Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players Will Raise $50M for Area Kids; PGA Commissioner Hopes Campaign Sparks More Fundraising for Children

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players Will Raise $50M for Area Kids; PGA Commissioner Hopes Campaign Sparks More Fundraising for Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

The Players Championship announced Wednesday it will spend the next 10 years raising $50 million for the children of Northeast Florida.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said he hopes The Players' "laser-like" focus on children serves as a rallying cry for all of Northeast Florida to join forces in addressing the needs of children.

"More and more, the future of economic stability, economic growth, our competitiveness in a global economy is directly and intrinsically linked with our ability to educate kids," Finchem said.

The Players has raised about $27 million for charity in the past 10 years, with $15 million of that going to youth-related programs.

Finchem said the tournament will continue supporting charities in other areas, but will grow the charitable impact on children.

Matt Rapp, executive director of The Players, said there aren't any plans to give money directly to school districts, but programs that work with school districts would benefit.

The new drive has some of the area's heaviest hitters behind it, including Hugh Greene, chairman of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce; Gary Chartrand, chairman of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund; Steven Wallace, president of Florida State College of Jacksonville; and Crystal Jones, executive director of Teach for America Jacksonville.

"What's happening here today is a very loud statement on behalf of The Players to our community," Chartrand said. "This is a statement that's being made by The Players that says we're going to reinvest in the children of our community because that's our future. It's a big day."

One example of The Players' new focus on children is the addition of new youth-related charities to their popular Birdies For Charity program.

The campaign will look to support programs and initiatives around education, health and wellness, and character development.

Finchem said not only can the tournament help raise money for children, but it can also raise awareness of the challenges they face and successful programs tackling those challenges. …

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