For over two decades now the John Deere Classic has been a signature sporting event here in the Quad Cities. Big time players now make the Quad Cities tournament a regular stop, and last year, the JDC was named 2016 PGA Tournament of the Year.

For close to 500 charities, the John Deere Classic is so much more than a golf tournament. The event is an opportunity to raise funds for continued operations and special projects through the tournament's Birdies for Charity program.

According to a report in the Quad City Times, in 2016, Birdies for Charity raised a record-breaking $10.5 million for nearly 500 charities. As a past-president of a local charity, I can vouch for the importance of donations from the Birdies For Charity program to the bottom line of many non-profit organizations in the QCA.

Here how it works: Donors pledge either a flat amount, or an amount that will be multiplied by the number of birdies scored during the tournament. Entrants lucky enough to guess the exact number of birdies scored during the tourney can win a 2-year lease on a 2017 Lexus NX car or other prizes.

Unlike many other charities, 100 percent of the money pledged and collected by Birdies for Charity goes directly to the participating organizations, as the tournament sponsor, John Deere, picks up all the administrative costs.

Charities can pickup their pledge forms for the 2017 campaign now.

Whether you are a not-for-profit, or a potential donor, you can find more information about Birdies for Charity here.

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