Golf Charity News August 16, 2022
Charity is at the heart of golf: professional events are staged for the benefit of charities; local outings support innumerable smaller, but no less important causes; the sport — the lifestyle — are leveraged in every conceivable way.
Here are two golf charity stories that recently have come across my desk:
Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give to Donate $25,000 to Kids’ Food Basket on Behalf of Champion Jennifer Kupcho After Record-Setting Community Support
2022 Meijer LPGA Classic achieved highest fundraising total, attendance in event history
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer is pleased to announce that it’s making a $25,000 donation to Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids for the second consecutive year on behalf of Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give Champion Jennifer Kupcho.
This donation comes after the highest fundraising total in tournament history and supports a tradition that started last year to support a hunger relief program of the champion’s choice. In 2021, Champion Nelly Korda also elected to give the surprise $25,000 donation to Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket.
“It speaks volumes to the spectacular community support these players feel during tournament week that two consecutive champions would choose to keep their donation in Grand Rapids,” Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. “Our spectators, volunteers and business partners make the tournament experience one of the best on the tour – not just for our community but clearly for the players, as well.”
Beyond the tournament’s $1.25 million donation to Simply Give, the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic also set attendance records with more than 60,000 spectators and 1,000 volunteers throughout the week.
Included in those 60,000 spectators was the Bouwkamp family, who live near Blythefield Country Club and have hosted Kupcho, and her husband, in their home for the last two tournaments. Kupcho chose to support Kids’ Food Basket as a thank you to her host family, who have a special tie to the organization.
“I learned about this incredible organization from the host family that I’ve stayed with during tournament week for the past 2 years, as my host Damon Bouwkamp works at Kids’ Food Basket,” Kupcho said. “The efforts they’re leading to increase access to healthy foods for children and foster food equity in this community are amazing and having this personal connection to the organization makes this even more special to me.”
Bouwkamp said her choice to donate to Kids’ Food Basket came as a welcome surprise but credits the West Michigan community for inspiring her decision, not just his family.
“Jennifer is a great golfer, but now she’s also shown her great heart for West Michigan,” said Bouwkamp, Manager of Volunteer Services at Kids’ Food Basket. “In her last 2 years staying with us and competing in the tournament, she’s seen what our community is about – caring for each other.”
A long-time partner of Kids’ Food Basket, Meijer donated $1 million to the children’s food equity nonprofit in March to support the expansion of Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Meijer Weekend Meal Program.
“For more than 10 years, Kids’ Food Basket has partnered with Meijer to nourish kids to reach their full potential in school and in life, while helping to break down the barriers to food equity in our community. We are so inspired by and grateful for this incredible gift from Jennifer Kupcho,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, President and Founding CEO of Kids’ Food Basket. “Through this gift Jennifer continues to showcase how to be a role model for kids in local communities and demonstrates that we can all use our talents to work toward a greater good. This donation helps increase healthy food access for children and families in our West Michigan communities, which is needed now more than ever.”
Tournament officials credit the remarkable community support they receive as the primary driving factor for the tournament’s ongoing success.
“Our tournament is a testament to our community and our collective commitment to supporting each other here in West Michigan,” said Cathy Cooper, Executive Director of the Meijer LPGA Classic. “On behalf of everyone involved in the tournament, we’d like to thank our community, business and nonprofit partners for making this donation and all our donations possible.”
Next year’s tournament will take place over Father’s Day weekend on June 15-18, 2023.
About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 262 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer has a fundamental philosophy aimed at strengthening the communities it serves and proudly donates more than 6 percent of its net profit each year to charities throughout the Midwest. With hunger as a corporate philanthropic focus, Meijer partners with hundreds of food banks and pantries through its Simply Give and food rescue programs. Meijer also supports education, disaster relief, and health and wellness initiatives. For additional information on Meijer philanthropy, please visit www.meijercommunity.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.
ClubsHelp Foundation Raises Over $150,000 For Employees of Oakland Hills Country Club
The Power of Clubs and the Golf Industry Showcased in Time of Need
From disaster and ashes comes generosity and the collective power of the club industry to support Oakland Hills Country Club employees impacted by February’s devastating clubhouse fire.
ClubsHelp, a 501(c)3 Foundation, in cooperation with the National Club Association (NCA) and Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation raised over $150,000 in two months.
Tapping into their mutual golf industry networks of golf course owners, club managers, golf course architects, golf professionals, members, media, and corporate partners, the three organizations pooled resources and presented the check this week to representatives of Oakland Hills Country Club (OHCC).
Rob Goulet, President and Co-Founder of ClubsHelp said, “This effort is a tremendous example of what can happen when the club industry comes together and lends support in times of need, which is ClubsHelp’s mission. Whether it’s a natural disaster or something directly impacts a club or community, that’s why we’re here.”
Oakland Hills Country Club has determined to best support its employees by compensating all hourly employees who have had work hours reduced, or season start dates delayed until the interim facilities at Oakland Hills Country Club are in place.
According to Richard Palmer, OHCC President, “Oakland Hills Country Club paid all staff for their scheduled work hours from their planned season start date, so their compensation remains unaffected by the fire.”
Immediately following the clubhouse fire, ClubsHelp pledged $15,000 and offered its online fundraising donation platform to the industry to consolidate donations. Individual clubs stepped to the forefront as did various chapters of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), club foundations, and private donors.
Additionally, the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation contributed $34,008 to the fund, the largest single donation.
“In carrying forward the Palmer legacy, we are proud to support our friends in golf, as well as care for those who are integral to a place important to the history of this great game,” said Ken Boehner, President and Chair of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation. “The support from the foundation and our donors was made to honor the historic connection between Arnold Palmer and Oakland Hills by supporting the dedicated people who have helped make it a national treasure.”
ClubsHelp was formed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist frontline workers secure difficult-to-get PPE and food supplies. Since then, legendary golfers Jack Nicklaus and Ernie Els have lent their support, as well as some of America’s top clubs (Seminole, Desert Mountain), and generous corporate partners (Clif Bar, Ahead).
For additional information about ClubsHelp, access the web site at www.clubshelp.org.