Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship Pushes All-Time Charitable Giving Past $30 Million

AKRON, Ohio — With proceeds from the 2020 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, tournament officials announced that more than $30 million has been given to area charities through professional golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club since 1984.

This milestone was reached through the partnership with the PGA TOUR Champions, Firestone Country Club and Northern Ohio Golf Charities, and it was made possible by event supporters including title sponsor Bridgestone, Founding Partners Westfield and FirstEnergy, tournament volunteers, and fans of Northeast Ohio.

“To our partners and sponsors as well as thousands of volunteers and fans that have been a part of tournament golf at Firestone over the years, a huge ‘thank you’,” said Don Padgett, Executive Director of the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. “Your support has helped countless people and contributed to improving the quality of life in Northeast Ohio. We are proud to reach this charitable giving milestone and continue the tradition of giving back to the region with the 2021 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship from June 23-27 at one of tournament golf’s most historic venues, Firestone Country Club.”

Northern Ohio Golf Charities officially incorporated in 1984 to formalize the charitable giving, but Firestone Country Club has been hosting professional golf tournaments since the 1954 Rubber City Open. This 68-year tournament tradition at Firestone Country Cub has produced champions that include 20 World Golf Hall of Famers with Firestone South being one of the most televised golf courses in the world.

“Firestone Country Club, ClubCorp and Membership are grateful for our long-standing relationship with professional golf, and what this milestone represents in the support provided to dedicated charitable organization throughout the area,” said Jay Walkinshaw, General Manager of Firestone Country Club. “We have and will continue to support and foster the philanthropic spirit and thank the PGA TOUR, Northern Ohio Golf Charities, partners, sponsors, volunteers and fans.

Bridgestone’s title sponsorship of the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship is one example of the company’s long-standing commitment to the local community, which dates back more than a century through its Firestone brand. The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was founded in Akron in 1900 and merged with Bridgestone in 1988. Part of its rich history in Northeast Ohio includes the founding of Firestone Country Club in 1929, which over the years has provided a grand stage for world-class golf tournaments and, in turn, charitable proceeds.  

“Giving back to the local community has always been at the heart of these events, and Bridgestone is proud to help extend a tradition that has done so much for so many across Northeast Ohio,” said Paolo Ferrari, President and CEO, Bridgestone Americas. “This region is such a significant part of our company’s past, present and future, and Bridgestone is committed to making sure it continues to be a great place to work and live.”

Northern Ohio Golf Charities is the volunteer organization that helps operate the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. Each year, hundreds of individuals come together and give their time and talents, so the area can benefit.

“Our mission is to continue the legacy of professional golf at Firestone Country Club through a dedicated volunteer force who supports tournament operation and raising funds,” said Terry Ginley, President of Northern Ohio Golf Charities. “We are extremely proud of our long-standing partnership with the PGA TOUR and Firestone Country Club. This has allowed our organizations together to give over $30 million to area charities that continues to enhance the social and economic growth of the communities we each work and live.”

The Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and the Ambassador of Golf Event presented by FirstEnergy Foundation continue the charitable giving legacy. This year, $772,000 was distributed to area not for profits including organizations with people on the front lines of helping the region get through the pandemic.

Key charities supported by the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship include:

  • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
  • Akron Children’s Hospital
  • LeBron James Family Foundation
  • United Way Summit Medina
  • Summa Health
  • University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
  • Cleveland Clinic Akron General
  • First Tee of Greater Akron

Additional organizations receiving funds from the 2020 tournament include:

  • Akron Urban League
  • Axess Pointe Community Health Center
  • Battered Women’s Shelter
  • Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry
  • Cuyahoga Valley Preservation and Scenic Railway Association
  • Elves and More Northeast Ohio
  • Embracing Futures
  • Emerald Development & Economic Network
  • Empower Sports
  • Family Promise of Greater Cleveland
  • First Congressional Church of Akron, Inc.
  • First Tee of Canton
  • First Tee of Cleveland
  • Habitat for Humanity of Summit County Inc.
  • Haven of Rest Ministries
  • Humility of Mary Housing
  • Lake Township FISH
  • Open Arms Adoptions, Inc.
  • Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, Inc.
  • The Society of Handicapped Citizens of Medina County Inc.
  • Summit Choral Society
  • The Turn (Northern Ohio Golf Association & Foundation)

The tradition of charitable giving will continue beyond this $30 million milestone, as the 2021 Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship is scheduled for June 23-27. Jerry Kelly is the defending champion and will be part of an 81-player field vying for the title and an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship 2022.

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