Charity

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The PDL is proud of its commitment and tradition of philanthropy. Each year’s Chairman is responsible for working with the Chairman Emeritus to select a suitable charity for that year’s tournament and organize the collection and distribution of funds. Each year a generous contribution is made by the players of the Tournament benefiting a charity that is disclosed during the Opening Ceremonies.

2017: The Education Trust for the Children of Richard M. Massie

 

2016: The Dominic Fouts Memorial Cancer Fund

2015:  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

2014 – The Davis Love III Foundation

2013 – Greenbrier Hotel United Fund

2012 – The Keepers of the Green

2010- The Davis Love III Foundation

2009 – The September 11th Foundation in honor of “Deeg” Sezna

2008 – Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation

2007- The Wounded Warrior Project


2017

The Education Trust for the Children of Richard M. Massie

This year’s tournament was dedicated to the memory of Richard Massie, loving father of three children and twin brother of Henry. Richard played in eight PDL invitationals, winning the Fountain of Youth cup three times. Richard triumphed in 2004 in Orlando with “The Dawgs. ” He won the 2005 MVP in Palm Beach when he Captained Black Sunday to a dominant Championship, going undefeated for the week, defeating Neil Thomson in singles at PGA National Resort. Richard chaired the 2010 tournament at Sea Island when he won his third title with The Red Numbers.

More than those accomplishments though, the Ponce lost one if its own this February. We miss Richard’s laughter. We miss our drinking buddy. We miss our friend.

Richard had reached out in January about playing in this year’s Ponce. Richard will not be the last one of us to go, but he will always be the first. Richard’s death provides us all a stark reminder how fragile…how special this life is.

Every drained clutch putt, each sunset through these North Carolina pines, every beer, laugh or memory with an old friend, we remember Richard who we know was with us all this week.


2016

The Ponce honors the memory of Nick Fouts and the Dominic Fouts Memorial Cancer Fund this year in its battle to support cancer fighters.

The Dominic Fouts Memorial Cancer Fund is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds through special events to help support cancer fighters. Dominic Daniel Fouts (aka Nick), son of Oregon Duck and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, was delivered the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer on July 4, 2009, just 12 days before his 31st birthday. Stoic throughout his 3 year battle, Nick continued to teach middle school science, snowboard, surf, and travel as much as he could between the surgeries and treatments that left him ill. He unexpectedly lost his battle on August 12, 2012, though he never stopped fighting.


2015

St. Jude 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 St. Jude’s founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay.


2014

The Davis Love III Foundation

The Davis Love Foundation contributes to the well-being and progress of society by supporting both national and community-based programs that focus on children and their families. Headquartered in St. Simons Island, GA, the private Foundation provides a positive and far-reaching vehicle for creative solutions to social ills that affect children and their families. The ambitious mission of the Davis Love Foundation is to help build a better future for vulnerable children and their families who are at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. The Foundation provides grants and donations to community-based programs that focus on children and families in need.


2013

The Greenbrier Hotel United Fund

The Greenbrier employees have been extremely hospitable to the Ponce in 2011 and 2013 and we want to show our sincere appreciation by donating $1,600 to this charitable cause. We are thrilled to be donating alongside the employees of the Greenbrier. The Greenbrier employees raise monies throughout the year via raffles, drawings and more, and the Ponce is proud to add to this effort.  Each holiday season, the Board of Directors distributes the funds to local food banks and other local causes, thereby helping the neediest of the needy. The Greenbrier is a major employment center for this area of West Virginia and we hope that people that are less fortunate will appreciate this contribution. We are thankful that we are able to visit a beautiful place like the Greenbrier and equally as thankful we are able to give back to the local community.


2012

Keepers Of The Green

The 2012 Charity is the Keepers of the Green, an international golfing fellowship, founded in 1995 and based in St Andrews, whose mission is: “To promote the game of golf and to improve lives through powered mobility”. The Ponce is proud to present a check this year of £1400 or over $2100. Since its formation, Keepers of the Green’s extensive fundraising activities have resulted in life changing experiences for over 200 individuals who have been presented with powered wheelchairs (worth approx £700,000). Our main wheelchair presentation takes place, through the generous co-operation of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, at each year’s Open Championship. Additional presentations are made following the Members’ annual Spring and Autumn Meetings when they play with the authentic 5 hickory clubs on one of St Andrews seven courses – an arrangement greatly assisted by the kind cooperation of the Links Management Committee of St Andrews.

