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Birdies for Charity Breaks Record

Zach Wilson, WVIK News
John Deere Classic Tournament Director Clair Peterson (right) flips over the numbers to reveal this year's fundraising total. Sean McGuire (left) is the Volunteer Chairman of the tournament.

Birdies for Charity has raised its highest total ever. Thanks to last summer's John Deere Classic, $13.82 million will be distributed to over 540 local charities, beating last year's record by nearly $400,000.

The announcement was made on Thursday at John Deere World Headquarters in Moline. Tournament Director Clair Peterson says it is the most important day of the year for the classic.

Credit Zach Wilson, WVIK News
At John Deere World Headquarters on Thursday, representatives from various charities walk up to receive checks from Birdies for Charity.

"We're most visible certainly during July, during tournament week, but our main mission as our own 501c3 is to raise money for charity."

Each of the charities will also receive a 7.25 percent bonus in addition to the donations for Birdies for Charity. Volunteer Chairman Sean McGuire says the money raised for the "bonus fund" comes from charitable events and direct donations.

"The John Deere Foundation makes a generous donation to our bonus fund. We have numerous individuals and businesses who donate directly to the bonus fund knowing that their donations will be used to benefit all 542 charities. It's a very efficient way to help many charities by making just one donation."

The tournament ranks third on the PGA Tour for the amount of money raised for charity, and is number one for per capita giving.

Since its inception in 1971, the tournament has raised over $120 million, with 98 percent of that collected since John Deere took over the title sponsorship in 1998.