Palm Beach County’s only PGA TOUR event – The Honda Classic – has awarded a record-breaking $5.35 million to 103 South Florida philanthropic organizations in 2020, the 14th consecutive year that the event has been able to increase its impact on the lives of local children and their families.
The Honda Classic has now surpassed $50 million in charitable contributions as American Honda approaches its 40th year as title sponsor of the PGA TOUR event, including almost $35 million in the 14 years since Children’s Healthcare Charity, Inc. became the host organization and moved the event to PGA National Resort and Spa. The $5.35 million is up from the $5.1 million distributed in 2019 and is impacting more than 91,000 children and their families this year in Palm Beach County.
The money was distributed during Honda Classic Cares Week, June 22-26, which was held virtually for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament’s annual Celebration of Philanthropy on June 25 held via WebEx with a virtual drawing taking place among four finalists in the Birdies for Children program for a new 2020 Honda Insight Hybrid vehicle. Fans donate each year for the chance to guess the number of birdies in the tournament. Forty-eight entrants each correctly guessed the total of 1,172 birdies recorded at the 2020 Honda Classic. The field was pared via drawing to four individuals who participated in the virtual event to determine a winner.
“We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve with another record distribution to so many charities which benefit children in the Palm Beach County area,” Honda Classic Executive Director Kenneth R. Kennerly said. “But while we feel that it is fine to celebrate this success, our hearts and prayers go out to everybody suffering through these tough times and we don’t want to overshadow the tremendous need of those people and their families.
“We hope that this $5.35 million touches a great number of them. We were fortunate that we were able to hold our tournament two weeks before the world shut down.”
The $5.35 million awarded included a grant of $1.4 million to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, the fifth-consecutive year the Foundation has received more than $1 million from Honda Classic Cares.
“That’s fantastic,” Jack Nicklaus said. “Honda is the longest-running sponsor on the PGA TOUR and has been such a great sponsor. We are all indebted and appreciate everything that The Honda Classic does year after year.”
“The Honda Classic moving to Palm Beach County was the catalyst to us starting the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation,” Barbara Nicklaus said. “We are so proud to be involved. More than $1 million for each of the last five years has impacted a lot of families through the Foundation and will continue to do so.”
The Honda Classic Cares mission of giving back to the children of the community is reflected by more than 80% of all distributed funds being allocated to improving pediatric services.
Along with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation grant, Bella’s Angels, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Florida Outreach Center for the Blind, Healthy Mothers & Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County, Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, Pediatric Oncology Support Team (P.O.S.T), and Quantum House are also receiving grants in that category.
Needs that evolved because of the pandemic were not a criteria for funds from The Honda Classic, but the tournament was able to provide a separate gift of $62,500 to Palm Beach County Schools to help fund the purchase of laptops for children studying at home, in addition to the $205,077 provided to The Glades Initiative in Belle Glade through a grant and the Birdies for Children program. Those funds are helping Glades Initiative manage its growing needs which include weekly food distribution to more than 200 families in the Belle Glade area impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to The Glades Initiative – which includes the Glades Area Food Bank, Nutritional Education and Residential Navigational services – The Honda Classic continued to make a special effort in Western Palm Beach through additional grants to The Literacy Coalition, Young Singers, Student Aces, and Hope Symphony.
Honda Classic Cares will be aligning with educational initiatives throughout Palm Beach and Martin County through Adopt-A- Family, Artist Showcase, Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Education Foundation, Els for Autism, Hobe Sound Early Learning Center, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, TGR- Tiger Woods Foundation, Suits for Seniors and Urban Youth Impact.
“The continued support we receive from the Palm Beach County community, our sponsors led by American Honda, the longest-standing sponsor on the PGA TOUR, and the players who embrace our event and our volunteers continues to allow us to extend our charitable reach each year,” Kennerly said. “This year’s virtual Honda Classic Cares Week gives us a platform to celebrate our grant recipients and view the powerful impact that we are making on the lives of children in the local community.”
The growth of the Honda Classic’s charitable donations is a testament to American Honda’s 39 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.
The growth of this year’s Honda Class Cares grant allocations was fueled by expanded sponsor and charity participation at the 2020 tournament where 22-year-old South Korean golfer Sungjae Im won his first PGA TOUR event. Im is currently the top-ranked player in the PGA TOUR Fed Ex Cup standings.
The 2021 Honda Classic will be played March 18-21, 2021 at PGA National Resort & Spa.