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Executive Director's Message

Dear Community Champion:

It’s hard to believe that summer is upon us. These past several months have brought many challenges, resulting from new routines and practices that we’ve all been forced to adopt. Few people have been more impacted than our community’s teachers, administrators, students, and families. I have been incredibly inspired by the tremendous work all have done in meeting virtual instruction needs.

Education is one of THE PLAYERS’ key charitable pillars, and through our charitable partnerships with schools and nonprofit organizations (several of which are highlighted in this month’s newsletter), I am fortunate to witness the incredible work of Northeast Florida’s educators.

Since my wife and I joined the thousands of parents assuming the roles of classroom teachers for our two sons this past spring, I have gained a greater appreciation for the selfless and focused support educators commit to serving students each day. It is in this same spirit that our organization seeks to lead in supporting the needs of citizens and communities where we play.

While we have returned to competition, we are moving forward in a safe and responsible manner. We will continue to build and strengthen our robust and comprehensive health plan while maintaining our commitment to always doing the right thing.

The coordination, commitment and teamwork required to successfully stage our return to golf has been truly incredible – and also speaks to the influence our sport has to unifying and inspiring fans.  

The ongoing pandemic and the injustice plaguing communities have been extremely challenging and certainly come with many questions and concerns. Yet, we are not discouraged. THE PLAYERS team and our PGA TOUR colleagues are determined to ask questions and be a part of the solution, and our collective priority remains the same: to serve, support and improve the lives of citizens and communities where we host the PGA TOUR’s flagship event.

We thank you for your continued support of THE PLAYERS and look forward to reconnecting with you all soon.  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for THE PLAYERS 2021, March 8-14.

All the best,

Jared Rice, Executive Director

INK! Investing in Kids to Make a Mark

Investing in Kids (INK!) supports students and teachers within the St. Johns County school district by providing innovative programs and classroom resources.  INK!’s programs and events strive to provide the tools and resources necessary to help all children reach their full potential.

During the 2019-20 school year, THE PLAYERS’ support launched INK!’s Make a Mark program. Make a Mark honors teachers in St. Johns County whose contributions and support of students are exemplary. Students, parents, teachers and community members are provided an opportunity to nominate teachers for the award that comes with a surprise visit, trophy, gift certificates and tickets to THE PLAYERS Championship.  Prior to COVID-19, 29 teachers were recognized as Make a Mark awardees.

Learn more about INK!’s recent endeavors in the graphic below:

Volunteer Spotlight: Laura Renstrom
Laura Renstrom is a Jacksonville native who has volunteered at THE PLAYERS for 10 years, serving on the Standard Bearers, Benefactor and Apparel committees.  In 2020, she served as Chair of the Volunteer Shuttle committee, where she enjoyed meeting nearly all of the 2,000+ volunteers and listening to their stories upon arrival and departure for their shifts.

Volunteering at THE PLAYERS is a family affair for Laura.  Her dad, Murray Beard, was THE PLAYERS 2000 Tournament Chairman and was an active volunteer throughout her childhood, ultimately inspiring Renstrom to do the same. She began her volunteer journey with THE PLAYERS as a runner on the practice grounds as well as a standard bearer herself.

After graduating from the University of Florida Law School, Laura knew she wanted to renew her involvement with THE PLAYERS and has loved every minute of it .
“I love the people!  I have met great friends and colleagues through volunteering. I appreciate and value the community commitment and love being a part of making a big difference in our community.”
Laura is currently an Associate Attorney at Holland & Knight, where she focuses on complex commercial litigation, including product liability, tort and class actions, as well as business, insurance and contract disputes. She was also recently named to Jacksonville Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 Class of 2020, which recognizes up-and-coming local professionals who are succeeding in business and making community contributions. When asked by the Jacksonville Business Journal, “What advice do you have for the next generation of Business leaders?” Laura shared: “Nothing can replace hard work, if you have a dream or a passion, work hard to achieve those goals. It may require late nights, or stressful moments or feeling like you are stretched thin, however, the payoff is worth it. Additionally, I think it is critically important for our next generation of business leaders to continue to dedicate themselves to community involvement.”

In addition to Laura’s involvement with THE PLAYERS, she also serves as vice president of the Board of Directors for Sanctuary on 8th Street as well as Vice President of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  Laura and her husband Nathan have a one-year-old daughter Parker and live in San Marco.
Beyond the Ropes: The Greater Jacksonville Area USO Gets a "GRAMMY-Worthy" Surprise 
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.
The Chainsmokers announce a $50,000 donation to the USO on behalf of THE PLAYERS 
Each year, the concert act of THE PLAYERS’ Military Appreciation Day selects a charity to be the recipient of charitable funds from THE PLAYERS. In 2020, The Chainsmokers selected the Greater Jacksonville Area USO to receive $50,000 from THE PLAYERS . 

