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Executive Director's Message

Dear Community Champion,

Happy New Year!

While this past year has certainly been unlike any other, I sincerely hope that your organization, like ours, has been able to gain greater knowledge, strengthen practices and build resolve that have you poised for success in 2021. And I hope each of you knows how grateful my team and I are for your contributions to serving our community during a time of great need and challenge.  Since the inception of THE PLAYERS Championship, the Northeast Florida community has been the inspiration and beneficiary for this tournament, and your efforts as our Community Champions have enabled THE PLAYERS to positively impact our community throughout the year.

Every month since the cancellation of this tournament, our team, alongside our Red and Blue Coats, have engaged in various efforts to maintain our core mission - to serve, support and positively impact the community where we play. As many of you know,  our Red Coats conduct annual “ride-outs,” visiting nonprofit organizations throughout northeast Florida to present charitable donations. Even though the cancellation affected our charitable investments and distributions, we were not deterred in following through on our commitment to honoring all existing charitable agreements and rebuilding our support of nonprofit organizations who do so much for our communities.

As we look toward March 2021 – and given the continued uncertainty around COVID-19 – it is no surprise that the landscape at THE PLAYERS Championship will be different.  At this time, we are planning to host a limited number of ticketed spectators and guests at THE PLAYERS 2021, with the exact amount still to be determined.  As we finalize our plans to soon launch ticket sales, we will not make these decisions lightly; they will be made with the health and safety of our community in mind.

The one constant throughout all of these changes is the persevering and resilient spirit of this championship and of our greater Northeast Florida community. This is our event, and, working together with all of you, we will still produce a successful 2021 championship that we can all be proud of.
Thank you for your continued support of, and commitment to, THE PLAYERS Championship.

Happy New Year!  

All the best,
Jared Rice
Executive Director

Nemours unveils THE PLAYERS Lobby

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officials, doctors, patients, donors and friends celebrated the dedication of THE PLAYERS Lobby at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in Jacksonville. The $3.5-million renovation represents a total refresh of the space, the first major renovation project since the clinic opened in 1991. THE PLAYERS donated the lead gift of $500,000, which renamed the Nemours lobby, which serves as the gateway into the clinic to more than 100,000 patients and families each year when they come for appointments including complex care medical expertise.

“The transformational gift from THE PLAYERS gave us the opportunity to elevate the lobby to reflect a more inviting and warm environment, and the excellence of care we at Nemours offer our patients and families,” said Dr. Gary Josephson, Chief Medical Officer of the clinic.  “We look forward to future opportunities to work with these great partners.”

“THE PLAYERS is honored to support Nemours’ leading efforts in improving the lives of children and families across Northeast Florida and beyond,” said Jared Rice, Executive Director of THE PLAYERS. “This new lobby is symbolic of the quality, excellence, and compassionate care patients receive, and we are honored to help welcome them when they enter these doors.”

In keeping with Nemours Children’s Health System’s approach to integrate patients and families in designing new spaces, families joined team meetings to help inform the decision-makers about functionality of the space. Patient arrival sequences were studied to improve the flow through the front doors and reception area, resulting in easier access entry to the elevators leading to the clinic.

Among the new and refurbished features of THE PLAYERS Lobby at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care are:

  • New entrance sliding doors and wayfinding, allowing for ease of entry.

  • Open-floor plan and new windows allowing more light and accentuating the location on the St. Johns River.

  • A new café for visitors and employees with riverfront, outdoor seating. A donation from the Hodges family, the Hugs from Hunter 3 Café honors their three sons who passed away after battling the same rare disease, dyskeratosis, a genetic form of bone marrow failure, which has been identified in fewer than 30 cases worldwide.

  • Upgraded accessibility, including adjusted heights for tables and seating, and new family restrooms on the ground floor.

  • The Florida Blue Art Gallery – Through a gift from Florida Blue, art pieces from 30 Nemours patients, themed “connecting communities,” are displayed in the shape of the Jacksonville skyline. The art work, produced through the creative activities and art services offered to Nemours patients, will rotate on an annual basis

  • The Family Education Zone – a designated space for reading, play or taking phone calls between appointments, thanks to a gift from Dr. Michael Erhard, Physician-in-Chief for Nemours Florida, and his wife Lynn.

  • The lobby’s landmark modetrain. Thanks to a $50,000 gift from the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, the beloved train is getting a new display case, allowing better accessibility for the retiree volunteer group who change the train décor seasonally

  • Enhanced access to the outdoors and butterfly garden.

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Kaspar

Lisa Kaspar serves as Chair of the Players Transportation Committee, a role she assumed in 2016.  She has volunteered with THE PLAYERS for 9 years.  In this capacity, Lisa has gained many fond memories of supporting and serving players’ families.  While many may recall Rickie Fowler’s epic win in 2015, few may not realize how his family was able to witness it.  Rickie’s mom and sister had departed TPC Sawgrass earlier in the day to head to Jacksonville International Airport.  It was at the airport where Lynn Fowler learned of her son’s comeback. She made the decision to return to the course immediately and Lisa assisted her.

“I received a call from Lynn informing me they were checked in at the airport but ‘Rickie is in a situation.’ We worked through some logistics and in the end, were able to provide Lynn with the best Mother's Day gift.  She got to see her son win The Players Championship.“

Aside from volunteering for various PGA TOUR events, Lisa serves as Director, Operations for the Cummer Museum.  In addition to golf, a sport she was inspired to play after attending a practice round at the Masters, she enjoys learning how to fly airplanes with the goal of earning her private pilot license. A native Chicagoan, Lisa is a diehard Bears and Blackhawks fan.  She and her husband Steve live in Jacksonville with their 9-year-old German Shepherd, Nahla Wrigley.

