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Birdies for charity boosts Bermuda

Bermudian professional golfer Camiko Smith is joined by Birdies for Charity volunteers at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship

There are obvious benefits to being a host to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. The bragging rights from hosting a PGA Tour event, the uplift for tourism, and significant economic impact in a time when it is much needed.

However, every year, Bermuda gets an extra boost from the championship in the form of the demonstration of the spirit of volunteerism showing up in the countless hours donated by residents. And there is more: the Butterfield Bermuda Championship Birdies for Charity programme generates a 10 per cent lift and gift to a non-profit’s dedicated giving campaign.

“Made possible by the contributions of many individuals and corporations throughout Bermuda, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship builds awareness of the non-profit sector’s work and increases funding to local charities,” said Sean Sovacool, executive director for the event.

This year alone, it will grant more than $100,000 in matched funding to 42 Bermuda-based registered non-profits.

The event promises even more in the future. For example, since 1971 the John Deere Classic has delivered more than $133 million to charities in the Quad Cities region in Iowa and Illinois, most of it through its own Birdies for Charity programme. Bermuda’s endeavour is comparatively new, but it is already providing a healthy boost to local charities.

But that is not all. Before they could even envision the success of the 2021 Birdies for Charity initiative, the championship staff said they wanted to do something big and different for Bermuda – something that benefits the stunning view of the sun setting off the South Shore as the competitors play the 18th hole.

Coming off the success of the 2020 Championship, Sovacool spoke to his primary sponsors and teed up a grant to the Community Endowment Fund at the Bermuda Foundation. The fund is a permanent charitable asset invested for the benefit of Bermuda’s future generations. Each year, based on the fund’s investment returns, grants are made to non-profit organisations, but the principal amount remains untouched.

It is this type of giving that will change the way philanthropy works, responded a representative of the Bermuda Foundation, when asked by Sovacool what kind of gift would be most meaningful for the long-term benefit of the community.

“When we look at local charities, philanthropies and trusts, the ones that have the most staying power and remain mission-focused even in tough times, those are the ones with a cash endowment invested, yielding income every single year. Endowments built strong organisations, with the ability to continue their work long into the future.”

Taking this on, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, its stakeholders, and the PGA Tour doubled down on Bermuda, redoubling efforts to make the volunteerism and matching donations that have made Birdies for Charity such an incredible annual gift in the communities the PGA Tour plays on an annual basis. They made a multi-year, six-figure pledge to the Community Endowment Fund, with a view to ensuring that the PGA’s positive impact on the community will be permanent.

In community philanthropy terms, that is what we would call going pro. Here’s to the next round.

Submitted by the Bermuda Foundation to acknowledge the start of the giving season: National Philanthropy Day (November 15), Community Foundations Week (November 15-19) and Giving Tuesday (November 30)

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Published November 30, 2021 at 8:05 am (Updated November 30, 2021 at 8:05 am)

Birdies for charity boosts Bermuda

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