Palm Beach Fifth-Grader Holds Golf Classic to Benefit the Poor

A young golfer inspired to help the poor is taking his passion for philanthropy to the links he loves. Fifth-grader Rafe Cochran will be hosting his inaugural golf tournament on Friday, April 22, 2016, to build homes for destitute families in Haiti through the international relief and development organization Food For The Poor.

“It’s a fun and exciting way to bring people together to raise money for Food For The Poor. I felt my passion for golf was a great way to bring awareness,” said Rafe. “I am so happy to raise this money. It is such a pleasure to see houses built in Haiti and to see the families whose lives are being changed. I feel I am so fortunate, so I want to help others.”

The 11-year-old attends Palm Beach Day Academy in Palm Beach, Fla., and is no stranger to the greens or to giving back. Rafe fell in love with golfing at the age of 6. He later joined the U.S. Kids Tour, where he routinely finished among the top competitors in his age group. In 2012, he competed in the European Open in Scotland with 40 of the best 7-year-olds in the world. Since then, he has competed and continues to compete in countless golf tournaments internationally and nationally.

When Rafe was 9, he became one of Food For The Poor’s youngest donors when he gave a donation to the charity to build two homes for families in Ganthier, Haiti. He achieved that goal by having his generous supporters pledge $100 for pars, $200 for birdies and $250 for eagles during one of his tournaments. Last year, when he was 10, he presented another check to the charity to benefit a family in Thomazeau, Haiti.

Now, on Friday, April 22 at 1 p.m., the first ever Rafe Cochran Golf Classic will be held at the Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, 9697 Mayacoo Club Dr., West Palm Beach, Fla. Proceeds from the tournament will go toward building homes and relocating families from an area known as Alpha Village, which is located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. It is a small, but overcrowded community situated between the sea and a garbage dump where families are living in tents without access to clean water or sanitation.

“This young man’s compassion for the poor is amazing, humbling and heart-warming. He’s making a tremendous impact in the lives of people he has never met,” said Robin Mahfood, President and CEO of Food For The Poor. “Rafe is a talented young golfer who has a bright future ahead of him. It’s refreshing to meet a young person who understands that he possesses a special talent and is willing to use that skill to make the world a better place, not only for himself, but for others in need. In behalf of those families in Haiti, we say thank you, and may the blessings of our Lord be with Rafe and his family.”

Rafe’s parents are both longtime supporters of a number of charities. His mother, Diahann, is a fashion designer and his father, Jay, is a professional racecar driver. They both say they are extremely proud of their son, who first learned about Food For The Poor when his third-grade class visited the organization’s headquarters in Coconut Creek, Fla., in 2013.

“We are very supportive of our son and we’re very proud of him for finding a cause he strongly wants to support, not one that we’ve chosen for him,” said Diahann.

Rafe says he had the idea of hosting a fundraising golf tournament a year ago, but never thought it would come true because he’s only a little boy. He now has some grown-up words of advice for other kids his age.
“You’re never too young to take action and I feel you need to go for what you believe in. So remember a little goes a long way, helping in any way will make a difference,” said Rafe. “I am hoping the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic will be an annual event to raise money for Food For The Poor.”

For registration information for the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic please contact Kyra Poulos at 954-427-2222 ext. 6634 or at [email protected]. Registration and a light lunch start at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

To help Rafe build more homes for families in desperate need, checks payable to Food For The Poor can be mailed to 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Fla. 33073. Please include reference number “SC# 108863” to ensure your donation is correctly routed.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit

About the author

Staff Writer