Charlotte PGA Tour Stop a Boon for Charities; Milwaukee Event Shutters After 42 Years

PGA Tour 150After 42 years, the PGA Tour stop in Milwaukee will come to end. The Milwaukee Golf Charities board of directors has voted to dissolve the organization that ran the annual event after sponsor U.S. Bank declined to pick up a three-year option.

The charity component is one of the greatest appeals to a PGA Tour stop. In 2009, the Milwaukee event was able to contribute $520,000 to area charities (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 10/15).

In Charlotte: The 2009 Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte garnered $1.6 million in donations to area organizations, including $800,000 to Teach For America in Charlotte, $150,000 to Levine Children’s Hospital and $100,000 to The First Tee of Charlotte. In the past seven years, the event has contributed upwards of $11 million and assisted in providing awareness for various organizations.

Teach For America has been the tournament’s primary charitable beneficiary since 2003. During that time, the organization has received more than $7 million from tournament proceeds to support its national efforts to expand educational opportunity. [Read more…]

Paula Creamer Joins The First Tee’s Young Ambassadors Council as Co-Chair

The First Tee 150LPGA pro Paula Creamer has become an ambassador for The First Tee, serving as co-chair of the program’s new Young Ambassadors Council launched last month. Creamer is the second professional golfer to commit to this new initiative and will serve alongside PGA TOUR pro Anthony Kim. The Young Ambassadors Council formalizes professional player involvement with The First Tee in their hometowns, at tournament sites, fundraisers and special events.

“I enjoy teaching young golfers today because I can relate my own experiences with them,” said Creamer. “There is so much more to the game and The First Tee Young Ambassadors Council is a tremendous opportunity to be involved in teaching these important life lessons. The council provides an ideal platform for other professionals to become more actively involved in The First Tee” (The First Tee).

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

Golf takes the top this week, with the Mike Weir Foundation being named an official charity of the RBC Canadian Open. Plus, Tiger’s foundation announced a matching donations effort. Also after the jump, bytes on Michael Phelps, Athletics for Kids and reader suggestions from the West Coast.

Mike Weir Foundation

Mike Weir: RBC and the Royal Canadian Golf Association announced the Mike Weir Foundation as a national charity partner for the RBC Canadian Open. The inaugural Mike Weir Charity Classic will be added to the lineup of tournament week activities for the July 20-26 RBC Canadian Open in Ontario.

RBC President & CEO Gordon Nixon: “A critical component of our being title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open is to ensure we are generating charitable legacies in our communities. Creating the Mike Weir Charity Classic during tournament week is an important step towards this objective and will help improve children’s wellness across Canada.” [Read more…]

Colin Powell Addresses The First Tee During Network Meeting; Folds of Honor Foundation Helping Vets

Colin Powell with The First Tee

The First Tee concluded its biennial network meeting with a gala dinner event March 1 in San Jose. General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and founder of America’s Promise Alliance, with whom The First Tee partnered in 2008, served as the keynote speaker at the dinner.

Powell: “I have been involved in a number of youth-serving programs and I don’t know of any that have grown as rapidly and firmly as The First Tee. Your success, however, rests with the simple reality that you are serving a real need in our society.” [Read more…]

Milwaukee PGA Event Partners With Wisconsin Hospital

PGA Tour

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, one of the highest rated pediatric centers in the country, has been named a major beneficiary of the PGA Tour’s U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin President & CEO Peggy Troy said, “This unique partnership brings together two organizations invested in our community to team up for kids and their families in Wisconsin. [Read more…]

PGA Tour Sets Another Record in 2008, But Anticipates Challenges in 2009 Amid Economy

PGA Tour

The PGA Tour announced yesterday that the organization and its tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour collectively generated another record amount for charity in 2008, with a total of $124 million.
This brings the TOUR’s all-time charity total to nearly $1.38 billion.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem: “Even as the economic conditions worsened, our tournaments did a terrific job of generating revenue to achieve another record year for charitable giving. We are extremely proud of the job each of these tournaments has done under particularly trying economic circumstances.”