We also very much appreciate the support of the St Andrews Golf Club which provides our office base. The Patron of Keepers of the Green is the internationally renowned Golf Historian, David Joy, best known as “the man who plays Tom Morris”, portrayed internationally on stage and screen. Honorary Members include Peter Alliss, Peter Thomson, Sir Michael Bonallack and Emil Pacholek. The Keepers of the Green Foundation (as a registered charity) is our vehicle for accepting and using donated funds and has, over the years, discovered and developed many friends and kindred spirits throughout the world ready to help us in our quest to increase mobility for others. In line with our objective to promote the heritage of the game of golf, “Keepers” was also established as the first ever golfing tribute to Old Tom Morris, who made such an outstanding contribution to the game during his lifetime. It is therefore fitting that Tom Morris should be the figurehead of this unique golfing organisation and also particularly appropriate given that one of his sons was severely disabled but that did not prevent him working in his father’s club makers shop overlooking the 18th green of the Old Course.


2010

The Davis Love III Foundation


2009

The September 11th Foundation in honor of “Deeg” Sezna

Gentlemen:

A follow up to my comments from Sunday night.  This year for our annual charity/philanthropic pursuit, we are paying tribute to the life of Davis G. “Deeg” Sezna, Jr…  Deeg (pronounced “Deeg”) was the eldest son of our new Friend of the Ponce, Davis Sezna — the President of La Quinta Resort & Club.  Deeg was a 23 year-old recent Vanderbilt graduate whose life was cut tragically short during the 9/11 attacks.  He worked for Sandler O’Neill on the 104th Floor of the South Tower.  Deeg was a Cum Laude graduate of the Sanford School in Wilmington, Delaware (playing varsity golf there all 4 years), before heading to Vandy where he was was Treasurer of Pi Kappa Alpha.  He graduated in 2001 with a BA in Economics and headed to NYC where the world was waiting for his leadership.  His career goal was to succeed his father one day as a leader in hospitality business, but first wanted to cut his teeth in the city.  Deeg was an accomplished golfer.  He once remarked that he wanted to win the Delaware State Am, as his father and grandfather did.  Just a week prior to his death, Deeg played a round over at New Jersey National Golf Club.

Even though none of us had met Deeg, we all knew him.  Why? — Because we are all sons, and many of you are fathers — so it is only appropriate that we pay tribute to his life, and we will try to carry on his golfing and leadership legacy.  Simply put, he was a brother-in-arms to the Ponce.  Please read a nice article written by another Friend of the Ponce, Matt Ginella (as we know, Matt was instrumental in putting us in touch with Mr. Sezna and La Quinta for our 7th Annual tournament).  I am making Matt aware of our gift as well.

Matt’s article sheds some light on the strength of the Sezna family: Click Here to Read.  As I mentioned at Palmer’s, we can all learn from the courage and character exhibited by Mr. Sezna in the wake of the death of 2 of his 3 sons: (son Teddy Sezna was killed in a boating accident on the Delaware River in July of 2000)  His optimism in the face of adversity and ability to console those around him with humor.

I will be sure to copy you all on a more formal letter to the Sezna family and to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, once we have raised the money and formally set up the fund.

The funds we accumulate will enable us to have a paver made as a memoriam to Deeg that will be located on the grounds of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza where the Towers once stood.  I hope to include some type of written tribute on the paver that reads something similar to: From 16 Gentlemen Golfers of the Ponce de Leon Invitational to 1 Gentleman Golfer, Davis G. “Deeg” Sezna, Jr. – For Love of the Game!

Our tribute will also be recognized in the Opening Day program, on the website, and in the World Trade Center Memorial kiosk.

As I mentioned above, I will be sure to include all of you in more formal correspondence once we set up the fund.

Thanks for “getting it” –

Neil Thomson

Chairman Emeritus


2008

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Foundation


2007

The Wounded Warrior Project

This was the first year the PDL incorporated an annual charity to the tournament. Wes Battle added this element and introduced the Wounded Warrior Project to the Ponce.


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