MOLINE, Illinois

The 2012 John Deere Classic helped raise a record $6.79 million for 493 local and regional Quad Cities charities, an unprecedented $1.5 million increase over the previous year, tournament officials announced Wednesday.

Tournament officials also announced that each charity will receive an eight percent bonus over and above the Birdies for Charity pledges collected on their behalf. The bonus is based on tournament revenues, which officials said were strong this year. In addition, Deere & Company made a special donation of $110,075 in honor of its 175th anniversary as a company.

Following the announcements, at the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline, officials began distributing checks to the charities, some of which sent representatives to pick them up in person. Members of the tournament's board of directors personally delivered some checks to various charities. The balance of the checks will be mailed.

"Every year, we are honored to talk about how proud the John Deere Classic is to be the engine for the generosity of one of the nation's most compassionate and caring communities," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. "By increasing this year's charity total by a record $1.5 million to $6.79 million, the people and businesses of the Quad Cities once again have proven their personal and financial commitment to their fellow citizens."

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem expressed his admiration for the John Deere Classic and its charitable efforts.

"The PGA TOUR would like to congratulate the John Deere Classic on its record-setting year of charitable giving in the Quad Cities," said Finchem. "Everyone associated with the event - Deere & Company and other corporate sponsors, tournament staff and volunteers, and the fans who supported the tournament - are to be commended for their efforts in helping those in need."

The total amount donated to the charities is the result of a highly efficient three-pronged fundraising effort:

  • The tournament's Birdies for Charity program enables individuals, companies, and foundations to pledge to a charity of their choice either a minimum of one cent for each birdie recorded at the tournament from Wednesday-Sunday (2,113 birdies this year) or a lump sum donation.
  • Because John Deere underwrites the administrative costs of the Birdies program, 100 percent of each Birdies pledge collected goes to each charity's core mission rather than its administrative, operational, or fundraising activities, which can range from three to four percent or more, depending on the charity.
  • Tournament revenues from the John Deere Classic constitute a bonus pool over and above that which the charities raise via their respective Birdies pledge drives. Each charity receives a second check worth a percentage of its total collected Birdies pledges (eight percent this year). In honor of its 175th anniversary as a company, Deere this year donated $110,075 to the bonus fund, giving $175 for each of the 629 birdies recorded on Saturday and Sunday at the John Deere Classic.

"Every year, John Deere proves what an outstanding corporate citizen it is, and this year they doubled down on that concept," said Birdies for Charity director Kristy Ketcham-Jackson. "Residents of the Quad Cities are fortunate to live in a community where the leading corporation also has a conscience."

This year's record $1.5 million increase breaks the previous record increase of $996,000 set in 2011. More than 20,000 local businesses and individuals participated in the Birdies program.

This year's $6.79 million charitable total works out to $18.11 for each of the 375,000 people living in the Quad Cities area, making the John Deere Classic No. 1 in per-capita charitable giving among regular PGA Tour events, based on its population of 375,000. In addition, despite the Quad Cities' comparatively small population, the John Deere Classic consistently ranks among the top five on Tour in total charitable giving.

The eight percent bonus means that a charity receiving a $10,000 check for its Birdies pledges will receive a second check for an additional $800.

This year's charity number brings to more than $49.08 million the total amount of charitable contributions provided to the Quad Cities community since the PGA TOUR first began its annual run in the Quad Cities in 1971.

Peterson noted that 2011 was the sixth consecutive year in which the John Deere Classic has exceeded $4 million in charity contributions.

Under the Birdies program, individuals and businesses may pledge based on the number of birdies recorded at the John Deere Classic or make a flat dollar donation. One hundred percent of every dollar pledged is distributed to the donors designated charity through Birdies for Charity. Many donors pledge to more than one charity.

This year, Select Chevy dealers provided a new Chevy Malibu as a prize incentive to attract pledges to Birdies for Charity organizations. The John Deere Classic wishes to thank the following Chevy dealers:

  • Bruce Foote Chevrolet, Monmouth, IL
  • Deery Brothers, West Burlington, IA
  • Eriksen Chevrolet, Milan, IL
  • Green Chevrolet, East Moline, IL
  • Kunes Country Auto Group, Mount Carroll, IL
  • Lujack Chevrolet, Davenport, IA
  • McEleney Auto Center, Clinton, IA
  • Mills Chevrolet, Moline, IL
  • Piehl Motors, Princeton, IL
  • Shottenkirk Chevrolet, Mt. Pleasant, IA
  • Yemm Chevrolet, Galesburg, IL

    "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 hundreds of charities we serve in the Quad Cities and neighboring communities," said Ketcham Jackson. "The opportunity for Birdies for Charity donors to win a new Chevy Malibu adds an extra element of fun and excitement to the pledge drive and to tournament week itself."

    PGA TOUR veteran and John Deere Classic executive board member Zach Johnson won the 2012 John Deere Classic on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. It was Johnson's ninth PGA Tour victory and the first for the Cedar Rapids native at the John Deere Classic.

    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 1971, the tournament has helped raise $49.08 million for charity.


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