On June 10, THE PLAYERS 2020 Volunteer Chairman Andy Carroll presented the check to Mike O’Brien, President and CEO of the Greater Jacksonville Area USO, at TPC Sawgrass.  Later that day, Andy joined the USO Board of Directors, via a Zoom meeting, to surprise the board with the news of the donation.  A personal video from The Chainsmokers was also shared during the call and on the USO’s national social media accounts. Check it out by clicking on the below image: 
News to Know
Q&A with PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monhan and PGA TOUR player Harold Varner

THE PLAYERS Red Coats Meet UNF First Generation Scholarship Recipients
On Tuesday, University of North Florida Foundation staff members hosted a virtual meeting between THE PLAYERS Red Coats and student recipients of THE PLAYERS Championship Endowed First Generation Scholarship.  The students discussed their virtual learning experiences this spring, what they miss about being on campus and their career aspirations post-graduation.  
THE PLAYERS established THE PLAYERS Championship Endowed First Generation Scholarship at UNF in 2009. Over the years, the endowment grew to $750,000. In 2017, THE PLAYERS pledged an additional $750,000 over five years, doubling the endowment to reach $1.5 million.
Photos of the Month: Meet your 2021 Volunteer Leadership Team
THE PLAYERS recently announced its 2021 Volunteer Leadership team. Troy Smith has been named the 2021 Tournament Chairman (Red Coat), succeeding Andy Carroll. In addition, Marc Hassan is the newest volunteer vice-chairman (Blue Coat), joining First Vice-Chair Matt Welch and vice-chairs Houston Bowles, Lee Nimnicht and Tyler Oldenberg. Together, THE PLAYERS’ Red and Blue Coats lead the team of 2,000-plus volunteers that make THE PLAYERS possible.

About Troy Smith:
Entering his eleventh year as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS, Troy Smith has held leadership positions on multiple committees, including: General Parking, Ecology, Commissary, VIP Parking, Benefactor and Volunteer Shuttle. Smith is a partner at the law firm Burr & Forman, where he is a member of the firm's Construction and Project Development practice group, focusing on complex commercial litigation within the construction industry. He is a Florida Bar Certified Construction Attorney and was recently named one of the Best Lawyers in America for Construction Law. Smith received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and his juris doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law.

He lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife, Jenni, and their six kids. 

About Marc Hassan:
A Jacksonville native, Marc Hassan graduated from Bishop Kenny High School and then went on to earn undergraduate and graduate (MBA) degrees from Jacksonville University. Hassan currently serves as President, Sole Owner and qualifying Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker of Spectrum Realty Services, LLC (SRS), a Jacksonville-based residential and commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm. Hassan is married to his high school sweetheart, Meghan, also a Jacksonville native. The couple reside in Jacksonville with their three children.

Hassan first joined THE PLAYERS’ volunteer team in 2014 and most recently served as 2020 Chair of the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost presented by United Rentals, the hospitality venue for military members, veterans and their families.

Troy Smith, 2021 Tournament Chairman

Houston Bowles, Vice-Chair

Tyler Oldenburg, Vice-Chair

Matt Welch, First Vice-Chair
Lee Nimnicht, Vice-Chair
Marc Hassan, Vice-Chair
Look Who's Talking: Ryan Hart
Ryan joined THE PLAYERS team in 2018 as Tournament Director and played an integral role in elevating all aspects of this championship. Sadly, Ryan will be leaving THE PLAYERS team and transitioning to a new leadership role within the PGA TOUR. He most recently served as tournament lead for the TaylorMade Driving Relief and The Match: Champions for Charity events.  Please join us in thanking Ryan for his incredible contributions to THE PLAYERS and wishing him the best as he begins the next chapter of his PGA TOUR journey!  

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba - Canada
How long have you been with the PGA TOUR: I officially started at the TOUR on March 13, 2017 but have been working with the TOUR as part of the inception of the Mackenzie Tour/PGA TOUR Canada since 2013
Best part of your job: To have the opportunity to work with a like-minded group of people and volunteers that are driven to make a difference.
Hobby: Golf, Cooking and Running
With a lotto win, the first thing you’d buy: Take my family on a mutually agreed upon bucket list vacation
Bucket list item: To play the Old Course at St. Andrews

©2019 THE PLAYERS Championship, PGA TOUR, All rights reserved.

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