Hundreds of nonprofits in northwestern Illinois and eastern Iowa are getting ready for a big fundraiser. Tuesday morning, the John Deere Classic kicked-off its 2013 Birdies for Charity campaign, three months before the golf tournament.
Kristy Ketcham Jackson, Director of Birdies for Charity, says every year about 500 nonprofits ask supporters to give one penny per birdie scored during the PGA tournament in Silvis. Last year, the total was 6.7 million dollars, including "bonus fund" money from profits and direct donations to the campaign. Last fall, the Deere Classic gave 456,000 dollars from the bonus fund to participating charities.
Bart Baker, tournament chairman, says the volunteer board members work all year long to promote the event. And the more tickets the Deere Classic sells, the more money it can give to Birdies for Charity.
Deere and Company is the title sponsor of the tournament, and this year it's adding an incentive. It will match all direct donations to the Birdies for Charity bonus fund, up to 250,000 dollars.
When people fill out their pledge forms, they also guess how many birdies golfers will score during the Pro-Am and the four days of the classic. The person who gets it exactly right will win a car donated by ten GM dealers.
Disability Assistance Dogs is just one of the groups at the kick-off that will participate this year. (Bottom row of photos : Lily on the left, two members with dogs in the center and Jasper on the right. Top row: Clair Peterson and Kristy Ketcham Jackson, logo on a Chevy and representatives from car dealers.)