Denton: OMYF Raises $250K at Golf Tournament


By John Denton
October 12, 2012

LAKE BUENA VISTA – Alex Martins surveyed the clubhouse area at the Disney World Golf Resort on Friday, seeing more than 200 eager golfers who had been in attendance at the Orlando Magic’s preseason game the night before. It was then that Martins, the Magic’s CEO, was reminded of the unique partnership between the franchise and its loyal fan base.

Be it a preseason game between the Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers or a golf outing to raise money for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF), Magic fans are always there to lend their support, Martins noted.

“We’ve got such a great relationship with our corporate partners and our season ticket holders. I honestly believe that they understand our mission to make our community a better place to live,” Martins said. “Our fans really enjoy coming out and helping us raise the money for our community and it means a lot to us.”

What Friday’s OMYF Open at Disney’s Palm and Magnolia courses meant to the Central Florida community was approximately $250,000 raised when totaled with a match from the McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF). That money will be pooled with other funds raised by the Magic and will be awarded in the form of grants to roughly two dozen non-profit organizations early next year. The golf tournament is the Magic’s second-largest fundraiser of the year, trailing only the OMYF Gala in the spring, and will help the franchise inch closer to its goal of raising $1 million for charities in Central Florida.

New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn lent his support to the tournament, greeting golfers at the event Friday afternoon. Roughly a dozen Magic players, namely Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Al Harrington and rookie Andrew Nicholson, were also in attendance to take pictures with fans and sign autographs.

There were 19 non-profit organizations that received grant money totaling $1 million from the OMYF-MFF last year. It was the second consecutive year that the OMYF-MFF gave $1 million away, raising the total to approximately $17 million awarded to local non-profit groups over the past 22 years.

Three organizations were the beneficiaries of $100,000 grants from the OMYF-MFF last year: the Orlando Health Foundation (Howard Phillips Center), the Osceola Council on Aging and the Conductive Education Center of Orlando. The other 2012 grant recipients were: Adult Literacy League ($30,00), Apopka Family Learning Center (Justice & Peace Office) ($53,000), Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida ($75,000), Bridges of Light Foundation ($35,000), Community Coordinated Child Care ($35,000), Early Learning Coalition ($50,000), Foster Grandparent Program ($75,000), Foundation for Orange County Public Schools ($50,000), Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools ($20,000), Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida ($75,000), Foundation of Osceola Education ($20,000), GROWS Literacy Council ($30,000), Hope CommUnity Center ($40,000), Gift of Swimming ($20,000), Boys' Town of Central Florida ($50,000) and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($42,000).

Each year when the Magic award the oversized checks to the organizations – a ceremony that is usually filled with a mixture of joyful tears and wide smiles from the recipients – Martins admittedly has trouble hiding his own emotions. He calls the awarding of the $1 million his “favorite day of the year.”

“When you’re giving away $1 million to a couple of dozen underprivileged children organizations, every year it’s my favorite day of the year because I know that we’re making an impact,” Martins said. “We’re helping kids who really need it, it keeps them off the streets and it prepares them for a better life ahead. So, it really is my favorite day of the year.”

Martins said the Magic’s desire to make a difference in the community stems from the top where owner Rich DeVos has always been devoted to giving back. Martins said that while the Magic’s ultimate goal is to bring a first NBA championship to Orlando, the franchise does not shy away from it desire to also make a major impact in the Central Florida community. The approximately $250,000 raised including the McCormick match will go toward helping the Magic make a difference, and they have their loyal fans to thank for helping support the golf tournament and giving back to those most in need.

“It’s right in our mission statement that our mission is to be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way,” Martins said. “The off-the-court stuff is just as important to us. We obviously want to win, but giving back to our community is something that we want to do as well. It’s not that we have to do it; we want to do it.

“We work really hard every year to get to that goal of $1 million because we think that’s a significant milestone to give back to our community and help the kids, especially in these tough times,” Martins added. “It’s not even a labor of love; it’s all love.”

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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