The PGA Tour likes to talk about the money it raises for charity.
Truth be known, the tour has always let the locals do the heavy lifting when it comes to charities and dollars.
Look at the tour’s mission statement and no where are charities mentioned:
By showcasing golf’s greatest players, we engage, inspire and positively impact our fans, partners and communities worldwide.
Then there is the mission states of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital:
The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
Of the many great words in that mission statement, the greatest words: “no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.”
Note that one cannot even “volunteer” to work at a PGA Tour event without forking over a minimum of $70-$80 for an outfit.
Also notice the name Danny Thomas in the St. Jude mission statement.
And that brings us to this week’s stop on the PGA Tour.
A good friend made this astute observation:
“St. Jude’s may not by the most significant tournament on the PGA Tour but IT IS the MOST IMPORTANT.”
No better words cannot be spoken when it comes to the now world-famous St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Danny Thomas’ name used to be on this tournament, and for good reason.
Perhaps we should quickly defer to the St. Jude’s website, where Danny Thomas’ story is recounted, it reads like this:
More than 70 years ago, Danny Thomas, then a struggling young entertainer with a baby on the way, visited a Detroit church and was so moved during the Mass, he placed his last $7 in the collection box. When he realized what he’d done, Danny prayed for a way to pay the looming hospital bills. The next day, he was offered a small part that would pay 10 times the amount he’d given to the church. Danny had experienced the power of prayer.
Two years later, Danny had achieved moderate acting success in Detroit, but he was struggling to take his career to the next level. Once again, he turned to the church. Praying to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, Danny asked the saint to “help me find my way in life, and I will build you a shrine.”
His career took a turn for the better, and soon he moved his family to Chicago to pursue career offers. A few years later, at another turning point in his life, Danny visited a church and remembered his pledge to St. Jude. Again he prayed to St. Jude and repeated his pledge to build a shrine to the saint if he would show him the way.
In the years that followed, Danny’s career flourished through films and television, and he became an internationally known entertainer. He remembered his pledge to build a shrine to St. Jude.
In the early 1950s, Danny began discussing with friends what concrete form his vow might take. Gradually, the idea of a children’s hospital, possibly in Memphis, Tennessee, took shape. In 1955, Danny Thomas and a group of Memphis businessmen who had agreed to help support his dream seized on the idea of creating a unique research hospital devoted to curing catastrophic diseases in children. More than just a treatment facility, this would be a research center for the children of the world.
Danny started raising money for his vision of St. Jude in the early 1950s. By 1955, the local business leaders who had joined his cause began area fundraising efforts, supplementing Danny’s benefit shows that brought scores of major entertainment stars to Memphis. Often accompanied by his wife, Rose Marie, Danny crisscrossed the United States by car, sharing his dream and raising funds at meetings and benefits. The pace was so hectic that Danny Thomas and his wife once visited 28 cities in 32 days. Although Danny Thomas and his friends raised the money to build the hospital, they now faced the daunting task of funding its annual operation.
To solve this problem, Danny, of Lebanese descent, turned to his fellow Americans of Arabic-speaking heritage. Believing deeply that these Americans should, as a group, thank the United States for the gifts of freedom given their parents, Danny also felt the support of St. Jude would be a noble way of honoring his immigrant forefathers who had come to America.
Danny’s request struck a responsive chord. In 1957, 100 representatives of the Arab-American community met in Chicago to form ALSAC® with a sole purpose of raising funds for the support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Since that time, with national headquarters in Memphis and regional offices throughout the United States, ALSAC has assumed full responsibility for all the hospital’s fundraising efforts, raising hundreds of millions annually through benefits and solicitation drives among Americans of all ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds. Today, ALSAC is the nation’s second largest health-care charity* and is supported by the efforts of more than 1 million volunteers nationwide.
St. Jude’s has grown into one of the world’s finest if not the finest institution of its kind.
Which brings us back to the PGA Tour.
This week the tour announced yet another money grab — a windfall of $2 billion that echoes the Gordon Gekko declaration from the movie Wall Street that “Greed is good…”
What the tour needs to do is share a very small portion of that windfall and announce that it, as an organization, is donating $25 million out of its obese pockets to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Then the PGA Tour would actually act like a Not-For-Profit entity.