The signature event for the Quad Cities is the annual John Deere Classic. It not only brings national and international exposure to the region, but it also provides an impressive amount of charitable donations to nearly 500 nonprofit organizations in the region.
There are few sporting events in the Midwest, maybe the nation, that deliver on that scale. We hope that its success isn’t taken for granted by residents of the region, especially since it has raised a total of $159.57 million for charity since its inception in 1971.
Tournament leaders announced recently that a record $13.9 million dollars was raised via the Birdies for Charity program this year, including a generous 7% bonus on top of donations collected for each charity.
According to the tournament, the $13.9 million fundraising total works out to approximately $37 for each of the Quad Cities’ 375,000 residents. That again makes the JDC the No. 1 tournament in per capita contributions on the regular PGA Tour — a distinction the event has held for more than a decade now.
“It’s something to celebrate here in a community of our size,” said Micaela Booth, the new director of the Birdies for Charity program. “The Quad Cities community really makes all of this happen — and our wonderful sponsor in John Deere and all the supporters of the tournament and the donors and charities who participate.”
Retiring tournament Director Clair Peterson drew a marked distinction between PGA Tour events like this one and the much-discussed Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf league during the record-breaking charitable giving announcement.
The John Deere Classic is about professional athletes and giving back to the community and the region where they compete and LIV is about professional golfers with little regard for the communities where they play.
Special kudos to Deere
Deere & Co. should also be commended for helping make this event a win-win-win. It is a win for regional recognition, charitable donations, while also smartly buttressing Deere’s global brand.
Deere has been the title sponsor of the event since 1998 and 98% of the $159.57 million raised to date has occurred since then.
Additionally, John Deere underwrites the administrative costs of the Birdies for Charity program, which means 100% of the pledges collected go directly to the charities designated by donors.
The tournament sponsor also offers a matching grant for the bonus fund, which consists of tournament revenues, direct undesignated donations and proceeds from special events hosted throughout the year by the JDC. Deere’s matching grant this year was $325,000.
Much is expected of Deere from the region. This is, but one prime example of Deere’s commitment and generosity to the region.