OMYF Open Raises Over $150,000 For At-Risk Children in Central Florida
ORLANDO -- For over 30 years, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) has been making a significant difference in the Central Florida community. However, its impact and the value of its assistance has perhaps never been greater than it is right now.
With the world battling a pandemic and many struggling, the OMYF’s donations to local charities have already helped so many through a difficult time. Yet, the organization itself has not gone unfazed. Much of the OMYF’s fundraising comes through in-person events, which like most of the world came to halt due to COVID-19.
As a result, the 30th annual OMYF Open felt even more like a celebration as the Orlando Magic, former players, their partners and some of their most devoted supporters were able to come together on Thursday to help raise money for an organization that’s done so much for so many.
“First and foremost, it’s great to see people in person again. It seems strange actually after almost a year and a half of not seeing people in person, but seeing everybody virtually,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins of the event, which in its nature takes place outside and easily allows for social distancing. “To be able to hold an event again like this with some of our biggest supporters, our partners, it’s just spectacular. It also signals hope, that hopefully we’re getting through and getting on the other side of this and hopefully as everybody continues to get vaccinated and as we make our way through the summer and into the fall, we can get ourselves back to some sense of normalcy.”
Participants of the scramble golf tournament were provided with different specialized food and drinks at each hole, courtesy of the OMYF Open’s partners and sponsors, and had the opportunity to win overall prizes, longest-drive competitions, closest-to-the-pin contests, and a hole-in-one opportunity to win a BMW.
Through their support and with blue skies, warm weather, and the luscious greens of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club as a backdrop, the OMYF Open was able to raise $150,000-plus for at-risk youth in Central Florida.
“We annually have a golf tournament, and this year because of the pandemic we had to delay it,” said Magic Vice President of Community and Government Affairs Linda Landman Gonzalez. “So, what do you do (during this time) to ensure that not only the people that are participating are safe, but still meet the goals that you have to give back out to the community? We thought that the golf tournament would be the best way to do that.”
This past March, the OMYF announced that it will donate $1 million this year to area nonprofits that assist at-risk children and their families. Magic ownership, the DeVos Family, contributed $700,000 toward this important initiative. The gift came after all of OMYF’s fundraising events were cancelled in the last year due to COVID-related gathering and event restrictions.
“The DeVos family’s commitment to this organization is paramount and it’s amazing what they’ve committed to for the OMYF,” Martins said. “Since its inception, they’ve paid all of the administrative costs for OMYF, so every dollar that we raise is going right back to the community for those at-risk children’s organizations.”
Over the last 30 years, OMYF has now donated more than $26 million to more than 500 local Central Florida nonprofit community organizations impacting more than two million kids.
“It means a lot,” Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw said. “I’ve been part of this organization for at least twenty years, and it has not changed. They’ve been (supporting) the OMYF (the entire time). That lets you know how committed they are to this community.”
Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Outlaw were not the only former players in attendance. Former Magic players Marcin Gortat Jeff Turner, and Quentin Richardson, along with his fellow Knuckleheads podcast co-host Darius Miles, were in attendance and Hedo Turkoglu also showed his support for the event. Vice President of Shareholder Engagement Ryan DeVos, and his wife, Michelle, were also on hand to represent the DeVos family.
They’ve all witnessed the Magic’s impact on the community firsthand and know that the charitable influence of late owners Rich and Helen DeVos is still having an impact on the culture of the organization to this day.
“Mr. DeVos set the tone for the owners in the NBA,” Gortat explained. “He was my first owner when I became an NBA player, and it was amazing to have an owner like that. We had a lot of conversations, and Mr. DeVos was incredible. We had those dinners with him before every season and we were able to talk to him about investments, about life, about basketball, and I truly believe every basketball player would like to have an owner like that. He set the tone for the culture of the team. The Orlando Magic are a player organization. They take care of the players very well and my three-and-a-half stint here was amazing, we went all the way to the NBA Finals. Orlando, to me, is my home. I will always remember and carry a Magic logo on my heart.”
The special connection that former players like Gortat have with the organization is reflective of the franchise’s relationships with their partners, sponsors, and the local community. And when they’re all able to come together – as they did for the OMYF Open – true Magic can happen.