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
World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational has an honorary chairman for the 2017 tournament. Officials announced on Thursday that Tony Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, will chair the tournament next summer.
Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III said in a statement, "Tom Zenty is a well respected, inspirational leader; as CEO of UH, he unwaveringly displays dedication to serve his community and passion for helping people every day. In his 14 years at UH, Zenty has made an undeniable impact on the lives of those in Northeastern Ohio."
The 2017 Bridgestone Invitational run August 2 through August 4 at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
Major Timothy Jenkins hasn't seen his family in about 10 months after being deployed to Kuwait. When he learned he would returning from deployment earlier than planned, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to surprise his family.
As a supporter and volunteer at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational for five years, Jenkins of Avon was thrilled to use it as the location to surprise his wife and four kids during a military appreciation ceremony.
His wife, Rania, was told she would be accepting an award on her husband's behalf for his service as a volunteer. But as she was expecting another holiday weekend without her husband, Major Jenkins was hiding just outside of Firestone Country Club waiting to create a memorable homecoming.
Pro golfer Billy Hurley III was there to announce the surprise during a military appreciation ceremony.
The second round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was a solid one for Australian Jason Day, who is currently in the lead at 4 under par.
Day spoke with the media Friday after his round, and despite some windy conditions early on, he was pleased with his performance on the South Course.
He shot a 69 on Friday, leaving him in sole posession of first heading into Day 3. David Lingmerth of Sweden is behind him at 67.
The world's #1 golfer heading into the tournament at Firestone, Day says he's focused on making sure he stays at that elite level.
Jason's played in the Bridgestone Invitational in previous years, and he knows he just has to play his game in order to be in the conversation down the home stretch.
"I really want to win this tournament, it's been one of the tournaments on my radar for a very long time, and I'm hoping I'm there by Sunday."
Day tees off at 2 p.m. Saturday, where he'll be paired up with (David) Lingmerth.
Day One of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was a successful one for American William McGirt, who shot a 64 in the first round.
McGirt spoke with the media Thursday after his round to talk about his solid start.
"It was a good solid day all around," he said. "Drove it pretty well with the exception of the tee shot on 18."
William knows a little bit about this tournament and some of the past winners, Even though it's early, it's a list he'd love to be on.
The North Carolina native won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in early June.
When asked if there's any similarites between Firestone and Muirfield Village in Dublin, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus, McGirt said he likes both of the courses, which are more traditional in nature.
McGirt has a three stroke lead over three players including Jason Day, who is the world's number one golfer.
Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
As far as his own golf game, Bettis said he enjoys hitting the course whenever he can.
When you're about to start a golf tournament, most people would probably want to take a bite out of the competition. But this player took a bite out of something else.
European golfer Andrew "Beef" Johnston put his nickname to good use and sampled a Gally Boy from Akron favorite Swenson's Drive In at the Bridgestone Invitational Wednesday.
The first round of play at the Bridgestone Invitational begins Thursday morning.