Even the fiercest PGA TOUR fans may not be fully aware of the charitable impact of events such as the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Net proceeds from sales of PGA TOUR event tickets, food, beverages and more go to charities in the host communities. So when this year’s Zurich Classic was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a potential funding gap loomed for nonprofits such as Blessings in a Backpack and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation at a time of intensifying need.
Consider that the Zurich Classic of New Orleans has generated over $21 million for nonprofits in Louisiana since 2005, when Zurich North America, one of the largest providers of insurance to businesses and individuals, became title sponsor. The cancellation of this year’s event, which was scheduled for April 23-26, would seem to mean no proceeds.
But in what the PGA TOUR announced as “an unprecedented move,” Zurich has worked to ensure this year’s contributions to the event’s primary charity, the Fore!Kids Foundation, will match a typical year of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. That means an infusion of more than $1.5 million for the Fore!Kids Foundation to award to nonprofits in Louisiana, to match last year’s direct tournament donations.
“We’re happy to say the cancellation of this year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans isn’t the end of the story,” said Zurich North America CEO Kathleen Savio. “We’re honored to work with the PGA TOUR and the Fore!Kids Foundation to continue the tradition of giving to nonprofits in New Orleans, so that they can continue to help people during a critical time of need.”
The Fore!Kids Foundation, whose mission is to help kids through golf, supports approximately 200 organizations that help families in Louisiana. Beneficiaries include the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, which provides crisis grants for hospitality workers, many of whom are not working because of the COVID-19 pandemic and may not have adequate benefits and insurance.
Another beneficiary is Blessings in a Backpack, which has expanded its mission from feeding kids on the weekend to feeding them while schools are closed during the COVID-19 shutdown. St. Michael Special School in New Orleans, for students with special needs, also will receive Zurich Classic funding it has counted on for many years.
The Zurich Classic Community Impact Awards went forward this year in a virtual ceremony, where Savio announced the awards to the Bright School for the Deaf and Raphael Village for children and young adults who are differently abled.
Delivering on the Zurich Classic’s usual charitable contributions meshes with Zurich’s resilience-building mission and purpose, which is to protect, inspire confidence and help people reach their full potential.
It also speaks to the relationships Zurich has built in New Orleans since the first Zurich Classic, which occurred in the year of another historic event – Hurricane Katrina.
“We saw the tournament and the resilient people of New Orleans rise above the devastation of Katrina in 2005,” said Steve Nolan, Head of Marketing and Communications for Zurich North America. “That’s inspiration for all of us as we work through the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for better times ahead, including the 2021 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.”
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