Impact of Current Economy: Finchem acknowledged that it will be particularly challenging for tournaments to match the charity levels achieved in 2008 until there is a clear turnaround in the economy. While the overall charity total likely will decline this year, Finchem noted the continued efforts of the more than 100 tournaments on all three Tours still will result in significant support of worthy causes throughout the country.

A Word to Players: Finchem also has asked players to become more aware of what individual tournaments are doing for their local charities and to look for opportunities to emphasize and support these efforts.
Finchem: “The work they do truly is remarkable and too often is underappreciated on a broad, national scale. We plan to refocus our efforts to tell the stories of how they are changing people’s lives, as well as position ourselves for future growth when the economy improves” (PGA Tour).

Conroy Helping Flames Program; Walter and The First Tee; Zorich Talks to Students

Craig Conroy

In Calgary, Kathy Mccormick writes that Calgary Flames C Craig Conroy, the official player spokesperson for the Flames Foundation for Life, participated in a charity event today in support of the foundation’s Calgary Flames Even Strength Program.

The program “helps fund registration fees for hockey programs for underprivileged families” (Kathy Mccormick, Calgary Herald, 1/31). Read the entire story from the Calgary Herald

The First Tee: Paraplegic golfer and trick shot artist Dennis Walters will represent The First Tee at several PGA Tour tournaments and other scheduled events in 2009. As part of the partnership, Walters will serve as a spokesman for The First Tee, helping to communicate the mission and values of The First Tee during nearly 100 Dennis Walters Golf Shows throughout 2009, including four PGA Tour events. He will also make special guest appearances at three Chapters of The First Tee.

Walters, an honorary PGA member, suffered a golf cart accident 34 years ago that left him a paraplegic. Since 1977, he has traveled the country devoting his life to entertaining and inspiring others through his motivational shows (The First Tee).

Going to School: Michigan’s WNDU-NBC reports that as part of Catholic Schools Week, former NFL player Chris Zorich talked to local high school students about charity. Zorich “shared his story of growing up the poor child of a single mother on the south side of Chicago, and how he was able to get out and change his life.” Zorich “wanted them to understand how a little help can go a long way” (WNDU-NBC, 1/31). Read the entire piece from WNDU-NBC

Photo credit: Calgary Flames

Doral’s Tickets Fore Charity Program a Boon for Charities and The First Tee

Tickets Fore Charity

In South Florida, Sarah Talalay reports that The World Golf Championships-CA Championship officially kicked off its Tickets Fore Charity program today.

The golf tournament, scheduled for March 9-15, “is offering charities a chance to sell reduced price weekly and daily grounds passes and weekly clubhouse passes as a way to benefit their charities.” The proceeds from the sales “will be split with 75% going to the charity and 25% to The First Tee, the World Golf Foundation’s charity aimed at providing golf facilities and education for young people.”

The program “helps in two ways: discounted tickets and dollars for charity, both of which are welcome during the recession.”

WGC CA Championship Executive Director Eddie Carbone: “In these tough economic times, the CA Championship is more committed than ever to assisting local organizations with their fundraising efforts. We’d like to invite charities throughout South Florida to join us in enhancing and enriching our local communities by participating in Tickets Fore Charity” (Sarah Talalay, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1/29). Read the entire article from the Sun-Sentinel

Jack Nicklaus Being Recognized for Charity Work With Children at Golf Writers Awards

Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation

The Columbus Post-Dispatch reports that golf legend Jack Nicklaus will receive the Charlie Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America at its annual awards dinner April 8 in Augusta, Ga. Nicklaus “is being recognized for four decades of charitable work with children.”

Nicklaus created the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which provides pediatric health-care services in Florida. Meanwhile, the Memorial Tournament, which Nicklaus founded in 1976, supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in addition to other charitable organizations in Ohio (Columbus Post Dispatch, 1/28). Read the entire article from Columbus Post-Dispatch

Bob Hope Classic Nets $1.8 Million for Charities; Writer Suggests Creative Solution

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic

In California, Stacy Wiedmaier reports that “more than three dozen local charities … were awarded $1.8 million” recently from the PGA Tour Bob Hope Chrysler Classic representatives. Wiedmaier adds that “about 60 charities apply for help” each year, and “an evaluation committee decides which charities to fund after studying financial statements, learning who and how many people they serve, and visiting the sites.”

