WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — From the 2016 CVS Health Charity Classic, 90 non-profit community organizations benefited, with more than $1 million shared among them.
This year also marked a major milestone: in the charity event’s 18-year history, it’s handed out $20 million, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo announced Tuesday morning.
“We’re really proud to be a small part of making our community a better place to live,” he said.
Headed up by co-chairs Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon, the Charity Classic combines a passion for golf with a philanthropic spirit, with top golfers hitting the links and raising money for programs considered critical throughout Southern New England.
“You get folks that come up to you and say, ‘you know you don’t know what this check means — this check represents 30, 40, 50 percent of my operating budget for the year,'” said Merlo. “Without the work of the Charity Classic, the important work that they do in our communities isn’t possible.”
Among those recipients was the Boston Red Sox Foundation, and honorary chairman and pitching legend Tim Wakefield expressed his appreciation Tuesday. “With the Red Sox Foundation, we have five cornerstones we contribute to and it’s really making a difference in the lives of the families in New England… For CVS to pick us as a beneficiary from this tournament, it truly is amazing.”
Special Olympics Rhode Island CEO Dennis DeJesus said his athletes rely on donations from the Classic: “We’re dependent on the funds in order to provide the services… [For] year-round athletic training and competition for 3,200 athletes, you need the support of your community, and the financial partnership we have with CVS is instrumental in us providing those great opportunities for our athletes.”
The CVS Health Charity Classic is the largest charitable sporting event in Rhode Island. The 19th annual Classic will kick off on Sunday, June 18, 2017, once again at the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington.