MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- It is a cold December day in Memphis, Tennessee and FedExCup Champion Vijay Singh, FedExCup Runner-up Camilo Villegas and LPGA star Morgan Pressel have gathered here -- but not to play golf. The impetus that has brought three of the biggest names in professional golf to Memphis is something much more important than any game of golf -- children battling cancer.
Singh, Villegas and Pressel are in Memphis on the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital(R) to help present a record-breaking donation to the hospital raised through the 2008 Eagles for St. Jude program. While it certainly would have been easier for each to simply mail a check, the trio wouldn't have missed being here for the world. For them, this is not a typical charitable endeavor.
Eagles for St. Jude is a powerful program that has brought these three golfers, the PGA TOUR, LPGA, the Golf Channel and companies like Stanford Financial Group and FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX) together with the sole purpose of increasing donations to St. Jude, one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers.
The goal of the 2008 Eagles for St. Jude program was to raise $2 million for St. Jude during this year's PGA TOUR and LPGA season -- a goal that was shattered today when Stanford Financial Group presented a record-breaking $2.57 million donation from Eagles for St. Jude to the hospital. In addition to Stanford's donation of $1,000 for each of the 1,118 eagles recorded on the PGA TOUR and the 469 eagles on the LPGA Tour, the donation included donations from Singh, Villegas, Pressel, the Stanford St. Jude Championship, the PGA TOUR, LPGA and FedEx, as well as those from the general public who supported the program throughout the year via the Eagles for St. Jude website and online auction.
Singh, better known as "The Big Fijian" by the children being treated for cancer and other deadly diseases at St. Jude, presented the hospital with a personal check for $300,000 -- well above the $30,000 he was slated to donate for the six eagles he carded. Villegas, too, more than doubled the amount he pledged with a donation of $50,000.
Singh said, "When I started with Eagles last year I had no idea how much it would change my life. The more time I spend with these incredible kids, the more I experience their unbelievable courage, the more I want to help them. I find that every time I have a chance for an eagle, I can't help but think about them."
The FedExCup champion is probably referring to his first eagle of the year, made on the 11th hole at Spyglass Hill at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February that he made for Tyler, a St. Jude patient he had visited during a recent trip to the hospital. What made Singh's first eagle memorable -- even bittersweet -- was that Tyler had lost his battle with cancer just three weeks earlier.
"Just like Vijay's eagle he made for Tyler at Spyglass Hill, every eagle has a story behind it," said Sir Allen Stanford, Chairman of Stanford Financial Group. "It's truly an inspiration -- and further testament to the power of Eagles for St. Jude, which has grown exponentially since its inception two years ago," he said. "We are so grateful to Vijay, Camilo and Morgan, the Golf Channel, the PGA TOUR, the LPGA, FedEx and everyone who has so enthusiastically supported it. I am delighted that Stanford can help St. Jude work its miracles. It is our sincere hope that others will join us in supporting Eagles for St. Jude so we can continue to increase awareness for this special place and encourage others to donate to St. Jude for many years to come," Sir Allen added.
Other participants who helped the success of Eagles for St. Jude include the Golf Channel, which provides promotional support for the program, and FedEx, former sponsor of the Memphis PGA TOUR event and now sponsor of the FedExCup.
"Today is another proud moment for FedEx and our 23 year commitment of support to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital," said Laurie Tucker, FedEx senior vice president of marketing. "With our donation today, and the continued support of hundreds of FedEx team members over the years, we carry on our close involvement with the Stanford St. Jude Championship and our commitment as a company to make an impact in the communities in which we live, work and play."
Without a doubt, Eagles for St. Jude already has shown enormous impact and long-term staying power. The program, created during Stanford Financial Group's inaugural sponsorship year of the Stanford St. Jude Championship out of the desire to provide a season-long fundraising component to the Memphis PGA TOUR event, began with Stanford's commitment to donate $1,000 to St. Jude for every eagle made on the PGA TOUR in the name of the player that makes the eagle. What happened next was a snowball effect that continues to gather momentum.
In 2007, Singh signed on as Global Ambassador for Eagles for St. Jude, initially pledging $1,000 for each of his eagles. After his first visit to St. Jude and experiencing first-hand the incredible courage of the many young patients there, he quickly increased his donation. Singh, who made 12 eagles last year, donated $50,000 for the 2007 season, a $38,000 donation above his commitment. This, along with donations from Stanford Financial Group and the Stanford St. Jude Championship, brought in a record $1.76 million for the hospital.
