. Her program is a giant step forward for patients, doctors, and hospitals. In a short time, over 700 hospitals now offer this program to all breast cancer patients.

SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament continues to be an outstanding social and competitive tournament. 137 doubles teams plus our Kick- off Party at Pusser’s Carribean Grille, Live and Silent Auction resulted in $ 30,000.00 being added to our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment at Baptist Medical Center Beaches. This will bring our contribution to $ 100,000.00 and with an equal match from the Baptist Health Foundation will total $ 200,000.00. Annual proceeds will be directed to helping provide mammograms to the underserved. We continue to support Dr. Al Copland’s cancer research at Mayo Clinic with a $ 45,000.00 grant. The RITA Foundation was honored to receive almost $ 11,000,00 from the Cimmarone Ladies Golf Association. As a result, RITA added $ 12,000.00 to our RITA Foundation Cancer Research Endowment in honor of Chuck Saacke at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.

A small grant was given to In the Pink to help their lymphedema patients.

Our check presentations are set for early next year and will be followed shortly by our first planning meeting for the 2016 event. Since our beginning in 1997, our total donations, without any salary or overhead costs, have exceeded $ 4,331,698.00.

Charles Jantz


2014 is our seventeenth year and another major goal accomplished! Our Spring event, The RITA Championships netted $ 8,000.00 which was used as part of our new $ 100,000.00 RITA Foundation Cancer Research Endowment honoring Chuck Saacke at Mayo Clinic. The SenioRITAs at Sawgrass women’s tennis event provided proceeds of $ 30,000.00 to our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment at Baptist Health Foundation and $50,000.00 to Mayo Clinic for ongoing breast cancer research projects with Dr. Al Copland. We had a pleasant surprise this year with the Palencia women’s C team and Cimarrone Country Club donations that enabled us to give an additional $ 10,000.00 check to Mayo Clinic which brings the total donation to Mayo to over $ 1,000,000.00!

Our Lexus Champions for Charity golf event netted $ 104,000.00 for the breast health center at UF Health in Jacksonville. Our golf committee of 3 have decided to make next year our last after 14 year of effort and $ 1,500,000.00 raised to help in the fight against breast cancer in Jacksonville. Thanks to Brumos Automotive for allowing us to facilitate their Lexus golf tournament for all these years. Planning is already underway for our 2015 events, beginning in late March with The RITA Championships.

Our updated web-site has information, pictures and financial results from this year. The 2015 schedule of events is posted and we are eager to add to our total donation of $ 4, 209,415 toward our fight against breast cancer here in Jacksonville. 

Thank you for your continued support. We hope to see you at one of our events.

Charles Jantz


2013 was a very good year…Bill Gist continued his excellent efforts at The RITA Championships Women’s Tennis Tournament in the Spring at Jacksonville Golf & Country Club. The event net proceeds were $8,310 and will be part of next year’s $100,000.00 Chuck Saacke Cancer Endowment at Mayo Clinic. Our Lexus Champions for Charity golf tournament had a new venue at Timuquana Country Club. Our Sponsorships and golfer participation both exceeded last year. The net proceeds of the event were $108,500. One $5,000 vendor paid UF Health ( Shands new name ) directly, so the RITA check was for $103,500.This money was granted to the Breast Health Department at a lunch check presentation The Breast Health Department / Radiation will be purchasing a new Tomosynthesis mammography machine for their Emerson Southside Campus.

Our SenioRITAs at Sawgrass committee did more than their usual outstanding job netting a record $ 98,000.00. These proceeds were divided between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Beaches. At Baptist, we are creating an endowment called SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Cancer Endowment. Our $40,000 is being matched by Baptist Health Foundation and annual proceeds will be used at Baptist Medical Center Beaches for breast cancer research, equipment, treatment and patient programs.

At Mayo Clinic, we continue our funding of Dr. Al Copland’s research with a $60,000.00 grant to help find a cure for triple negative breast cancer. Currently, there is no treatment, so we are both hopeful and pleased to be involved. Through December 31, 2013, our grants totals exceed $ 3,900,000.00. Planning has begun for 2014. We hope to see you at one of our events. 

Thank you for your support.

Charles Jantz


2012 was another successful year. While the RITA Championships are still looking for new Sponsors, the actual tennis event held at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club continues to be a favorite with the players. Our Lexus Champions for Charity golf event at San Jose Country Club continued to grow almost reaching $ 100,000 in net proceeds. The SenioRitas at Sawgrass also continued to grow and has become the largest in numbers of participants.

