Golf That Matters
By Jim McNaney
All PGA TOUR events are notable for their charitable contributions. In fact, local charities are the single biggest benefactor at any TOUR stop.
In January 2020, the TOUR announced that all-time donations from the organization and the tournaments surpassed $3 billion.
The 2021 3M Open plans to do its part. The ethos of the tournament is “Golf That Matters,” and the estimated total donation dollars this year are larger than the $1.5 million donated in 2020. If that number holds true, the three-year total since the event’s inception will exceed $5 million.
This year, there will be 7 pillar charity partners: M Health Fairview, VEAP, YWCA of St. Paul, YWCA of Minneapolis, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Urban Ventures and The Science Museum of Minnesota.
The 3M Open Fund initiatives focus this year on creating more equity in healthcare for underserved communities, supporting individuals economically impacted by the pandemic and advance social justice programs in the local community.
“3M looks to build on our promise that the 3M Open is a community-first event,” said Denise Rutherford, 3M’s senior vice present and chief corporate affairs officer. “The 3M Open is a year-round platform to help build stronger communities and our tournament ethos of Golf That Matters continues to drive this effort.”
Each of the pillar charity partners have very specific goals in mind that are in line with what Tournament Director Mike Welch says organizers are striving for.
The United Way’s mission is to galvanize the community and build pathways toward prosperity and equity for all. They create a region where all people thrive regardless of income, or race. The Greater Twin Cities COVID-19 response and recovery fund is making a huge impact on the community.
Urban Ventures is a unique group involved with relief efforts. They initiate project teams of volunteers and staff to facilitate rebuilding and re-opening businesses. In addition, it supports the ongoing needs of local families. The 3M Open Fund will partner with them to help rebuild portions of North Minneapolis and South Minneapolis.
The YWCA of St. Paul is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
YWCA Minneapolis has been cultivating an inclusive and healthy community through a range of programs, classes and workshops. The YWCA provide high-quality Racial Justice, Early Childhood Education, Girls and Youth, Health and Wellness and Workforce Development programs that help build a vibrant, healthy community for all.
As a land-grant university and an academic health system, M Health Fairview has been a leader in the Twin Cities community and beyond, providing clinical research and expertise to support of those that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through teamwork and collaboration across the entire system, M Health Fairview and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital respectfully addresses the physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs of pediatric patients and their families. Their compassionate, innovative approach has repeatedly received national recognition.
VEAP is a basic needs and social services organization that promotes access to healthy foods, stable housing, and a multitude of after supportive services. VEAP’s programs address particular needs, providing hope, and prevention of financial crisis such as loss of housing transportation, or employment.
The Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center STEM Justice approach creates the space for young leaders to apply STEM to address critical community issues. Since the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center was established in 1996, it has directly engaged youth from groups that have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields.
According to Welch, the charities selected as partners are ones that not only have a direct impact on the community but also see the partnership with the PGA TOUR as a way to increase donation dollars year over year.
The goal is to work with charities that work directly with tournament organizers and volunteers to allow hands-on involvement with the daily work they are doing for the community as well as facilitate connections between the 3M Open and other donors.
“Charities that allow us to have boots on the ground are the ones we want to support,” said Welch
Welch cited the Greater Twin Cities United Way as doing “a phenomenal job supporting not only families, but businesses.”
For charity dollars to continue to grow, the reach of the tournament needs to expand. As an example, the Waste Management Phoenix open has annual donations around $42 million dollars each year. It takes decades to get to that level, but that is where Welch and the rest of his team want to take this tournament.
Working with each charity is not just about collecting ticket revenues and advertising dollars over a week and then writing a check. The 3M Open Fund works year-round with the charity partners. As an example, the 3M Open was the presenting partner in the Greater Twin Cities United Way Social Justice Leadership Award.
According to gtuw.org, this award “recognizes a leader for their work in social justice resulting in significant community impact.”
“Social justice is important,” said Welch “I can see the vision on how we can grow this.”
Admittedly it will take time to get to the level organizers seek but they are sticking to a proven plan.
Social justice is just one of the initiatives. With the boom of golf in the last 18 months, junior golf, including minority junior golf is also on the radar. Organizations like the First Tee – Minnesota are ones that could benefit in the future.
On Wednesday, July 21st, four teams of two celebrities competed on holes 10, 11 and 12 for charities in the 3M Open Compass Challenge.
Local and national celebs appeared. Actor Josh Duhamel teamed up with NLF and local favorite Kyle Rudolph. Twins’ legend Joe Mauer partnered with the Vikings’ Adam Thielen. The Arizona Cardinals’ (and Holy Angles graduate) Larry Fitzgerald, Jr paired with the one and only Charles Barkley and rounding out the teams was CBS reporter Amada Balionis who leaned on the expertise of Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam.
After the event, country superstar recording artists Mason Dixon Line performed at the Gray Duck Deck. Fans that purchased tickets for Wednesday and decided to stay for the Compass Challenge were invited to the show.
For more information about the various charities visit 3mopen.com.