Singh increased his pledge to $5,000 per every eagle carded during the 2008 season and then enlisted fellow Stanford Athlete Ambassador Camilo Villegas to join him in supporting the program. Not one to pass up a challenge, Villegas pledged to donate $3,000 this year for each of his eagles. When Stanford struck an endorsement deal with up- and-coming LPGA star Morgan Pressel, whose own life was affected by cancer when she lost her mother to the disease, she committed to donate $1,000 for each of her eagles.
Today, as he accepted the $2.57 million Eagles for St. Jude and Stanford St. Jude Championship donation, David L. McKee, Chief Operating Officer and interim CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude, said, "On behalf of our patients and their families, I want to thank Stanford Financial Group, FedEx and these wonderful golfers for this remarkable gift. Your compassion and support of our lifesaving work will make a lasting difference in the lives of our patients and children all over the world who know hope thanks to the research and care pioneered by St. Jude."
Not surprisingly, as Singh, Villegas and Pressel gathered at St. Jude today, the three committed to continuing their support of Eagles for St. Jude during the 2009 PGA and LPGA seasons and discussed ways to get other professional golfers involved.
Singh said, "If every golfer spent just one minute with these remarkable kids, each and every one of them would commit to supporting Eagles for St. Jude. How could they not?"
Consider that a challenge, golfers.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatments not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org
About Eagles for St. Jude
Eagles for St Jude is a program created during Stanford Financial Group's inaugural sponsorship year of the Stanford St. Jude Championship out of the desire to provide a season-long fundraising component to the Memphis PGA tournament. For each eagle carded on the PGA TOUR and LPGA, Stanford donates $1,000 per eagle to Eagles for St. Jude. In addition, PGA professionals Vijay Singh, who serves as the Eagles for St. Jude Ambassador, and Camilo Villegas personally donate $5,000 and $3,000, respectively, for each eagle they make to the program. Eagles for St. Jude is jointly sponsored by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Stanford Financial Group. It is also supported by the Golf Channel, which provides season-long updates and promotional support for Eagles for St. Jude. More information on the program can be found at www.eaglesforstjude.com
About Stanford Financial Group
Stanford Financial Group is a privately held global network of independent, affiliated financial services companies led by Chairman of the Board Sir Allen Stanford. The first Stanford company was founded by his grandfather, Lodis B. Stanford in 1932. Stanford's core businesses are private wealth management and investment banking for institutions and emerging growth companies.
The Stanford Financial Group of companies provides private and institutional investors with global expertise in asset allocation strategies, investment advisory services, award-winning policy and equity research, international private banking and trust administration, commercial banking, investment banking, merchant banking, institutional sales and trading, real estate investment and insurance. Stanford has more than $50 billion in assets under management or advisement.
Stanford Financial has made it a priority to invest in the communities in which it operates across the globe through signature corporate philanthropy initiatives with nonprofit organizations such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and countless local and national charities that strengthen communities.
Securities products and services are offered in the United States through Stanford Group Company, member FINRA/SIPC. Stanford Financial Group is not a legal entity, but a registered trademark that encompasses the global network of independent, but affiliated, privately held and wholly owned entities. More information can be found at www.stanfordfinancial.com.
About the Stanford St. Jude Championship
The Stanford St. Jude Championship, presented by FedEx ... now in its 52nd year of providing professional golf to Memphis and the Mid-South ... began as the Memphis Open in 1958. In 1970, the tournament adopted St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as its sole beneficiary and since then has raised more than $21 million for the research and treatment of catastrophic childhood diseases. Over 1,850 volunteers produce the official PGA TOUR event under the auspices of Children's Champions for Hope, the 501(c) 3 governing body that co-sponsors the event. Past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman, Curtis Strange, Fred Couples, Nick Price, Tom Kite, David Toms and defending champion Justin Leonard. Next year's event is scheduled for June 8-14, 2009 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, TN. For more information, visit www.stanfordstjude.com.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $39 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 employees and contractors to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit news.fedex.com.
|SOURCE Stanford Financial Group; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital|
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