Our total net proceeds were $ 195,519.27. Golf was $98,326; SenioRITAs was $78,935 and RITA Championships was $ 7,785. Shands Breast Health Department received $ 100,000.00, Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Copland received $ 50,000.00 and Baptist Beaches received $ 28,000. Pink Sisters and In the Pink received the balance.

We look forward to continued growth toward our Mission.

/ Charles Jantz


2011 This year was a transition from doing six special events to only two. Last year, The RITA Championships was taken over by Bill Gist, Jacksonville Golf & Country Club, the two Caring And Sharing Hope ( CASH ) 5 K Walk/Run events by Hands on Jacksonville. The Black Tie Gala given to the Baptist Cancer Institute ran into organizational issues and unfortunately has ceased to be. Because of giving up control and management of these four events, our revenue was less than previous years, but my life now is not focused just on RITA. The Lexus Champions for Charity golf event and the SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament both were very successful. The golf tournament moved from Hidden Hills Country Club to San Jose Country Club. Perhaps after ten years, we needed to refresh the event. Everyone really liked the new venue….the course, the prizes, the dinner and auction. We netted $95,000 and there was an additional $5,000 that went to Shands directly….so the result was $100,000 to the breast cancer department. SenioRITAs at Sawgrass had another wonderful Party and Auction, followed by three days of beautiful tennis weather. 144 doubles teams competed in seven categories and a good time was had by all. Pictures are on our web site…www.the-rita-foundation.org.

The net of $70,000 was equally divided between Mayo Clinic and Baptist Medical Center Beaches. At Mayo, the grant was again given to Dr. Al Copland to help in his research. I would explain it, but I can’t and you may or may not understand it anyway. Suffice it to say that it is important to helping to find a cure for all cancers at the genetic level.

We continue to help Pink Sisters at Mayo with their cancer library project and again supported In the Pink at the Beaches to help women with lymphedema receive the proper compression garments that are an essential part of their therapy.

As I write this, we have already scheduled our first meetings for the 2012 Lexus Champions for Charity Golf event and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass. Through December 31, 2011, our grants to local cancer programs have exceeded $ 3,500,000.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Charles Jantz


2010  The year turned out to be challenging, yet successful.  If you look at the Financial Summary, you will note the total grants are lower than last year.  Last year we entered into several new partnerships.  This year these ;partners managed three of our six annual events.  Bill Gist at Jacksonville Golf & Country Club took over The RITA Championships Women’s Tennis Tournament.  Participation grew with a new format, but no neighborhood fund raising activity took place so fund raising lagged.  Plans for this year include moving the event from June to April and expanding the Players Party.  All registration will be done online.  Hands on Jacksonville took control of the Spring and Fall 5 K Walk/Run events,  which are now called ‘The Human Race’.  Both agency and individual participation increased along with the proceeds.  However, fund raising efforts by the non-profit agencies went directly to them without passing through our books.  So while the amount raised was much higher than last year, our results appear to be lower.  The good news is more money was raised by the non-profit community using our 5 K fund raising concept and platform.  The Baptist Cancer Institute had planned to use The RITA Black Tie Gala as their primary fund raising effort, but delays have pushed the event into 2011.  The two events we actively managed, Lexus Champions for Charity Golf Tournament and SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Women’s Tennis Tournament, were both highly successful.  The golf event netted $86,472 for Shands Jacksonville and SenioRITAs gave $31,500 to both Baptist Medical Center Beaches and The Mayo Clinic.  Five events have confirmed 2011 dates and planning is already underway.  We expect to finalize the sixth event date shortly. 

Grants to the Baptist Health System exceed $1,000,000 and the same is true with Shands Jacksonville. We are approaching $750,000 at Mayo Jacksonville. Our total grants now exceed $3,300,000 and will reach $3,500,000 by year’s end.  RITA continues to donate 100% of our event net proceeds without any salary or overhead expense.  We look forward to growing our event contributions in our Mission fighting breast cancer in Jacksonville.

Charles Jantz


As this year began, it was difficult, given the poor economic conditions, to forecast our results. We were confident about our event participation, but the other component of our fundraising is corporate and individual contributions. For the most part, we were extremely pleased. Our Financial Summary shows Total Net Revenue at $283,638.02, $5,000 less than last year. Not included in the Net Revenue number were large contributions from golfer Jim Furyk and Lexus of Jacksonville….these came in right at year-end and will be deposited in January and reflected in 2010’s results.

