John Deere Classic officials today announced that this year's tournament helped raise $4.34 million for 500 local and regional charities - the fourth consecutive year the event's charitable total has exceeded $4 million.
Members of the John Deere Classic Board of Directors today hand-delivered a number of checks to various charities, but most will be mailed tomorrow (Oct. 29).
The dollar total includes a tournament bonus of eight percent for each dollar pledged through the highly successful Birdies for Charity Program - an increase from the 2009 bonus of six percent, according to tournament director Clair Peterson.
"The John Deere Classic is extremely proud to be able to help some 500 local and regional charities raise money for their very worthy causes," Peterson told reporters at a news conference at the iwireless Center in downtown Moline. "The fact that our charitable dollars have exceeded $4 million for four consecutive years gives tremendous satisfaction to everyone involved in the event - staff, board members, some 1500 volunteers, and our title sponsor John Deere without whom none of this would be possible. It is especially satisfying to be able to raise this level of funding in the midst of today's challenging economic circumstances."
The $4.34 million total translates to a per-capita contribution of $11.57 for every person living the Quad Cities based on a population of 375,000. Despite its comparatively small population base, the John Deere Classic is one of only a handful of PGA TOUR events to exceed $4 million in charity contributions and is easily the No. 1-ranked tournament for per-capita giving among regular PGA TOUR events. Overall, the John Deere Classic ranks among the top 10 on TOUR in total charity dollars.
Peterson praised tournament sponsor John Deere for underwriting all of the administrative costs of the Birdies for Charity Program, meaning that 100 percent of Birdies pledges go to charity.
Under the Birdies program, donors typically pledge one cent for each birdie recorded during the tournament and the Wednesday pro-am. In 2010, a total of 2,010 birdies were recorded, meaning many donors wrote a check for $20.10 for each charity or charities to which they pledged. Many donors pledge to more than one charity. Others make significant lump sum pledges.
As in 2009, the following group of local Chevrolet dealers provided a new Camaro as a prize incentive to attract pledges to Birdies for Charity organizations:
- Eriksen Chevrolet, Milan, Ill.
- Green Chevrolet, East Moline, Ill.
- Mills Chevrolet, Moline, Ill.
- Piehl Motors, Princeton, Ill.
- Shottenkirk Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Pleasant, Ia.
- Yemm Chevrolet, Galesburg, Ill.
"Birdies for Charity is extremely grateful that this group of local Chevrolet dealers have made such a strong commitment to our program and to the 500 charities we serve in the Quad Cities and neighboring communities," Ketcham said. "The opportunity for Birdies for Charity donors to win a new Chevrolet Camaro adds an extra element of fun and excitement to the pledge drive and to tournament week itself."
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem praised the John Deere Classic for generating a consistently high level of charitable contributions.
"The PGA TOUR would like to congratulate the John Deere Classic on its continued achievement in charitable giving," Finchem said. "Everyone associated with the event - Deere & Company and other corporate sponsors, tournament staff and volunteers, and the countless fans who supported the tournament - are to be commended for their outstanding efforts in helping those in need in the Quad Cities."
PGA TOUR veteran Steve Stricker won the 2010 John Deere Classic at Tournament Players Club Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. with a record score of 26-under par 258 on rounds of 60-66-62-70. He was the first repeat champion since David Frost in 1993.
The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinois. Since 1993, the tournament has helped raise $32 million for charity.