On a day much too cold for golf, area civic leaders gathered Tuesday at Firestone Country Club to celebrate what the summer tournament means to area charities.
This year, it means about $1.08 million.
The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational awarded $924,943 to 49 charities at the Northern Ohio Golf Charities recognition program. Another $85,079 was raised in association with the Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio Akron Race for the Cure that kicked off tournament week at the golf course last summer, $63,682 was generated through the Tickets Fore Charity program and $14,138 came from the Birdies Fore Charity program that Akron Children’s Hospital promotes.
The Ronald McDonald House of Akron and the sister organization in Cleveland were named as anchor charities for future Bridgestone Invitational tournaments. They will receive $50,000 each from 2013 proceeds.
Among the money disbursed from 2012 proceeds, Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio received $8,098 to help buy wheelchairs to be used in rugby games that help people with physical disabilities exercise and have fun.
Lisa Followay, executive director of the group, said the sport once was called “murderball” and is played on an indoor basketball court. New rules have made it safer. Participants have a disability affecting at least three limbs.
Falloway called it a “combination of multiple sports — a little bit of soccer, a little bit of rugby, a little bit of football — but it is played from a special wheelchair.”
A single wheelchair can cost $4,000.
The organization will be able to build at least one more after receiving an additional $5,000 as the 2013 Bridgestone Award winner.
Bridgestone also saluted about 1,000 area residents who help at the tournament.
“I would like to say thank you to the volunteers,” said Hank Hara, chief technology officer of Bridgestone Americas Inc. “Without them, this would not be possible.”
Tom Van Auker, president of the Northern Ohio Golf Charities executive committee, praised the nonprofits attending the lunch and said he wished the foundation could help even more.
“Your stories are compelling, and your needs are deserving,” he told them.
Nonprofit groups seeking grants from this year’s tournament proceeds can find details at www.nogcf.org. Tournament week begins July 28 with the Komen 5K race. First-round golf action will be Aug. 1.
Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org.