The tournament’s Administrative Director, Dawn Suggs, said, “The first year we awarded around $15,000. We have built an extensive history and strong relationships with many organizations. This is what we work for all year.” The organizers have “awarded … more than $47 million since the tournament began in 1960” (Stacy Wiedmaier, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/23). Read the entire article from the Palm Springs Desert Sun

Player Donations? In Florida, Garry Smits writes under the header, “The PGA Tour and the Economy: Five Things I Would Do.” For No. 3 on the list, Smits borrows from Golf World’s Ron Sirak. Smits: “Ron Sirak of Golf World had this idea: to make sure the Tour’s charities don’t lose contributions because corporate hospitality, pro-am sales or ticket sales decline, every player should donate 2 percent of his winnings in every tournament he enters to that event’s signature charity. If he missed the cut, make it $500. First of all, they can afford it. Second of all, can you imagine the public relations boost the players would get?” (Garry Smits, Florida Times-Union, 1/23). Read the entire article from the Florida Times-Union

Bosh Teams with B&G Club; Progress on Omar Campaign; Nash’s Auction; Tiger’s Tourney

Chris Bosh

Toronto Raptors F Chris Bosh has been named national spokesperson for the Boys & Club of Canada. During a November game against the Celtics, Bosh donated $75,000 to the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Canada. The money will be used to support an arts and culture grants program for children and youth who attend the clubs. As part of the effort, Bosh will appear in a national PSA campaign that BGCC has developed to help increase donor support. The campaign will highlight the positive impact the organization has on 200,000 children and youth across Canada annually in offering programs that promote their healthy physical, educational and social development.

This season, a Chris Bosh Foundation ticket program will reward youth that are active in the classroom and the community. Each home game, the foundation brings a worthy group of youth to attend the game. During some games of the season, youth also are able to meet Chris after the game (Chris Bosh Foundation).

Give Omar Life Campaign Update: One week into Alonzo Mourning Charities’ and Zo’s Fund for Life’s “Give Omar Life” campaign raised $129,000 in the effort to give a life-saving organ transplant to three-year-old Omar. There is still $171,000 to be raised to reach the organization’s goal (Alonzo Mourning Charities).

Nash Auction: Phoenix Suns G Steve Nash launched the Steve Nash Foundation’s first All-Star Auction. Proceeds from the Auction will benefit the Steve Nash Foundation’s work, specifically its early childhood education and development initiative in Arizona.

Nash: “Instead of relying on an outside company to handle auctions, we’re excited to be able to use the technology built into our own website to augment our ability to grow our reach and help more and more kids. With the NBA All-Star game in Phoenix this year, I’m especially looking forward to getting to meet the auction bidders at the events we have planned during the weekend — it’s a pretty unique opportunity to mesh my playing career with my off-court passion for philanthropy” (Steve Nash Foundation).

Tiger’s Tourney: Tiger Woods is hosting the Chevron World Challenge, now in its 10th year, this December 17-21 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The tournament will help raise money for programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation, including the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Orange County. The Tiger Woods Foundation’s mission is to empower young people to dream big and to set specific goals to achieve their dreams (Tiger Woods Foundation).

Photo credit: Chris Bosh Foundation

NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson Receives March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year Award

March of  Dimes

The March of Dimes has named NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson as Sportsman of the Year and LPGA player Lorena Ochoa as Sportswoman of the Year.

Johnson was honored this afternoon at the 25th Annual March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year Luncheon in New York. Johnson was joined by NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer (Corporate Leadership Award) and MLS Commissioner Don Garber (Sports Leadership Award). The luncheon was held in conjunction with NASCAR’s Championship Week (March of Dimes).