About the Illinois PGA Foundation
This year, the Illinois PGA Foundation's Birdies for Charity fundraising event will reach two important milestones – the 10th anniversary and more than $2 million raised for charity! To date, the event has raised $1.96 million in support for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, JDRF Illinois Chapter and the Illinois PGA Foundation.
Each year, approximately 45 Illinois PGA Professionals get together to play up to 90 holes of golf in one day to raise money for these four deserving charities. In 2019, the event raised more than $400,000, a record amount.
"I am so proud of our members and donors for all they’ve done over the years to make this event successful," says Chris Gumbach, Event Co-Chair and Head PGA Professional at River Forest Country Club, host site of the charity event.
Birdies for Charity was created in 2011 when Travis Johns (Medinah CC), Event Co-Chair, brought the concept with him from the North Texas PGA Section where he had previously worked and proposed it to the Illinois Section Board. At the time, Gumbach was sponsorship chairman and immediately thought it was just the kind of community involvement program the Section and its members needed to rally around. And so, the event was created and continues today.
"Each year, our membership looks forward to participating in this event and raises the bar," said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section and Illinois PGA Foundation. "And our Illinois PGA Professionals enjoy doing what they do best – play golf – to benefit charities that are doing outstanding work in our communities."
The Illinois PGA Foundation serves as the charitable arm of the Illinois PGA Section, one of the 41 geographical regions that comprises the Professional Gofers' Association of America (PGA of America). Established in 1991, the foundation focuses its community efforts on sharing the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Illinois PGA Foundation programs and initiatives include GolfWorks Illinois, Drive Chip and Putt, PGA Jr. League, college scholarship programs, Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, Birdies for Charity and support for The First Tee of Greater Chicago and the Maryville Golf Academy.