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2020 Shaw Charity Classic raises $12M for youth-based Alberta charities despite pandemic

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Shaw Charity Classic executive director Sean Van Kesteren joins Global News Morning Calgary via Skype to discuss the donations raised for Alberta children’s charities in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. – Dec 7, 2020

Organizers of the Shaw Charity Classic say they were able to raise over $12 million for charity this year despite the cancellation of the 2020 event.

The annual tournament, a part of the PGA Tour Champions, was scheduled to be held at the Canyons Meadows Golf and Country Club in Calgary from Aug. 24-30 but was scrapped two months prior due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, organizers promised the event’s annual Shaw Birdies for Kids program would continue.

Read more: Shaw Charity Classic cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic

The tournament’s title sponsor, Shaw Communications, along with the Shaw family were first to step up in the annual fundraising drive with a commitment to match up to $2 million in community donations.

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“Their leadership sparked a flood of donations throughout the summer months, resulting in the second-highest tally in the eight-year history of the event,” organizers announced Monday, saying Canadians from coast to coast chipped in to help the program raise a total of $12,572,483.

“While we always look forward to gathering at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club each summer to watch spectacular golf by many of the game’s greatest players, what makes the event truly special is the unwavering commitment of the generous donors across the country who show up every year to support the charitable groups that are making our communities better places to live,” said Jim Riddell, Chair of the Shaw Charity Classic’s seven-member Patron Group, in a Monday news release.

“We are humbled and touched by everything that has been accomplished, thanks to thousands of Canadians who have rallied together in a time of crisis to support hundreds of charities through this much-needed fundraising platform.”

Read more: 2019 Shaw Charity Classic raises $14M for youth-based Alberta charities

The money will go toward 200 youth-based charities across Alberta, bringing the tournament’s fundraising totals to more than $61 million since it began in 2013.

Each of the participating charities connected to the SCC receives 100 per cent of all donations collected on their behalf, plus up to 50 per cent in matched funding provided by the SCC.

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“Funds raised have helped deliver a positive impact for children in the areas of health, food support, family support, development and counselling, sports, arts, and youth programming during the pandemic,” a news release stated.

“Beyond the legendary golf and the electric energy of the crowds that line the fairways, supporting the charities that work tirelessly to help improve the lives of Alberta’s youth and their families has always been at the heart of the Shaw Charity Classic,” said Brad Shaw, Executive Chair & CEO, Shaw Communications.

“In a year that can only be described as challenging, it is inspiring and humbling to see how people have once again rallied together to support the charities that make such a difference.”

Read more: Mike Weir surprises Calgary charity with video call and donation

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of Albertans in supporting hundreds of children’s charities throughout our province since we helped launch the Birdies for Kids program,” said Scott Thon, AltaLink President & CEO.

“Charities in our province need us now, more than ever, to stay operational. They are all experiencing increased pressure to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the families in our communities during this unprecedented time.”

The 2021 Shaw Charity Classic is scheduled for Aug. 11-15.

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