Ponte Vedra Beach, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–December 14, 2005–The PGA TOUR announced today that actor George Lopez will narrate and host Thanks a Billion, a one-hour special presented by the PGA TOUR and AstraZeneca, that airs nationally on ABC, December 17 from 3-4 p.m. ET. Produced by PGA TOUR Productions, the show will highlight the PGA TOUR’s $1 billion milestone in charitable giving and take a closer look at five of the thousands of charities that benefit from the TOUR’s contributions each year. PGA TOUR players Zach Johnson, Robert Gamez, Bart Bryant, Jason Bohn and Stuart Appleby are featured in the show with footage from their charity visits throughout the season.
Lopez, the creator, producer and star of ABC’s sitcom “George Lopez,” is a regular at the PGA TOUR’s Chrysler Bob Hope Classic and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where in 2004 he and his pro partner, Jesper Parnevik, finished third. Lopez is ranked 45th on the 2005 Golf Digest Hollywood Top 100 celebrity golf list with a 14.2 handicap.
“I’ve always admired the PGA TOUR and the emphasis they have placed on charitable contributions in communities across the country”, said Lopez. “I urge people to tune in to see some of golf’s biggest stars and the special organizations and individuals that have benefited over the years.”
The PGA TOUR is the only pro sports league designed to donate its net proceeds from tournaments to local charities, meaning nearly all of the TOUR’s 100+ tournaments around the country are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Because of its unique charitable set up, the TOUR relies on more than 80,000 volunteers a year to help run its tournaments.
The PGA TOUR officially surpassed the $1 billion mark in October at the Chrysler Championship. Tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour generated approximately $90 million for charity in 2005 alone and are expected to raise their second Billion dollars in less than 10 years. Since the TOUR’s first recorded donation of $10,000 in 1938, more than 2,000 charities and one million lives have been helped annually.
During the 2005 season, the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour and their tournaments participated in “Drive to a Billion”, a year-long campaign focused on reaching the milestone and celebrating the spirit of giving in more than 100 communities across the country.
Thanks a Billion will also profile the CRESTOR(R) Charity Challenge, a weekly competition that debuted in 2004 and recognizes the tournament leader entering the final round at 35 PGA TOUR events throughout the year. Through the program, AstraZeneca and its cholesterol medication CRESTOR have donated $6.2 million to health care and PGA TOUR charities.
The program will include special moments from the 2005 PGA TOUR season and highlight the following charities, which are supported by the accompanying TOUR event:
— Gilda’s Club – John Deere Classic (Silvis, IL)
This year the John Deere Classic initiated the “Think Pink” charity program aimed at raising awareness for breast cancer in association with Gilda’s Club. Gilda’s Club was also the beneficiary of this year’s CRESTOR(R) Charity Challenge and received a $50,000 donation. At Gilda’s Club, where every membership is free-of-charge, a community of support is developed in which people of all ages with all kinds of cancer learn from one another how to live more fully.
— Girls on the Run – Albertsons Boise Open (Boise, ID)
Girls on the Run offers a non-competitive after school program combining physical activity and experiential learning through a psychology-based curriculum to reduce the potential display of at-risk activities among its participants.
— St. Michael’s Special School – Zurich Classic of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
The Fore! Kids Foundation, a beneficiary of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, donates more than $25,000 to the St. Michael’s Special School annually. St. Michael’s Special School’s mission is to provide opportunities for students to develop their Catholic faith and to receive a high quality education that includes religious, academic, social, vocational and physical training.
— Heart Institute at Virginia Mason – Boeing Greater Seattle Classic (Seattle, WA)
More than $750,000 was raised this year for the Heart Institute at Virginia Mason, the sole beneficiary of the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic. The Heart Institute at Virginia Mason was recently recognized as a “Center of Excellence” by United Healthcare.
— City Dance – Deutsche Bank Championship (Boston, MA)
Established in the fall of 1991, City Dance is a scholarship dance program offered to third-grade students in the Boston Public Schools. Because of its broad scope and commitment to excellence, City Dance has become a model dance education program for institutions across the country.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. Its primary purpose is to provide competitive earnings opportunities for past, current and future members of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour; to protect the integrity of the game; and to help grow the reach of the game in the U.S. and around the world. More than 100 events were contested on the three Tours in 2005, for approximately $320 million in prize money. The PGA TOUR’s Web site address is http://www.pgatour.com.
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