Officials from United Leasing and Old National Bank announced that about $270,000 was raised from ticket sales for this year’s United Leasing Golf Championship before handing out checks using that money to several area non-profit groups Tuesday morning.
In the five-year history of the tournament, which is played at nearby Victoria National, more than $870,000 has been raised for local charities. This year’s leading beneficiary was Deaconess Riley, a partnership between Deaconess Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Deaconess Riley got a check for more than $49,000 on Tuesday.
Because the tournament is supported by sponsors and other revenue streams, all proceeds from ticket sales are donated to charity. People who purchase tickets designate a benefiting charity and then Old National Bank adds another $25,000 to the pot. That money from the bank is then doled out proportionately.
Ron Romain, CEO of the tournament’s title sponsor, called Tuesday the best day associated with the tournament. He reminded nonprofit representatives that the money came from the members of the public who bought tickets, not him.
“I can’t tell you how exciting it is to stand up here,” Romain said before announcing the checks. “This is not my money I’m giving away; this is the community’s money. This is from the people who bought the tickets.”
Deaconess Riley has been involved in the tournament as a fundrasier since the inception of the championship. All of the money will go to helping Tri-State patients and families, said Mark Moore, the planned giving officer with the Deaconess Foundation.
“Romain and ONB are so generous, and we’re so appreciative of that,” Moore said. “For Riley, it (means) a lot. There are just so many patients who will benefit from it.”
He also thanked all of the fund’s supporters. The second-highest amount was more than $31,000 raised for Youth First Inc. Some of the other top earners were the YMCA, the YWCA, the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville, Youth Resources and the Evansville Police Department Foundation.
Sara Miller, the Southern Region CEO of Old National Bank, also awarded $2,000 to the Boy Scouts and a $5,000 check to the Evansville Junior Golf Association for being “partners” of the tournament. Like Romain, Miller said it is an honor for Old National to be involved.
“We are pleased that the proceeds from the sale of tournament tickets all go back to you as charities,” she told the crowd, “and then an additional $25,000 is pooled. Congratulations to all of you for a successful year.”
About 40 groups got checks on Tuesday and 65 organizations benefitied from the ticket proceeds overall, according to Old National.
After Tuesday’s celebration, Romain said he is “highly optimistic” that the tournament will return for a sixth time. He said negotiations continue and they are “getting there” among all interested parties, but acknowledged that a contract to extend the championship has not been signed. He said he hopes the groups can strike a new three-year agreement in the near-future to keep the tournament going.
“We’re still working very hard on bringing the event back,” Romain said. “We’re very optimistic about it (returning), but we not prepared to make any kind of an announcement yet.”