The 2021 John Deere Classic helped raise $12.56 million via its Birdies for Charity program despite being required to conduct the tournament under COVID-19 restrictions, tournament officials announced Monday.
The tournament delivered $350,000 more this year than in 2020 when the tournament was canceled. Much of the increase came from generous additional donations that came in late in the 2020 cycle.
Equally impressive, the program’s 470 participating charities received an eight percent bonus in 2021, up from five percent in 2020. The eight percent bonus for all participating organizations is the highest percentage since 2018, and came at a time when many charities reported needing it most.
“We are excited to be able to announce our $12.56 million charity total for 2021 and thrilled that we can provide an eight percent bonus to all 470 of our participating charities,” said John Deere Classic executive director Clair Peterson.
“We thank our fans, local family foundations and corporate partners - none more important than our title sponsor John Deere and the John Deere Foundation - for their ongoing generosity and support,” Peterson said. “Whether our participating charities are large well-known community institutions or very small groups, all are worthy of our support.”
The $12.56 million figure is the third largest donation amount in tournament history, according to tournament records.
The contest for a donor to win a two-year lease on a Lexus NX300 by guessing the exact number of birdies continued in 2021. The winners were Tom and Melinda Doyle of Bettendorf whose guess of 1,906 birdies came closest to the actual number of birdies made (1,905). The lease and vehicle were provided by Smart Lexus of Quad Cities in Davenport, which annually provides courtesy cars to John Deere Classic contestants as well as on-course evacuation vehicles.
With the 2021 donations, the John Deere Classic now has helped raise a total of $145.66 million for charity since the tournament began in 1971, with $143.18 million – 98 percent - coming since John Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1998.
The $12.56 million total works out to $33.49 for each of the Quad Cities’ 375,000 residents, again making the John Deere Classic the No. 1 in per capita contributions on the regular PGA TOUR, a unique distinction it has held for more than a decade.
The total amount donated to the charities is the result of a three-pronged fundraising effort:
- The tournament’s Birdies for Charity program enables individuals, companies, and foundations to pledge a lump sum donation to a charity or charities of their choice.
- 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, a John Deere Foundation matching grant, as well as proceeds from special events.
Lucas Glover, 41, rallied from four shots back to win the 2021 John Deere Classic with a score of 19-under par 261 to record his fourth career PGA Tour victory. The 2009 U.S. Open champion is scheduled to defend his title June 30-July 3, 2021.
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 $145.66 million for charity.