When you think of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, world class golf comes to mind, but one of the most important aspects of the tournament is the charities that benefit from their generosity.
This year's Charity Challenge golf outing was scrubbed due to rain, but some great sports figures such as former Browns running back Kevin Mack, former Cleveland Indian "Super" Joe Charboneau, and John Hirschbeck, former MLB umpire came to the South Course to say a few words, tell a few golf stories, and talk about what makes this tournament great. Today, Tournament Executive Director Don Padgett III along with the athletes presented a check for $8,000 to Akron Children's Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and Flashes of Hope, who were represented at Firestone Country Club.
Here is audio from Padgett as well as the athletes presenting the check to charity.
That $8,000 came from last year's tournament. In early June, an additional check for more than $1 million was split between 38 local non-profit organizations including the three being represented at Firestone today. John Hirschbeck says this event means a lot to him on a lot of different fronts."It means a lot, because we have our own organization in Youngstown, the Magic of Michael, after our own son, Michael who passed away three years ago, and we've been affiliated with Akron Children's Hospital, trying to raise money and help kids and families facing the 'curve balls 'of life," he says.Retired from umpiring, John says he looks to attend this year's tournament with his wife and see what this year's Bridgestone Invitational is all about.
Former Browns Pro Bowler Kevin Mack, who was invited to hit a shot for University Hospitals said that its an honor for him and other former pro athletes to give back to the community.
"Having been in this area for so long, anytime you have a chance to contribute to any type of charity, you always step forward," he explained.
Mack says he's played Firestone a couple of times over the years and he always thought it was a unique feeling to play where some of the world's greatest golfers have also competed.
Mack played for the Browns from 1985-1993 and now works with the organization in front office.
Charboneau says it's a "great instrument" to have the world's best golfers on a great course and spotlight some great local charities.
"That's what it's all about, helping people," he said.
The tournament runs from August 3rd, through the 6th at the South Course.
Executive Director of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Don Padgett III discussed the new fan amenities coming to the South Course in 2017.
The tournament will be coming to Firestone Country Club August 2-6. Quite a few of the PGA's big names will be playing in this year's event.
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a global event that truly highlights Akron's Firestone Country Club and in turn the entire Northeast Ohio area.
While it's obviously about the sport of golf, there is a much more important effect that is felt among northeast Ohio's non-profit organizations.
During a luncheon at the Bridgestone Akron Technical Center Thursday, a check for more than $1 Million was presented and diviied up between 38 local non-profits, including Akron Children's Hospital, University Hospitals, the LeBron James Family Foundation, the Humane Society of Summit County, and more.
Of the donation, Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III they reason they do it was on display during Thursday's luncheon: "Over a million dollars going back to Northeast Ohio (and) the fantastic causes that we celebrate here today." Padgett says that more than $26 million has been raised for local non-profits since 1984.
Also, for the 7th straight year, Bridgestone Invitational has named a local recipient of the $5,000 "surprise grant." This year's grant goes to Pregnancy Solutions Services in Akron.
See the full press release recapping the grant presentation and highlighting the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational that runs August 2nd through August 6th below:
AKRON, Ohio – The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Northern Ohio Golf Charities today announced the donation of $1 million in charitable funds to Northeast Ohio organizations in connection with the 2016 tournament. The announcement was made at the annual Bridgestone Invitational, Northern Ohio Golf Charities luncheon held at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.
Representatives from Bridgestone Americas, Inc., the PGA TOUR and Northern Ohio Golf Charities attended the luncheon to celebrate the tournament’s charitable mission and announce the donation recipients. The luncheon was emceed by Chris Tye, news anchor and reporter for WKYC, Channel 3.
Thirty-eight charities throughout the region benefitted from the $1,015,981 total raised including the tournament’s two signature charities, Akron Children’s Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
“The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is a special event for this community and the region,” said Rick Burke, President, Executive Committee, Northern Ohio Golf Charities. “It is a world class golf event that generates economic development for the area but more importantly, it enables Northern Ohio Golf Charities to distribute in excess of one million dollars each year to support so many worthy and necessary charitable causes. The tournament has provided Northern Golf Charities the unique opportunity to enhance the lives of so many in our community and we are immensely grateful to our partners Bridgestone, the PGA TOUR and Firestone Country Club for providing our organization a platform to achieve our charitable mission.”
Charities recognized at the luncheon included: Akron Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the LeBron James Family Foundation, The First Tee Chapters of Akron, Canton and Cleveland, Akron Children’s Museum, Akron General Foundation, Embracing Futures, Inc., Summa Foundation and the Humane Society of Summit County. (Please see attached document for a full listing of grant recipients.)
For the seventh year, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., funded an additional $5,000 contribution to a charitable organization. The 2017 Bridgestone Award was presented to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.
“Bridgestone is a global company with global responsibilities, but we understand the importance of supporting and improving the local communities in which we live, work and play,” said Gordon Knapp, CEO & President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “It’s an honor to partner once again with Northern Ohio Golf Charities on the Bridgestone Award, which this year we’re proud to present to Pregnancy Solutions & Services.”
Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation is part of a volunteer organization that has partnered with professional golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club for more than 50 years. During this time, the tournaments have provided more than $26 million to local charities seeking to improve the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.
“Bridgestone and Northern Ohio Golf Charities are phenomenal partners that enable the Bridgestone Invitational to give back to worthy local causes ,” said Don Padgett, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Invitational. “This event has a meaningful impact on the area all year long and we have our fans, area businesses and volunteers to thank for their support.”
Among the guests at the luncheon were: Gordon Knapp, CEO, Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Don Padgett III, Executive Director, Bridgestone Invitational, and Rick Burke, President, Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation, Inc.
Not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) organizations can receive funds generated in conjunction with the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational by submitting a grant request to Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Further details can be found at www.nogcf.org.
Tickets to the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational can be purchased by visiting www.worldgolfchampionships.com or calling 330-644-2299.
The following non-profits split the more than $1M from the 2016 Bridgestone Invitational:
1. 91.3 The Summit 2. Akron Children's Foundation 3. Akron Children's Museum 4. Akron General Foundation (Edwin Shaw Golf) 5. Barberton Area Community Ministries 6. Blessings in a Backpack 7. Cleveland Kids Book Bank 8. East Akron Neighborhood Development 9. Embracing Futures, Inc. 10. Emerald Development & Economic Network 11. Family Promise of Greater Cleveland 12. Flashes of Hope 13. Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary 14. Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity 15. Hiram Farm Living Learning Community 16. Humane Society of Summit County 17. Humility of Mary Housing 18. Interval Brotherhood Home 19. LeBron James Family Foundation 20. Lift Up Ministries 21. Pregnancy Solutions & Services, Inc. 22. RABAB Ministries, The Well Akron 23. Regina Health Center 24. Ronald McDonald House of Akron 25. Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland 26. Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs 27. Stewart's Caring Place 28. Summa Foundation 29. Summit Choral Society 30. Summit Metro Parks 31. The First Tee of Akron 32. The First Tee of Canton 33. The First Tee of Cleveland 34. True Freedom, Inc. 35. Truly Reaching You 36. United Disability Services, Inc. 37. UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital 38. Urban Vision