Proceeds from The Farr will benefit 10 charitiesWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Even more important than providing a stage for elite golfers to showcase their skills, the mission of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic is to raise money for area charities.
The golf tournament has donated $7.4 million to more than 120 charities since 1984, said volunteer coordinator Heather Warga.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Warga said. “The community’s been so good to us in the way of volunteers, sponsorships and the relationships we have with a lot of the companies here in Toledo. What better thing to be able to do than to give back to the community.
It’s important to us that the money stays right here, that it goes to organizations here and the people they serve and just the impact it makes on their lives.”This year’s 10 charity beneficiaries are Aurora House, Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo, Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, Feed Lucas County Children, Kids Unlimited, Mom’s House, The Victory Center, YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio and the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation.
Tournament host Jamie Farr said he’s proud to be associated with such a worthy cause.
“I thoroughly enjoy the LPGA classic and I am very proud of all the money it has donated to many of the needy and deserving charities,” Farr said in an email to Toledo Free Press. “The sponsors, the fans, the cities of Toledo and Sylvania and the players have been exceptional in their devotion to making this tournament so successful.”
Each charity provides volunteers to work the tournament, Warga said.
“The charities do participate quite a bit with the tournament and they are always eager to help out,” Warga said. “The ones we have this year have been great. They all know the importance of it and have been great.”
Kids Unlimited President Chris Amato said the money raised will not only help fund the after-school and summer programs his organization operates for inner-city youth, but will also offer increased visibility and credibility for the group, helping to leverage funds from other sources.
“It’s very significant,” Amato said. “When you get the Jamie Farr designation, it elevates you to a different level and gives you a lot of credibility in the community and with donors.”
Operating out of the school buildings where participants attend, Kids Unlimited helps develop academic and social skills as well as emphasizes cooperation, respect, self-discipline and teamwork, Amato said.
Amato said teachers notice major improvements both academically and behaviorally in the kindergarten through eighth grade students involved with Kids Unlimited.
“One child was 25 points below the state average and hit 25 points above the state average next time he took the test,” Amato said. “It’s hard to quantify behavior the way you can a test score, but anecdotally, that’s where we see it. Teachers will come up to us and say, ‘We can really see a difference in so and so.’”
Internationally known golf course architect Arthur Hills is a board member and longtime volunteer with Kids Unlimited.
“He comes at least once a week, if not twice a week,” Amato said. “He’s been working with one boy for three years now and the improvement level is amazing.”
The organization will be opening its own charter school, Kids Unlimited Academy, in the fall for kindergarten through third grade with plans to expand through eighth grade later, Amato said.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo Executive Director Dave Wehrmeister said the club feels a special significance in partnering with the tournament because Farr is a former member. The organization operates four locations in the central city as well as a resident summer camp in Michigan.
“It’s huge on many different levels,” Wehrmeister said. “Jamie was a Boys Club member in his childhood and a member of our Hall of Fame, so it’s quite special for him to come back to town and remember where his roots are. We’re hoping he will stop by one of our clubs and spend a little time with our kids.”The Victory Center is a first-time charity partner, said Executive Director Dianne Cherry.
“We are so excited,” Cherry said. “It’s a real opportunity to educate more people about what The Victory Center is and what we do. It’s going to be some wonderful exposure to the community and beyond. The grant funds are just invaluable to us this year.”
The Victory Center provides individual and group services to cancer patients, survivors and their families, including massage therapy, reflexology, Reiki, healing touch, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, counseling, support groups, yoga, gentle exercise, meditation, expressive arts and more.
“Our philosophy is that there is a mind-body-spirit connection,” Cherry said. “The medical community takes care of the body portion and we help with the mind and the spirit. We heal people from the inside out.”
Feed Lucas County Children operates 80 sites that provide meals for Lucas County children during the summer when they are not being fed at school. The organization plans to invest its share of the tournament proceeds in a steamer oven for the organization’s new kitchen, said Executive Director Tony Siebeneck.
“That right there is going to help us feed more kids next year,” Siebeneck said. “You can’t ask for anything better.”
The YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo will put the money into its Fun Bus, a colorfully painted vehicle that provides free recreational activities and nutritional snacks for kids in underprivileged Lucas and Wood County neighborhoods, said Michael Ashford, vice president of urban relations. The Fun Bus served about 18,000 children last summer and is on track for the same this year, Ashford said.
“Without the support of the Jamie Farr, we would not be able to reach that amount of kids and provide those recreational activities throughout the summer,” Ashford said. “There is limited money going around right now, so this is a very important gap for us.”
The Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund is an endowed scholarship fund established by the tournament and administered by the Toledo Community Foundation. Each year, four renewable $3,000 college scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors with financial need, said Joanne Olnhausen, communications and scholarship officer at Toledo Community Foundation.
“Our goal is to help our local students get to school, and we’ve been able to make a very large impact in our community,” Olnhausen said.
The Children’s Advocacy Center at the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center provides free crisis counseling and case management services for child victims of sexual abuse and their families.
“We’re thrilled to be able to get funding from the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic,” said CEO Cindy Pisano. “That funding will allow us to continue to offer crisis counseling to help children cope and heal from the trauma they’ve experienced.”
Aurora House provides housing and services to homeless women and children.
Mom’s House offers counseling, child care, tutoring, crisis intervention, mentoring and parent education classes and more as it helps low-income, single moms graduate from high school and college.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides temporary, homelike accommodations for families whose children are receiving medical care away from home.
For more information, visit www.jamiefarrtoledoclassic.com.