All our events continue to do well in participation, most at capacity. We did achieve three major milestones this year…..over $3,000,000 in total grants since we began, over $1,000,000 to the Baptist Health System and over $1,000,000 to Shands Jacksonville. You can see the year-by-year grants by going to the Recipient Programs tab. In addition, we have made some strategic partnerships that will help to grow specific events and, hopefully, perpetuate them. At the end of last year, we began a partnership with Volunteer Jacksonville, now called Hands on Jacksonville, to grow our two 5 K Walk/Run events. We began to grow participation this year under the name ‘The Human Race’ and fully expect to double participation in 2010. All the net proceeds from both events will go to Hands on Jacksonville. Our second partnership is with the Baptist Cancer Institute.

For ten years, they have received the proceeds from the RITA Black Tie Gala. Now, they will be fully involved and desire to make this event their key fundraising effort for their cancer research program. In addition, RITA continues to work with a group of nurses at the new Mayo Hospital, helping to establish a cancer library; grew our Lymphedema program by granting $25,000 to Shands Jacksonville and $5,000 to In the Pink to assist women to purchase the compression garments needed for their proper treatment.

All things considered, another banner year for The RITA ( Research Is The Answer ) Foundation, Inc. We continue to donate 100% of the net proceeds from our events and all the money remains in Jacksonville. Thank you for your support in these difficult times. Know that each and every dollar is highly valued and helps benefit someone right here in Jacksonville.

 / Charles Jantz


2008 The year started out on a relatively high economic note and by mid-year was rapidly deteriorating. Overall, we did really well. All six events had outstanding levels of participation. Our two women’s tennis tournaments were at capacity; our Black Tie Gala was a sell out for the tenth year; our two Caring And Sharing Hope ( CASH ) had the most participants to date and raised over $64,000 for the designated non-profit organizations. Total revenue was $412,133.69, less event revenue of $126,354.93 for a net of $285,778.76. Our total grants totaled $291,115.22. The overage was covered by funds that were carried over from 2007 to cover specific commitments.

The second printing of the ‘NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient’ was delayed until January, 2009. RITA continues to give this 84 page organizer free to local cancer programs. In December, we announced a new program for women on Medicaid with Lymphedema. Our partners in this underserved area are Lexus of Jacksonville, the Lymphedema Clinic, and the Players Championship.

Shands Jacksonville Breast Health Department received $250,000 in January. Scheduling issues delayed presentation from December, 2007. Another $250,000 was to be donated in December of this year, but will now take place in January, 2009. The Baptist Cancer Institute received $20,000 for research, Baptist Medical Center Beaches received $28,000 for their breast cancer programs, Mayo Clinic received $28,000 to fund a lymphedema study by Dr. Sarah McLaughlin. Lastly, the Women’s Center – Bosom Buddies Support Group received $26,000 which is half their annual operating budget. Our grant to Baptist Beaches represents their largest annual donation.

RITA has now donated over $2,800,000 to local programs….without any salary costs or overhead expenses. Our six events are already scheduled for 2009. In spite of the continued economic slowdown, we expect to surpass the $3,000,000.00 contribution level.

/ Charles Jantz


Wow, RITA has just finished our eleventh year…. who would have thought! Certainly, not me. Our major events continue to perform well. I am still trying to increase participation in our two 5 K Walk / Run events as they provide the best opportunity to dramatically increase income. Overall income was $468,306.52 less event expenses of $123,813.79 for a net of $344,492.73. We issued grants totaling $330,110.28 and are carrying over $14,382.45 for special projects plus our interest income.

The “NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient” will be reprinted by mid 2008 and distributed at no cost to all interested cancer programs. We will be donating $250,000 to UF & Shands Breast Health Center in December to help purchase state of the art digital mammography equipment. This represents the proceeds from our 2005 and 2006 Lexus Champions for Charity Golf events plus $20,000 from this year’s revenue. We donated $30,000 to both Baptist Medical Center Beaches and the Mayo Clinic. Part of the Mayo donation paid off our commitment made in late 2006 to fund a $25,000 digital mammography study for Dr. Elizabeth DePeri. Because of the excellent work by the Bosom Buddies support program of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville, we have donated $44,000 this year and plan major support again next year. All in all, 2007 was another excellent year.

I want to mention that Lexus of Jacksonville and their sister company, Brumos Motor Cars, Inc. have become a true partner with The RITA Foundation. They are the title sponsor of five of our six special events and their financial support exceeds six figures.

They truly believe in both our Mission and the way we conduct our business……still no salary costs or overhead expenses. Our total donations to date now exceed $2,500,000 and our goal is to reach $3,000,000. All the money remains in Jacksonville funding local cancer programs.

