Tablet Local

Colonial charities hands out holiday checks to nonprofits

Young domestic violence victims, students struggling in school and little ones coping with a death in the family will be better served thanks to money raised through the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Fundraising tied to the longtime Fort Worth PGA Tour event generated a record $7.8 million in 2013. More than $150,000 was distributed in checks Tuesday morning during the annual Colonial Country Club Charities Holiday Breakfast.

“It’s one of our favorite days of the year,” said Craig Nicholson, chairman of the Colonial Country Club Charities Committee. “This money is the culmination of everything.”

Seventy-one area charities and other nonprofits received checks at the breakfast. The organizations included the AIDS Outreach Center, the Learning Center of North Texas, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, Camp Fire USA-First Texas Council and the Star-Telegram Goodfellow Fund.

Charity dollars were generated through several events tied to the tournament, including Birdies for Charity, which raised about $5.8 million.

As part of that program, 30 local nonprofits solicited pledges from individuals and corporations for every birdie made by golfers during the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

The pledges were boosted by matching funds of $200,000 from Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Colonial Country Club and several other companies.

The Birdies for Charity money was awarded Nov. 30, and additional funding was previously given to Cook Children’s Medical Center and to a tornado relief fund for victims in North Texas and Oklahoma.

This is the second year that donations have exceeded $7 million, officials said.

“We’d love to get that to $10 million,” said Michael Tothe, tournament director. “It’s our way of saying, ‘Thank you.’”

Donations will largely help young people through various programs, including camp scholarships for disabled youngsters, residency programs for abused or neglected children, college scholarships and after-school programs.

Mary Lee Hafley, president and CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County, said the group received a $6,000 check that will help support children who are victims of domestic abuse.

Bronwyn Rew, development coordinator for the Learning Center of North Texas, left the breakfast with a $1,000 check to support educational evaluations for youngsters 4-18 who are struggling in school.

The evaluations help pinpoint learning issues such as dyslexia, Rew said.

“People are so grateful to know what their problems are and what they can do about it,” Rew said.

In the past 16 years, the tournament has raised $60 million for more than 150 organizations, according to the Colonial Charities Committee. More than $8 million of that has gone to Cook Children’s Medical Center.