NRF Fun Day Raises Nearly $80,000 for Scholarships and Research

The Natural Refrigeration Foundation’s Fun Day during the annual conference featured golf, cornhole, and pickleball, raising $77,000 to support the foundation’s scholarships and research projects. All of the events reached their maximum capacity. “We had 100 golfers, and we had more that were interested that were not able to participate because we were capped by the golf course,” said Yesenia Rector, meetings and international program director for IIAR. “We had 16 teams of two people each for pickleball and 16 teams of two people each for cornhole.”

Trevor Hegg, chairman of the Natural Refrigerant Foundation, said in the past the foundation planned for 80 golfers. He believes the new format of the meeting, which had attendees arriving on Saturday for the committee meetings, enabled more people to participate in Fun Day on Sunday.

“With the success we had, we’re going to plan to reserve the whole course going forward. That will be 128 golfers that you can put on in a shotgun start,” Hegg said, adding that he hopes to see 32 teams each for pickleball and cornhole next year. The number of people taking part in pickleball and cornhole has already increased, tripling over last year. The foundation added the events last year to appeal to non-golfers.

“Pickleball and cornhole seemed like a good idea to encourage the friendly competitiveness and let people just have fun,” Rector said, adding that she hopes to add another activity next year that could appeal to even more attendees. “We could add bingo or something fun that is not physical.”

All three events allowed attendees to connect with those taking part in the different activities. “After the event, it was nice to have the gathering where we could celebrate the champions of the event but, more importantly, celebrate what the NRF does,” Hegg said.

The research the NRF produces is often incorporated into standards, requirements, and guidelines used within the refrigeration industry. “It is key to continue with these research projects because it gives us a way to move forward,” Rector said. “It is important to have these kinds of events. They not only nourish our relationships as an organization but also help develop the future of the industry.

This year, the foundation awarded 20 scholarships. “The quality and caliber of these students speaks volumes to how the scholarship program has grown and continues to grow,” Hegg said. NRF is also looking at developing an internship program through IIAR that would engage top students and connect them with member companies. “I think it will grow where we can offer students internships that they might value more than a scholarship,” Hegg said.