/ Charles Jantz

1997 - 2006

The idea for the RITA ( Research Is The Answer ) Women’s Tennis Tournament began in late 1996 at a Deercreek Country Club Tennis Committee meeting. We decided to host a women’s doubles tennis event, accompanied by a Kick-off Party and Silent Auction, with the proceeds being donated locally to help fight breast cancer. The first RITA Championships were held August 4, 5, and 6, 1997 at Deercreek Country Club with 64 teams participating. Our donation to the Baptist Regional Cancer Institute was $ 36,000.00.

The same format was used in 1998 with 89 teams participating and over 200 people attending the Kick-off Party and Silent Auction. The resulting donation was $54,500.00 which, again, went to the Baptist Cancer Institute.

1999 saw the RITA Championships become the largest charity tennis tournament in Jacksonville with 147 teams competing. This tournament now plays at three sites: Deercreek, San Jose and Jacksonville Golf & Country Club. Two additional events were added; the RITA Black Tie Gala, a dinner dance at San Jose Country Club attended by 230 people, and a tennis tournament, luncheon and fashion show at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Our donation from the three events was $ 78,700.00.
Again, all proceeds were donated to the Baptist Cancer Institute as we continued to
use the Baptist Health System Foundation as our nonprofit entity.

The year 2000 saw additional milestones. RITA was incorporated as The RITA Foundation, Inc., a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit corporation. The first RITA 5 K Classic Race was held in April with 325 women competing and enthusiastically approving of our race format. The Black Tie Gala in June was another sell-out.

The RITA Championships grew to 173 teams and the accompanying Kick Off Party and Silent Auction had record attendance. SenioRITAs at Sawgrass, another new event was a smashing success. 64 teams competed, and over 100 attended the Kick Off  Party and $ 26,000.00 raised for The Mayo Clinic and Baptist Medical Center Beaches. November saw the RITA at Amelia Island women’s tennis tournament,
luncheon and fashion show. $ 5,000.00 was raised for Baptist Medical Center Nassau. $ 111,000.00 was donated to the local medical community, bringing our four-year total to $ 280,000.00. The RITA Foundation, Inc. was a sponsor, along with the Baptist Cancer Institute, Genentec, and AstraZeneca of the first Women’s Public Health Symposium.

2001 saw continued progress in our events plus increased giving at year’s end. Our 5 K Race did not grow as we had hoped. Our date coincided with the March of Dimes Walk and Opening of the Beaches Festival. The 2002 Race will be open to men. The race will be called Out Run Cancer and will feature a totally new concept in fundraising. Both non-profit and for-profit teams will be able to designate their fundraising to the breast cancer program of their choice. Individual runners will have the same opportunity. With most non-profits looking for additional funding, we feel this will give them an excellent opportunity to raise program funds with minimal effort. Our Black Tie Gala was another sell-out. Perhaps our best party yet. The RITA Auction and RITA Championships remain our largest event in terms of revenue. Our first golf event, Lexus Champions for Charity netted $ 44,000.00 and promises to grow next year. SenioRITAs at Sawgrass Senior Women’s Tennis Tournament grew to 90 teams and with a new The silent Auction provided additional money. In addition to our events, we partnered with Aetna US HealthCare for a bowling event, Baptist Cancer Institute for the second Women’s Health Symposium, and Southern Wine & Spirits special wine promotion yielded $ 2,000.00 for RITA. In all, our net proceeds were $ 166,000.00. These were distributed to Shands Jacksonville ( $ 50,000.00 ), Baptist Medical Center Beaches ( $ 16,000.00 ), Baptist Cancer Institute ( $ 80,000.00 ), The Mayo Clinic ( $ 16,000.00 ), and Women’s Center of Jacksonville ( $ 4,000.00 ). Our five-year total is $ 446,000.00. All in all, another great year of growth and giving.

2002 was an interesting and challenging year. In the aftermath of 9-11-01, a weak economy, we had to work harder and smarter to grow and refine our special events. The RITA 5 K Classic Race in April became the RITA Out Run Cancer 5 K and grew both in participation and proceeds. The Silent Auction, Black Tie Gala, SenioRITAs at Sawgrass, and Lexus Champions for Charity all had record proceeds. Only our RITA Championships showed a decline and we have decided to move the event from July to May. We had a booth in the Southern Women’s Show for the first time in an attempt to reach more volunteers and give RITA more exposure. Another milestone was reached as LongHorn Restaurants became a Corporate Sponsor. We plan to work closely with this new partner to further our mutual goals of growth and local involvement. Record proceeds of $ 200,000.00 will be donated to various local Breast Cancer programs plus many support groups.

