Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Raises a Record $300,000+ for Central Florida Youth at Annual Golf Tournament
By John Denton
Nov. 18, 2016
ORLANDO – Nick Anderson hit the golf ball well on Friday and his team posted one of the day’s lowest scores at 8-under-par, but it was the camaraderie with fans who believe in both the Orlando Magic and the Central Florida community that the former standout forward savored the most.
Fully aware that the annual golf tournament is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation in its quest to make a difference with the people of Central Florida, Anderson wanted to do whatever he could to help out on Friday while playing golf, posing for pictures and signing numerous autographs.
Anderson was one of a record 224 golfers who took part in Friday’s 26th annual OMYF Open, presented by Chase, and the event raised more than $300,000 for the youth of Central Florida. Anderson, the first draft-pick in team history, said that the Magic’s commitment to helping those most in need in the Central Florida community has always been a directive of legendary owner Rich DeVos and the mission courses throughout the organization.
``I remember the day when Mr. DeVos bought the team and he said that this team belongs to the community and it will be in the community and it has backed that up,’’ said Anderson, who was dressed in a Magic blue polo shirt and black slacks. ``Not one day has this organization ever wavered from that and that means a lot to this community. People here know that the DeVos family and the Magic organization care about what goes on in the community.’’
The Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, a McCormick Foundation Fund, has the objective of helping kids realize their full potential by providing nonprofit organizations with the tools necessary to assist kids in all aspects of life, including education, safety and health. Over the last 26 years, more than $21 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the OMYF.
In January, the OMYF will present local organizations with checks to support their programs and initiatives. And on March 25, 2017, the Magic will host the annual Black Tie and Tennies Gala at Amway Center, which, similar to the golf tournament, allows people to donate and help at-risk children live healthier lives.
``When we get to give those checks out, that’s the culmination of a lot of work, but we work all year long to raise that $1 million for those in need and we’ve been able to reach that goal the past six years,’’ Magic CEO Alex Martins said. ``It’s events like this golf tournament and the Black Tie and Tennies Gala, and other events that we do throughout the year with auctions of merchandise at every one of our home games that help us get to that $1 million. And another big part of it are our partners at the McCormick Foundation, matching 50 cents on every dollar that we raise. All of those things help us give back to those who need it the most.’’
Martins takes great pride in the fact that the Magic were recently honored as one of 15 companies recognized for their corporate philanthropy by the Orlando Business Journal. The Magic were honored after the OMYF impacted more than 100,000 local school children last year and more than 1 million people with their programs in the past 26 years. The Magic annually donate $2 million to the community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. And the Magic are also giving with their time, working more than 7,000 volunteer hours at some 700 events last year.
``Our mission statement says that we want to be World Champions on and off the court,’’ Martins said. ``The off-the-court stuff is being involved in the community and our philanthropy. It starts with the DeVos family and they set the example for all of us and it streams down through our staff. Our staff loves being out in the community and participating. It’s part of our DNA and part of our corporate values and we love doing it.’’
Anderson, a member of the inaugural class of the Magic Hall of Fame, has been around the organization for most of its 28 seasons and he likes how it backs up its commitment to helping the community with action. He said that it’s amazing to think about the millions of children that have been able to live better lives through the years because the Magic have always been there to help out.
``I’ve been around here since Day 1 and to see the impact that this organization has had on the community, it’s amazing,’’ Anderson said. ``There’s not enough words that you can say about how much the Magic have helped others, but I think they are appreciative of what the Magic have done. I’m just proud to be a part of this organization because it has done so much good for so many people.’’
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