PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL -- Honda Classic Cares Week kicks off today as a celebration of 11 consecutive years of record charitable giving to South Florida children's charities.
The Honda Classic is awarding a record $3.63 million to 133 local organizations which benefit children, $420,000 or 13.1% more than the $3.21 million that was distributed in 2016. The lives of more than 32,000 kids and their families in the local community will be positively impacted this year by the charitable rewards of the PGA TOUR event.
Children's Healthcare Charity, Inc., the host organization of The Honda Classic, will make the distributions during a week-long series of Honda Classic Cares site visits that begin today and also at the tournament's annual Celebration of Philanthropy which will be held June 15.
The $3.63 million being awarded to charity this year includes a second-consecutive individual grant of $1 million to the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. It is also more than $1 million higher than The Honda Classic awarded just two years ago ($2.55 million / 2015), demonstrating a continuation of the immense growth the PGA TOUR event has crafted since moving to PGA National Resort & Spa in 2007.
The Honda Classic has given more than $35 million to South Florida children's charities since its inception 36 years ago including more than $20 million in the 11 years since Children's Healthcare Charity, Inc. took over the event.
"We couldn't be more ecstatic that we once again are able to touch more lives in the community with our philanthropic efforts," Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. "Honda Classic Cares Week gives us an opportunity to take a step back and visit our grant recipients and touch the powerful impact that we are making in tandem with our great partners, sponsors and the golf fans of South Florida who support The Honda Classic each year."
Some of the initiatives evolving from The Honda Classic's charity disbursements this year range from summer camp opportunities for low-income children in Jupiter through El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center to support of the Kids' Club at Florida Outreach Center for the Blind. The Honda Classic contributes toward the purchase of baby formula for the emergency pantry at Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County and helps fund vision tests for kids at Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. Tournament funds also contribute toward the research efforts of Stop! Children's Cancer of Palm Beach County involving the use of botanical extracts in pediatric brain tumor patients and toward helping the Tiger Woods Foundation fund the education of students learning to design video games at the Florida TGR Learning Lab.
Several charities are receiving proceeds from the American Honda Birdies for Children program, where fans donate for the chance to guess the number of birdies in the tournament. Thirteen finalists will participate in a drawing June 15 for a 2017 Honda Civic EX-L. They each correctly guessed the total of 1,361 birdies recorded at the 2017 Honda Classic.
When The Honda Classic moved to PGA National Resort & Spa in 2007, it awarded $505,000 to charity. By 2010, it had eclipsed the $1 million mark ($1,018,000) and it broke through the $2 million barrier in 2013 with $2.114 million in contributions. It surpassed the $3 million barrier last year.
The growth is a testament to American Honda's 36 years as the longest-standing title sponsor on the PGA TOUR as well as partnerships with PGA National Resort & Spa, PGA of America, Palm Beach County, the City of Palm Beach Gardens and the PGA TOUR along with the support from Founders Club sponsors Tire Kingdom and United Technologies, and more than 200 other community-minded local sponsors. Player, corporate and spectator support has led to increased ticket sales, parking revenues, concessions and sponsorships. The Honda Classic has also benefitted the past two years from marquee champions Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler.
"Our continued success is a tribute to the immense commitment from American Honda, our two founding partners Tire Kingdom and United Technologies, other sponsors, volunteers and our great fan base that continues to support the tournament each and every year," Kennerly said. "Together they allow us to keep raising the bar on what we can accomplish for kids who deserve the care and opportunities that our charity partners create for them."
The 2018 Honda Classic will be played February 19-25, 2018 with Fowler defending his title.