2003 saw a continuation of all our special events. We have moved the OutRun Cancer 5 K to May to avoid the conflict with the March of Dimes event, moved the RITA Championships and Auction to May to avoid the heat of July. The Black Tie Gala remains in July. Two new projects include establishing a Web Site and creating another 5 K event, Caring And Sharing Hope, that will be open to any non-profit organization as a turn-key fundraising event. 2003 concluded with the largest contribution to date, over $ 241,000.00, bring out total to over $ 887,000.00.

As we approach the RITA Black Tie Gala on July 24, 2004, we are halfway through the eight special events for this year. The Gala will, however, mark a special milestone as we pass the $ 1,000,000.00 contribution level that evening.

We finished the year with another record donation exceeding $ 294,000. The largest increase, from the Lexus Champions for Charity Golf Tournament, was the result of Shands Jacksonville partnering with us to help drive the Sponsor revenue. RITA will also be the beneficiary of a major donation from Brumos Mercedes, Brumos Porsche, and Lexus of Jacksonville. We look forward to further enhancing our golf event and the two 5 K Walk / Run events.

2005 was another terrific year of accomplishments. Our first stock donation, our first equipment purchase and record grants were the highlights. One of our first events, the RITA auction held in conjunction with the RITA Championships Women’s Tennis Tournament, got sidelined. After nine years of tremendous efforts, our committee wanted and needed a break. Hurricane Katrina affected our fundraising efforts at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club and had a negative effect on one of our major Sponsors for next year. All of our special fundraising events did well financially and will be continued in 2006. The stock donation allowed us to purchase $170,000 of equipment at a significantly reduced cost. In turn, the equipment was given to the Breast Health Center of Shands Jacksonville. Because of the possibility of further leveraging our event proceeds, we have been working with our local hospital cancer programs to determine their equipment needs and wishes. We then contact major equipment manufacturers to attempt to obtain favorable pricing, terms, and donations to the charity. Our largest Sponsor, Lexus of Jacksonville, along with their sister companies, Brumos Mercedes and Brumos Porsche, has advised us that their commitment from all 2005 new automobile sales to RITA was at $69,000 as of November 30. This incredible show of support for our Mission, our all-volunteer/ no salary or overhead business model, and our innovative money management is greatly appreciated and will be immensely helpful with our New Equipment Program. Financial results for the year included $363,000 in cash grants and $170,000 in equipment. Our total donation to local programs is now $1,644,713. July 2004 saw us surpass the $1,000,000 mark. 2006 should see us surpass the $2,000,000 mark.

2006 marked our tenth year of raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. We continue our special event activity with six major events that additionally include two auctions. Our net revenue was $296,083.33 excluding $2,551.46 in interest earned. In addition, we have accounts receivable of $53,275.83 expected to be received in calendar 2007. There were really two significant achievements during the year. First and foremost, we were able to donate a LORAD Secureview DX digital mammography machine to the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. This unit was purchased directly from LORAD, a Hologic Company, the market leader in this new technology. Our donation, valued at $400,000 represents the largest single donation we have made. Secondly, we have been able to accumulate the money necessary to publish a “NOTEBOOK for the cancer patient”. Funds came from private fundraisers, special gifts, and Memorials.

We anticipate actually having the NOTEBOOK printed by February 2007 and distributed at no cost to all interested local cancer programs. To date, all have been extremely pleased with the NOTEBOOK and are looking forward to being able to include it with other materials for all newly diagnosed patients. This project, along with the iPODS to Mayo and portable DVD players to Baptist, are examples of the special thought and effort given to provide the best long-term use of any special funds received. Funds from our Black Tie Gala were used to purchase equipment for the Baptist Cancer Institute that helps technicians position patients for MRI scans. With 2006 cash grants of $176,439.18 and equipment donations of $380,000, our donations to local cancer programs now total in excess of $2,201,000.

The RITA Foundation, Inc. remains a volunteer organization donating 100 % of our proceeds from our events to local healthcare organizations. Proceeds are specifically designated to be used for breast cancer research and patient-related programs. The goals are to fund medical research, increase awareness of the disease, and help in the prevention of breast cancer. Our funds have been used for establishing a breast cancer genetics screening program, many breast cancer prevention programs, updating medical software, purchasing new technology, assistance to patients who are underserved or uninsured, providing special enhancements to patient treatment, and funding of several local breast cancer support organizations.