2017 John Deere Classic helps raise a record $12.27 Million for 521 local and regional charities


Lexus of the Quad Cities Donates 2-Year Lease to Lucky Winner

The John Deere Classic charity machine has done it again.

Tournament officials announced Monday that the 2017 John Deere Classic helped raise a record $12.27 million for 521 local and regional charities that participated in the Birdies for Charity Program, ranking it among the top three in charitable giving on the PGA TOUR.

The 2017 total exceeds by more than $1.73 million the previous record of $10.54 million set just last year, tournament officials said Friday at a news conference at John Deere World Headquarters.

And there was more good news from the tournament office:  The overall total includes a 10 percent bonus to all charities on amounts pledged and collected on their behalf up to $1 million.

 “Everyone associated with the John Deere Classic is extremely proud and appreciative of the individual donors, companies, and family foundations that stepped up to make this year’s charitable contribution by far the largest in tournament history,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.

John Deere Classic officials also gave away a two-year lease on a Lexus NX – courtesy of Lexus of the Quad Cities – to one of six finalists who guessed the exact number of birdies recorded this year – 1,918.  Each of the six received a key, and the person whose key started the car won it.

The free Lexus NX lease program annually serves as an incentive to potential donors to participate in the Birdies program. Lexus of the Quad Cities also provided courtesy cars for John Deere Classic contestants and on-course evacuation vehicles.

“Birdies for Charity is extremely grateful that Lexus of the Quad Cities has made such a strong commitment to the John Deere Classic and to the hundreds of charities we serve in the Quad Cities and neighboring communities,” said Birdies for Charity director Kristy Ketcham-Jackson. “The opportunity for Birdies for Charity donors to win a two-year lease on a Lexus NX added an extra element of fun and excitement to the pledge drive and to tournament week itself.”

The $12.27 million total works out to $32.72 for each of the Quad Cities’ 375,000 residents, making the John Deere Classic number one in per capita giving on the PGA TOUR, a distinction it has held for many years.

Since the Quad Cities-based tournament began in 1971, it has helped raise a total of $93.57 million for charity, 99.5 percent of which ($93.04 million) has come since John Deere assumed the title sponsorship in 1998. 

The total amount donated to the charities is the result of an 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 or in lump sum donations.
  • Because John Deere underwrites the administrative costs of the Birdies program, 100 percent of each Birdies pledge collected goes to the core mission of the designated charities rather than to administrative, operational, or fundraising activities.
  • The Bonus Fund consists of tournament revenues, direct donations, the John Deere Foundation matching grant, and proceeds from special events, such as this year’s Cole Swindell concert during tournament week.  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.

After Monday’s news conference, officials distributed checks to charity representatives who attended the event. For the second consecutive year, three lucky charities in attendance also received an extra $1,000 each in a blind drawing. Checks will be mailed to charities that did not pick them up in person.

Bryson DeChambeau, at the age of 23, became the 21st player in tournament history to win his first PGA TOUR event at the 2017 John Deere Classic. He finished at 18-under par with rounds of 66-65-70-65, including a 30 on the back nine on Sunday and a successful final putt of 14 feet on the 18th hole to win by a stroke.

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 $93.57 million for charity.

Stay up-to-date on all Birdies information via email