John Deere Classic Birdies for Charity Program Kicks Off 2015 Fund-Raising Drive at John Deere HQ

Moline, IL

The John Deere Classic’s Birdies for Charity program today officially kicked off its annual drive to help raise donations for some 500 area charities, at the John Deere World Headquarters.

The organization also introduced Lexus of the Quad Cities as its new automotive partner.  Lexus of the Quad Cities will provide a free two-year lease of a 2015 Lexus NX to one person who guesses the exact number of birdies recorded at this year’s John Deere Classic, July 6-12, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis. 

Lexus also will furnish the tournament with courtesy cars for PGA TOUR players during the week of the tournament.

“We are excited to start another cycle of the annual John Deere Classic charity miracle in which the smallest market on the regular PGA TOUR produces the highest per capita charitable donations and is one of the top 10 charities in total revenue raised for charity on the PGA TOUR,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.

“We also are extremely pleased to have Lexus of the Quad Cities as our automotive partner this year,” Peterson said.  “Its Lexus NX will provide a terrific incentive to motivate Birdies for Charity donations.  And we know the pros are going to love driving a Lexus during tournament week.”

Following the news conference, charities picked up fundraising materials at the John Deere Headquarters display floor.  Materials also will be available at other locations in and around the Quad Cities. Pledge Card Pickup details can be found at<>.

In 2014, the tournament generated $6.33 million for its participating charities. Since the inception of the Birdies program in 1971, the tournament has helped raise charitable donations of more than $62 million.

"Our charities, both small and large, continue to provide much-needed services and benefits to the communities they serve," said Kristy Ketcham Jackson, director of Birdies for Charity.  "Their work is vital to the health and spirit of the individuals and families who reside in and around the greater Quad Cities area.”

The John Deere Foundation will again match all donations up to $325,000 made directly by individuals or businesses to the Birdies for Charity Bonus Fund.  The Bonus Fund is made up of tournament profits and direct donations.  The amount in the fund determines the bonus percentage, which is distributed proportionately to all participating charities, and is over and above the donation and pledge dollars charities receive.  Last year’s Bonus was 10 percent, well above the promised five percent.

"The John Deere Classic Birdies for Charity Program continues to be an extremely powerful and cost-effective way for tournament area non-profit organizations to maximize their fundraising efforts," said Ketcham Jackson. "Thanks to John Deere's ongoing sponsorship of the John Deere Classic and Birdies for Charity, 100 percent of the money pledged - plus a bonus - is returned back to each participating non-profit entity."

Charitable funds raised by the John Deere Classic come from two sources: Birdies for Charity pledges and tournament profits.  

"John Deere's continued commitment to the community through its sponsorship of the John Deere Classic and Birdies for Charity is an example of its premier corporate citizenship," Ketcham Jackson added.

This year, one person who guesses the exact number of birdies recorded during the Wednesday pro-am and the four tournament rounds will win a free two-year lease on 2015 Lexus NX donated by Lexus of the Quad Cities. If more than one person guesses the exact number of birdies, the winner will be determined by a random drawing from among those who guessed correctly.

In 2014, the tournament's 15th year at TPC Deere Run, 2,040 birdies were recorded, meaning that a donor who pledged one cent per birdie to a charity would contribute $20.40.  Many individuals and businesses donate to more than one charity, or donate larger amounts as a charity Partner.

Under the Birdies for Charity program, individuals or corporations pledge a minimum of one cent per birdie made during the Wednesday pro-am and the four tournament rounds of the John Deere Classic, including playoffs, or a flat dollar donation, to the charity or charities of the donors' choice.  

At the conclusion of the tournament, the total number of birdies is tabulated and the Birdies office invoices donors for the amounts pledged.  Donors remit their checks to the Birdies office, which distributes 100 percent of the donations directly to the designated charities, along with the Birdies for Charity bonus.  All donations are tax deductible.

Defending champion Brian Harman will try for his second consecutive victory at the John Deere Classic. This year's tournament is set for July 6-12 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

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 its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $62 million for charity.

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