The annual community support event continues to grow as one of the country’s most impactful fundraising events – Think Local


As Canadians put their golf clubs away for hockey sticks this winter, the impact of Calgary’s Shaw Charity Classic continues to be felt in the communities and charities it supports throughout the season. ‘year.

In early November, the Shaw Charity Classic announced that it had raised a record $ 14.8 million in charitable donations in 2021, bringing its nine-year fundraising total to $ 76 million and putting it on par with national fundraisers like the Canadian Cancer Society. The CIBC Run for the Cure and the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Meanwhile, the professional golf event that started with a charitable element has grown into a community fundraising giant – supporting 233 youth charities across Alberta while showcasing some of the most big names in the sport as the only Canadian stop for the PGA TOUR champions.

But how did the Shaw Charity Classic become one of the nation’s biggest fundraising success stories? Simply put, it is a deep commitment to the community.

Almost a decade ago, the late Clay Riddell, a titan of Calgary’s business and philanthropy community, had the bold idea of ​​creating an event that would introduce the city to a global audience and, most importantly, serve Charitable Giving Platform to support organizations working to make a difference in the lives of children and their families across Alberta.

He rallied a group of like-minded Calgary business leaders to help make that vision a reality, but it was a call between Clay and JR Shaw, the late founder of Shaw Communications, that set the wheels in motion. JR did not hesitate to support an event in perfect harmony with the values ​​he had put in place for his family and his business.

With Shaw Communications enthusiastically on board as the title sponsor, the Shaw Charity Classic was born. And it didn’t take long for the tournament’s impact to be felt in the community.

“In its inaugural year of 2013, we raised approximately two and a quarter million dollars for what were then just 15 charities in southern Alberta and Calgary,” said Brad Shaw, the son of JR Shaw as well as Executive Chairman and CEO of Shaw Communications. “It was a big deal. And it was an event that was held unlike most other professional freshman golf tournaments.

Since 2013, the tournament has continued to increase the number of youth charities it supports. According to Shaw Charity Classic Executive Director Sean Van Kesteren, it was the tournament’s matchmaking program that kicked off this expansion.

“After a few years, we developed a program called Shaw Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink, which was basically our charity platform for the event,” said Van Kesteren. “And because of the way we’ve built this platform, it’s allowed us to grow from 80 or 90 charities to 233 across the province.”

One organization that has been supported by the tournament since day one is KidSport Calgary. According to its CEO, Kevin Webster, the organization has benefited greatly from the fundraising efforts of the Shaw Charity Classic as well as the public exposure KidSport Calgary was able to secure from the tournament itself.

“Partnering with a great organization like Shaw and a world class event like the Shaw Charity Classic has had a huge impact on us,” said Webster. “We have been able to help more than 30,000 children access sport over the past nine years, and we have seen significant growth in both the demand for our services and the impact of our programs in the world. the community.

“The opportunity offered by the Shaw Charity Classic is something you just can’t create. The thousands of fans, the commitment to the community and now the hundreds of charities involved. It’s such a cool story and one that we are lucky to be a part of and have in this city.

PGA TOUR Champions President Miller Brady said the factor that makes the Shaw Charity Classic different has been its ability to tap into the deep neighborhood pride that exists among residents of Calgary and southern Alberta.

“What I would say that makes the Shaw Charity Classic so unique and so special is really its ability to engage with Calgarians, and this community is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Brady. “When it comes to wanting to support and wanting to help grow charity, as well as helping children within the community, this is the most special thing that I have seen in my years. working in professional golf.

“The speed with which the community has rallied around this tournament is truly remarkable.”

A more recent example of the Shaw Charity Classic’s strong community engagement came last year, when restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced tournament organizers to cancel the in-person event. . Despite the cancellation, Canadians rallied around the event’s charity platform, helping to raise $ 12.6 million in 2020.

“The pandemic may have been a big obstacle to organizing the event, but what it definitely proved was that the cancellation was not an obstacle to people’s generosity,” said added Shaw.

Title sponsor of the event for nine years already, Brad Shaw said he looked forward to seeing the event continue to grow, while helping to support charities and organizations that are making a difference in the community.

“When you organize this kind of event that is successful, not only in the amount of money raised, the number of charities affected, the number of families affected and the impact on the community in general, you don’t no choice but to say that we must continue to support this.

The impact of the tournament has been so significant that when Rogers and Shaw announced their intention to join forces earlier this year, it was also announced that support for the Shaw Charity Classic would be extended for up to 10 years, ensuring thus the continuity of the legacy of the tournament. to thrive for years to come.

“You see Rogers’ commitment to extend their support for up to 10 years, that’s an important vote of confidence for the tournament,” Shaw said. “And it’s also a recognition of its importance to Calgary and Alberta and the charities the event supports. “

As the Shaw Charity Classic looks to the future and continues to expand its community support efforts, Brad Shaw can only marvel at how far the tournament has come in just nine short years. “It’s really become a staple, not only on the Calgary summer events calendar, but it’s now a mainstay for charities in Alberta that work with children and youth,” said Shaw. “They understand that the Shaw Charity Classic is vitally important to their fundraising efforts and will only continue to grow.”


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