The LPGA Tour has called northwest Ohio home since 1984 when Judd Silverman brought the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic to town.
No year has been more challenging than 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic caused numerous starts and stops. But it did not prevent the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana from being contested in August under brilliant conditions at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
And it didn’t hinder a record-setting year for charitable giving.
The tournament announced Thursday morning that $600,000 was raised for 25 northwest Ohio children’s charities, surpassing last year’s total by $30,000.
“Considering all the challenges presented by COVID-19 this year, this is an accomplishment we’re extra proud of,” said John Rice, manager of advertising and brand management at Marathon Petroleum. “We thank the sponsors, the volunteers, and all the loyal supporters of the Marathon LPGA Classic. Without them, this would not be possible. We’re already looking forward to 2021.”
For several months in the spring and summer, the Marathon Classic’s fate was in question. Would the tournament be conducted in 2020? Would there be fans? What would happen to the charities?
Fans were an unfortunate casualty, but Toledo became the center of the women’s golf universe for two weeks, as Inverness and Highland Meadows welcomed the LPGA Tour back after a six-month hiatus. The courses hosted back-to-back events on consecutive weekends, with American Danielle Kang earning a sweep.
“To be able to meet our pre-COVID goal for charity is a dream come true,” Silverman said. “It’s because of the generosity of our sponsors. We had many sponsors where we couldn’t fulfill their sponsorship because we weren’t allowed to have spectators. When we went to all of these sponsors and offered them a refund or the option to donate to the charities, to a T everyone of them made a donation.”
This year’s contribution takes the tournament over $12 million in charitable donations since 1984. Nearly 200 charities in northwest Ohio
“We can’t thank the sponsors and the LPGA enough for their unwavering support under difficult circumstances,” Silverman said. “They went above and beyond to make sure the tournament was held and that we were able to reach our goal to help 25 northwest Ohio children’s charities in a time of tremendous need.”
The tournament also announced the 30 charities that will receive contributions from the 2021 Marathon Classic: Autism Model School, Avenues for Autism, Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, Challenged Champions Equestrian Center, Children’s Mentoring Connection, Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Toledo, Good Grief of Northwest Ohio, Hilty Childcare and Preschool, Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund, Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, Michigan Lupus Foundation, Miracle League, On-Target Outfitters, Open Arms, Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center, Putnam County YMCA, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Serenity Farm Equestrian Center, Sylvania Community Arts Organization, The Victory Center, Toledo Cultural Arts Center – The Valentine Theatre, Toledo School For The Arts, Toledo Science Center – Imagination Station, Toledo SeaGate Food Bank, United States Vets, Wood County Plays, and Young Life.