A $390,000 donation to the Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative will go a long way toward putting books on the shelves and hope back in the hearts of kids and their teachers in the hurricane-devastated region, thanks to a unique PGA contest called Birdies for Books. For every birdie hole played at the April 2007 New Orleans PGA pro golf tournament, $100 was pledged to the Laura Bush Foundation library effort by tour sponsor, Zurich Financial Services.
Zurich officials announced today that a total of 1,556 birdies were made by tour players during the contest and the Birdies for Books program raised $390,000. Tournament champion Nick Watney, who carded a tournament-leading 19 birdies, donated an additional $25,000, bringing the total to $415,000. (A “birdie” is the term used to designate a score of one stroke under par on a hole.)
“I am so pleased with the results of the program and my thanks go out to everyone who participated,” said First Lady Laura Bush.
Local businesses and tournament spectators were encouraged to match donations as well.
In a generous contribution, Martha and Gary Solomon, local New Orleanians, donated $150,000 to the program. In addition, Nu-Lite Electrical Wholesalers in the New Orleans are, donated $76,000 to the Fore!Kids Foundation, which was immediately earmarked for Birdies for Books. Other local businesses, including Gennaro’s Bar and Restaurant and New Orleans Country Club, also contributed, as well as Houston, Texas-based The Coneway Foundation. Spectators at the Zurich Classic made donations at booths across the course and TV viewers contributed through BirdiesForBooks.com.
“Thanks to some great golf and generous people in New Orleans, schoolchildren in the region will have the books they need to learn and further their education,” said James J. Schiro, CEO of Zurich Financial Services. “We are thrilled and grateful that we surpassed our goal to raise $250,000 for the Gulf Coast School Library Recovery Initiative by more than $140,000.”