The John Deere Classic’s Birdies for Charity program Monday officially kicked off its annual drive to help raise funds for more than 450 charities in the Quad Cities area.

The big news is that charity sign ups have re-opened after having been paused the last two years because of COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns. 501(c)3 organizations in Iowa or Illinois within 125 miles of TPC Deere Run in Silvis are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted through May 14, 2022, a news release says.

The charity kickoff comes as the tournament for the first time will take place one week earlier on the PGA Tour schedule – June 29-July 3 – and will welcome back unlimited spectators to witness the best players in the world compete for $7.1 million in prize money at TPC Deere Run, the release says.

“We are excited to kick off our annual Birdies for Charity fundraising drive today as we prepare to welcome back a full house of individual ticket holders, businesses and corporate partners,” said Clair Peterson, executive director of the John Deere Classic. “We also are pleased to invite the participation of new charities that have not been able to participate in our Birdies for Charity program for the last two years because of COVID-19 restrictions.”

“Moreover, we are promising that each participating organization will receive a minimum five percent bonus on all monies collected on their behalf,” Peterson said. “Tournament revenue is a key component in the Birdies for Charity model, and we are optimistic that having unlimited fans back will help us do even better than we did in 2021.”

Last year, the John Deere Classic delivered $12.56 million to 470 organizations through its Birdies for Charity program and provided an eight percent match.

As a reminder:

·       Donation amounts no longer are tied to the number of birdies recorded by tournament contestants. Instead, donors are asked to make a flat donation to the charity of their choice.

·       Donors will still be able to guess the total number of birdies Tour pros will record in the Wednesday Pro-Am and the 72-hole tournament for a chance to win a two-year lease on a 2022 Lexus RX350. Other prizes include a child-sized John Deere Gator (provided by John Deere) and tickets to the 2023 tournament.

·       All pledge forms are available at www.birdiesforcharity.com. There is no in-person pickup.

John Deere underwrites all administrative expenses for the Birdies program, making it possible for 100 percent of every donation – and a minimum five percent bonus – to go to each donor’s designated charity. 

As an incentive to attract charity donations, Smart Lexus of Quad Cities again has generously agreed to provide a two-year lease of a 2022 Lexus RX350 to one donor who correctly guesses the exact number of birdies recorded at this year’s tournament.

Smart Lexus of Quad Cities also will continue to provide courtesy cars to John Deere Classic contestants during the week of the tournament.

“We are pleased to have Smart Lexus of Quad Cities return as our automotive partner again this year,” Peterson said.  “The free two-year lease contest for the 2022 Lexus RX350 is a $20,000 value and provides a tremendous incentive for people to donate.  And we know the pros love driving a Lexus during tournament week.”

The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $145.66 million for charity, 98 percent of which has been raised since John Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1998.