Despite its cancellation, Zurich Classic of New Orleans to match last year’s charitable total of more than $1.5 million

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By Doug Milne, PGATOUR.COM

Few, if any, would dispute the unrelenting power of the heart of New Orleans.

Without regard to circumstance, its steady beat serves as a constant reminder of the Crescent City’s collective resilience and, ultimately, its resolve.

New Orleans is a place that can – and does – elevate spirits as it celebrates the good times. More importantly, though, it’s a place that picks up its own when times are challenging.

Nowhere is the essence of that vibe more prevalent than at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

By now, it’s news to none that the 2020 Zurich Classic of New Orleans was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What may be news to some is that net proceeds from each week’s PGA TOUR event translate to desperately-needed funds for the communities in which those events are contested.

To give that perspective, throughout the course of a single PGA TOUR season, upwards of $200 million is provided to individuals and organizations in need across its six Tours. A record $204.3 million was generated in 2019 alone, bringing the all-time total to more than $3 billion.

As a global leader in the insurance industry for nearly 150 years, Zurich has adhered to a simple philosophy – to ensure the best protection for people and the things they value. So, while there was no tournament last week at TPC Louisiana, true to its impassioned drive, Zurich has decided the show will go on.

In an unprecedented move, Zurich will provide full financial support of more than $1.5 million to the Fore!Kids Foundation. The total will match last year’s direct tournament donations.

“Because of this, the Fore!Kids Foundation is able to continue their support of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation’s mission, which is crisis grants for hospitality workers,” said David Blitch, President and Co-Founder of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.

“These funds were going to be difficult to come by this year. Because of their donations, we will not only be able to help hundreds, but maybe thousands who have crisis during this difficult time. We can’t thank the Fore!Kids Foundation and Zurich enough for their donation.”

Since taking over as the title sponsor of the historic New Orleans event in 2005, Zurich has helped contribute more than $21 million to local charities.

The tournament’s primary charity, which has been the case for more than six decades, is the Fore!Kids Foundation. The foundation raises money to fund children’s service organizations through the game of golf. Each year, over 200 charities – totaling more than 200,000 children – are beneficiaries of the Fore!Kids Foundation.

“We’re happy to say the cancellation of this year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans isn’t the end of the story,” said Kathleen Savio, CEO of Zurich North America. “We’re honored to work with the PGA TOUR and the Fore!Kids Foundation to continue the tradition of giving to nonprofits in New Orleans, so that they can continue to help people during a critical time of need.”

The more than $1.5 million gesture not only affirms Zurich’s desire to help those in need, but illustrates the company’s intention to remain a close part of the New Orleans community – through thick and thin.

Annual funds from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans to the Fore!Kids Foundation are remarkably far-reaching and go towards such efforts as tearing down and rebuilding homes, providing food to those in need and funding children’s service organizations.

Additional beneficiaries include, but are not limited to: Educare New Orleans at Columbia Parc; 2020 Community Impact Award winners Raphael Village and The Bright School; the St. Michael Special School; and Blessings in a Backpack.

Impressive as they are, though, lists and numbers tell only part of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans story.

The tangible results are seen on the faces of the city’s residents. They are revealed through the words of those who would likely have had nowhere to turn.

“Louisiana Hospitality Foundation changed my life,” said Lynn, a hospitality worker and beneficiary of Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. “I was a breast cancer survivor just drowning in a sea of exorbitant deductibles. They swept in in my time of need, and thanks to (the Zurich Classic of New Orleans), we can move forward and continue to help people like me in hospitality focus on our health and making people happy through our profession.”

“Zurich has been an amazing community partner in the city of New Orleans and a great supporter of Excite All Stars,” said Gerald Williams, Founder of Excite All Stars. “We could not do what we do without the support of Zurich. They stepped up in our city after Katrina, and now they’re stepping up again during COVID-19.”

Having helped over 2,200 families since its 2008 inception, Excite All Stars provides positive experiences and education to the children and teenagers of New Orleans in need of assistance.

“We are so grateful that they made a commitment to support youth organizations throughout this crisis,” Williams said. “That shows us they care.”

There was no Zurich Classic of New Orleans last week. It was quiet at TPC Louisiana.

But, really, given the size of its heart, the annual PGA TOUR event on New Orleans’ West Bank never went away. It played on.

And, now, that’s producing a beat stronger and louder than ever.

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