Beyond the Ropes
Long after the final putt is made at THE PLAYERS Championship, the impact of PGA TOUR’s flagship event extends throughout the year. With a commitment to support the communities in and near where it hosts its internationally-recognized tournament, THE PLAYERS has supported nonprofit organizations in the five-county area with more than $100 million. Each month, we will spotlight a charity making a difference in the lives of citizens and communities.

Renewing Hope with Rethreaded
Rethreaded renews hope, reignites dreams and releases potential for survivors of human trafficking locally and globally through business by providing a second chance at life through employment for survivors in Jacksonville, Florida. The women served by Rethreaded programs are provided employment opportunities in different facets of the company including production, inventory, sales, marketing and finance/administration.

In early December, Rethreaded hosted its annual Holiday VIP Event at their warehouse, with a goal of raising  $10,000.  If successful, proceeds would be matched dollar for dollar, up to $10,000.  THE PLAYERS Red Coats decided to kick-off the party in a show-stopping fashion, surprising President and CEO Kristin Keen with a $10,000 donation thus helping them reach their goal before the night even began!   Additional money was raised throughout the evening through donations and product sales, making the evening all the more special and memorable.
News to Know

Spreading Gingerbread Cheer
Before the holiday break, THE PLAYERS Red Coats enlisted the help of youth members at five Jacksonville Police Athletic League locations to help spread some holiday cheer through a gingerbread house competition.  Each location received gingerbread house kits, and the little elves of JaxPAL went to work on their masterpieces. 

On December 17, the Red Coats gathered at Jax PAL’s Monument location to judge the gingerbread houses, meet the participants and received a tour of the facility from Executive Director Mary Bishop. 

After the judges analyzed the works of art and deliberated for a few minutes, THE PLAYERS 2020 Tournament Chairman Andy Carroll announced that each branch was a champion and would go home with a $100 donation for their hard work and efforts. But the fun didn’t stop there.

Andy then surprised JAX PAL’s Executive Director, Mary Bishop, with a check to help offset the financial and operational challenges the nonprofit has faced due to COVID-19 and a fire that severely damaged the nonprofit’s Eastside location at the onset of the pandemic. While onlookers celebrated what they thought was a $5,000 donation as written on the check, Andy announced that the actual contribution from THE PLAYERS was $10,000. 
You have no idea. This comes right on time…And struggling, trying to figure out how are we going to get this done or that done. This, you guys mean that much to us.” - Mary Bishop

'Tees the Season'
As the Red Coats made their plans to engage in year-round support of nonprofit organizations who serve the northeast Florida community, they ensured their efforts did not wane during the holiday season. They kicked off the month of December with a Saturday visit to the Brentwood Golf Course to meet participants of the Moore-Meyers Children’s Fund during their weekly golf practice.  Moore-Myers Children’s Fund was founded in 2014 to support Jacksonville youth in underserved communities through golf instruction and mentorship. Under the leadership of founders Dr. Justine Redding and Richard Blackston, a husband and wife duo, Moore-Myers provides services that help undergird participants’ skills, exceptional character and total wellness, ultimately helping children develop a road map to success, stay physically and mentally active and obtain college scholarship opportunities.

During their visit, the Red Coats met each participant and learned more about his/her goals heading into 2021.  Following introductions, the Red Coats surprised a check to co-founders Dr. Justine Redding and Mr. Richard Blackson for $10,000 to the Moore Meyers Children’s Fund to be used to purchase equipment the nonprofit organization advised was needed to support their program, as well as the golf programs they adopted at William M. Raines High School. 

Birdies for Charity Launches
THE PLAYERS Birdies for Charity program has launched and will run through March 10, 2021. Birdies for Charity affords nonprofit organizations the opportunity to solicit donations, inviting individuals to guess the number of birdies made at THE PLAYERS tournament. Individuals who participate in the Birdies for Charity program, by donating to a registered organization, have the opportunity to win $10,000!  Click here to learn more and to register your organization.
Photos of the Month
If you came to TPC Sawgrass on the evening of Tuesday, December 22, you were welcomed by over 200 luminarias, placed along the driveway by THE PLAYERS Red and Blue Coats. Each of these luminarias was assembled with care by participants at Pine Castle, which empowers adults with intellectual and developmental differences through opportunities to learn, work, and connect. 

Upon learning of Pine Castle’s luminaria sale, the Red Coats opted to designate a portion of its $7,500 donation to the organization to purchase kits for display  at the home of THE PLAYERS.

Each kit included a card featuring the person who assembled it, highlighting the tremendous impact Pine Castle makes to improving lives.

Look Who's Talking: Chase Parker

Where are you from: Akron, Ohio
Current Position: Tournament Operations Coordinator 
How long have you been with the PGA TOUR: 3 years
Where did you go to college: Kent State University
What did you do before working at the TOUR:  I worked at WME | IMG
What’s your favorite sport team: I support all things Kent State and the Buffalo Sabres
Where is your favorite place to eat in Jacksonville: Valley Smoke
What is your favorite thing to do in Jacksonville: I enjoy going to the beach or golfing
Hobby: Reading
Favorite vacation spot: Reynolds Plantation
Bucket list item: Playing Pine Valley

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