The Sanderson Farms Championship, Mississippi’s only PGA TOUR event, has presented a record-breaking $1.109 million-dollar donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital, the private fundraising organization dedicated to supporting Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson.
At a press conference on Jan. 12, tournament host Century Club Charities and title sponsor Sanderson Farms presented a check to the organization. This year’s donation is earmarked for improvements to University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which houses roughly 1,000 sick babies and is Mississippi’s only Level IV NICU, the highest level of care available for critically ill newborns.
Since Sanderson Farms became the tournament’s title sponsor in 2013, more than $2.7 million dollars has been donated to support Mississippi’s only children’s hospital. Joe F. Sanderson Jr., Sanderson Farms CEO and chairman of the board, sees the tournament’s seven figure donation as part of being a good corporate citizen.
“The charitable focus of this event is the main reason we became involved with the PGA TOUR as title sponsor of the Sanderson Farms Championship,” said Sanderson. “It’s a corporate responsibility to give back to others in the communities where we live, and being able to make a contribution of this magnitude benefiting an outstanding facility such as Batson Children’s Hospital is tremendous.”
In November 2015, Sanderson Farms announced its pledge to sponsor the tournament for an additional 10 years. The 10-year extension takes effect once the current agreement expires following the 2016 tournament, taking place October 24-30.
“We believe that it is important, particularly for the charities and for Batson Children’s Hospital, to know that we’re going to be here for that period of time,” continued Sanderson, “and for the Jackson metro area and the state of Mississippi to know that they can depend on us.”
Sara Ray, board chairman of Friends of Children’s Hospital, said Century Club Charities and the Sanderson Farms Championship have consistently reached beyond expectations. “Their long-term commitment to improving the lives of the children treated at Mississippi’s only children’s hospital is beyond what we had dared let ourselves believe possible. This substantial funding will help Friends continue our mission of meeting the extraordinary needs of the pediatric patients.”
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said, “The Sanderson Farms Championship is more than a golf tournament. It is an investment in the future of this state, our children and health care for our youngest citizens. We are deeply thankful to Sanderson Farms and Joe Sanderson Jr. for their dedication to excellence in health care.”
“The business of a PGA TOUR event is to create a charitable impact for the communities in which we live, work and play,” said Steve Jent, the tournament’s executive director. “The staff of the Sanderson Farms Championship works year-round to maximize that impact, and we are truly excited with what we’ve been able to accomplish with the support of Sanderson Farms, Century Club members, all our sponsors, donors and volunteers. This was another banner year for the tournament, and we are already at work to have an even greater year in 2016.”