MOLINE, Illinois

The 2014 John Deere Classic helped raise a total of $6.33 million for 471 local and regional Quad Cities charities, an increase over last year, tournament officials announced Friday at John Deere World Headquarters.

It's the third consecutive year the tournament has helped raise more than $6 million for local charities, and is the second highest total ever raised.

A combination of increased tournament revenues and a John Deere Foundation matching grant of $300,000 to the Birdies for Charity Bonus Fund also enabled the tournament to provide each participating charity a 10 percent bonus on the pledges collected - double the promised five percent.

This means a charity that raised $10,000 via the Birdies pledge program will receive an additional 10 percent, or $1,000, for a total of $11,000.

"For a tournament located in a community our size to be able to raise more than $6 million for charity three years in a row is an accomplishment everyone associated with the tournament can be proud of," said Clair Peterson, tournament director of the John Deere Classic. "The final total of $6.33 million is an increase over last year, and reflects the generosity of Quad Cities residents and that of our title sponsor, John Deere, without whom none of this would be possible. On behalf of all 471 charities, thank you."

The $6.33 million charitable total works out to $16.88 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad Cities area, making the John Deere Classic No. 1 in per-capita charitable giving among regular PGA Tour events. In addition, despite the Quad Cities' comparatively small population, the John Deere Classic consistently ranks among the top five on Tour in total charitable giving. More than 20,000 local businesses and individuals participated in the Birdies program.

This year’s charity number brings to more than $62.45 million the total amount of charitable contributions provided to the Quad Cities community since the PGA TOUR first began its annual run in the Quad Cities in 1971.

John Deere Classic contestants recorded 2,040 birdies during the 2014 tournament and the Wednesday pro-am. Although the minimum Birdies for Charity pledge is one cent per birdie - amounting to a contribution of $20.40 based on this year’s birdie total - many pledge more or give lump sum donations.

After the news conference, officials distributed checks to charity representatives. The balance of the checks will be mailed.

Following the announcement, John Deere Classic officials gave away a Chevy Cruze to one of four finalists who guessed the exact number of birdies recorded this year. Each of the four received a key, and the person whose key started the car won it.

Joy Boruff of Moline, who contributed to multiple charities, won the car. She was the first of the four finalists to attempt to start the car - and it started.

The car giveaway is part of a Birdies for Charity promotion aimed at incentivizing people to participate in the program.

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem expressed his admiration for the John Deere Classic, which is No. 1 on Tour in the amount of charitable contributions raised per capita based on its population of 375,000.

"The PGA TOUR would like to congratulate the John Deere Classic on another tremendous year of charitable giving in the Quad Cities," Finchem said. "Everyone associated with the event - Deere & Company, other sponsors, corporate hospitality customers, tournament staff and volunteers, and the fans who support the tournament - are to be commended for their efforts in helping those in need."

The total amount donated to the charities is the result of a highly efficient three-pronged fundraising effort:

  • The tournament’s Birdies for Charity program enables individuals, companies, and foundations to pledge to a charity or charities of their choice either a minimum of one cent for each birdie recorded at the tournament from Wednesday-Sunday (2,040 birdies this year). They also may make a lump sum donation.
  • Because John Deere underwrites the administrative costs of the Birdies program, 100 percent of each Birdies pledge collected goes to the core mission of each rather than administrative, operational, or fundraising activities.
  • The Bonus pool consists of tournament revenues, direct donations and proceeds from special events. Each year, the John Deere Classic promises a minimum bonus of five percent with the understanding that a larger bonus will be paid, if possible.

"Every year, John Deere proves what an outstanding corporate citizen it is," said Birdies for Charity director Kristy Ketcham-Jackson. "Residents of the Quad Cities are fortunate to live in a community where the most prominent company takes seriously the concept of corporate citizenship."

The John Deere Classic expressed thanks to the Select Chevy dealers, who donated the Chevy Cruze:

  • Eriksen Chevrolet, Milan, Ill.
  • Green Chevrolet, East Moline, Ill.
  • Kunes Country Auto Group, Mount Carroll, Ill.
  • Lujack Chevrolet – Davenport, Iowa
  • Mills Chevrolet, Moline, Ill.
  • Piehl Motors, Princeton, Ill.
  • Shottenkirk Chevrolet, Mt. Pleasant, Ia.
  • Yemm Chevrolet, Galesburg, Ill.

"Birdies for Charity is extremely grateful that this group of local Chevrolet dealers has made such a strong commitment to our program and to the hundreds of charities we serve in the Quad Cities and neighboring communities," said Ketcham Jackson. "The opportunity for Birdies for Charity donors to win a new Chevy Cruze adds an extra element of fun and excitement to the pledge drive and to tournament week itself."

In 2014, Brian Harman won the John Deere Classic by one stroke over local favorite and past champion Zach Johnson. It was Harman's first PGA TOUR victory, and with it he earned an exemption to the British Open.

The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinois. Since 1971, the tournament has helped raise $62.45 million for charity.

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