Nicklaus announces support for St. Jude and children’s healthcare

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Memphis, Tenn.—The Nicklaus Companies, founded and co-chaired by golf icon Jack Nicklaus, recently announced a collaborative program to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

For every dozen Nicklaus Golf Balls sold, the Nicklaus Companies is committing a minimum donation of $1 to St. Jude and a $1 donation to the NCHCF.  Nicklaus Golf Balls can be purchased on www.nicklaus.com. In addition, for every dozen shipped via FedEx delivery services under this program, Nicklaus Companies will donate an additional $1 to St. Jude. FedEx is providing some shipping as part of this effort, and Nicklaus Companies plan to provide purchasers of the golf balls shipping at no charge.

It is estimated there are more than 20 million dozen golf balls sold each year in the United States.

Jack Nicklaus, his wife, Barbara, and Nicklaus Co-Chairman Howard Milstein traveled to Memphis to make the announcement and visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I’m really excited to collaborate with St. Jude and FedEx to create a program that raises funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation,” said Jack Nicklaus, who, along with wife Barbara, co-founded NCHCF. “Our mission has been to grow our Foundation to benefit children’s hospitals and programs around the country and this effort with FedEx and St. Jude enables us to accomplish that in a significant way.”

This initiative also will serve as a model for expanding the charitable focus of the Nicklaus Golf Ball program in association with other companies and programs nationwide that are dedicated to children’s health.

From its inception, the Nicklaus Golf Ball platform focused on generating funds for the NCHCF, an idea conceived by philanthropist Howard Milstein. Not only does a percentage of every golf ball sold on Nicklaus.com go directly to the Foundation, but also the wholesale pricing of golf balls available on the internet encourages web site visitors to make a voluntary contribution. Since the program was first announced last October during The Presidents Cup at Jack Nicklaus’ Ohio home course of Muirfield Village Golf Club, 80 percent of customers have opted to make a donation. Now, with the support of FedEx, more funds can be raised for our mutual interest in the health and well-being of children in our hometowns and nationwide.

“We believe that this commitment to charity says a great deal about the game of golf and the people who play it. While we hoped for broad consumer support, we are thrilled that 80 percent of our customers are supporting the charitable aspect,” Milstein said. “Now with FedEx and the addition of St. Jude, charitable giving will accelerate in a broader and even more meaningful way.”

“While he is arguably golf’s best and most iconic player, Jack Nicklaus’ contributions to improving the health of children are an unmistakable part of his legacy,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude. “With the help of FedEx, a longtime friend to St. Jude, we are honored to benefit from this collaboration between global icons. The funds raised will help St. Jude continue to treat and defeat some of the most aggressive forms of childhood cancer, while ensuring families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.”

“Jack Nicklaus has been a tireless advocate for improving children’s lives,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of Integrated Marketing and Communications at FedEx Services. “FedEx is honored to be part of an effort that helps give children access to quality health care through the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, and also extends the good will to patients battling life-threatening cancers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—a renowned institution FedEx has supported for many years.”

The Nicklaus family has a long history of support for children’s charities, especially pediatric healthcare. The Memorial Tournament, the PGA Tour event Jack Nicklaus founded in 1976, has, since inception, had as its primary beneficiary Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation was created in 2004 and is a beneficiary of The Honda Classic on the PGA Tour.

“The NCHCF has dedicated itself to broadening our reach to impact the lives of children and families in need of healthcare around the country,” said Patty McDonald, President and CEO of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is recognized around the world for its leadership in children’s cancer treatment and research. They have been a standard by which many children’s hospitals and charities are measured, and FedEx has a long history of supporting St. Jude. We are honored to be joining forces in a common mission.”

The new Nicklaus Golf Balls and this program put an emphasis on simplifying the selection process associated with purchasing a high-quality golf ball, as well as a focus on giving back to the game and to charity. Nicklaus introduced three golf balls—Nicklaus Black, Nicklaus Blue and Nicklaus White—to accommodate three skill levels of player, using the traditional tees from which they typically play.

The balls, which began shipping toward the end of 2013, are sold by Nicklaus exclusively online at http://www.nicklaus.com/ and through golf/pro shops at the more than 200 Nicklaus Design courses nationwide.

“A very small percentage of golfers know their swing speeds, but 100 percent of them know what tees they play,” Nicklaus said. “Our new balls solve the golfer’s dilemma of which ball to use; all you need to know is the tee you play from. The Nicklaus White ball is designed for the players who might typically play the forward white or red tees. Nicklaus Blue is designed for players who would typically play the middle or blue tees. And, finally, Nicklaus Black is designed for the single-digit or better golfer who generally plays from the back or black tees. We all know that the game of golf can be challenging enough, so we tried to simplify the decision-making process of selecting the right golf ball and at the same time providing consumers the highest-quality golf balls and at a price that encourages charitable support. By buying these balls, players will get the added benefit of supporting these wonderful charities that help children in need as well as the families that dearly love them.”

Shortly after the launch of the Nicklaus Golf Balls, Business News Daily listed the Nicklaus Companies among 15 socially responsible companies, which integrate philanthropy into their business model.