ENDICOTT (WBNG) - The DICK's Sporting Goods Open is a PGA Champions Tour event, but it does much more than bring professional golf to our backyard.
At the heart of the event are funds raised for local charities.
Broome County Catholic Charities Inc. (BCCC) Board President Albert Nocciolino told 12 News that the tournament is all about helping the community.
"Broome County Community Charities Inc. is the parent organization for the DICK'S Sporting Goods Open and prior to that it was the BC Open," said BCCC Board President Albert Nocciolino, "The men and women who had the vision of putting this together their goal was to create a tournament that was a charitable event to provide dollars for our local charities, particularly our health organizations and for others who participate and help us."
Over the last 50 years, more than $18 million has been donated back to charities in the Southern Tier. Both UHS and Lourdes Hospital Foundations have been primary recipients.
"This tournament is a community tournament. You go to this and there are volunteer groups parking your car and they are there selling you your food and helping you with where to go," said Executive Director for the UHS Foundation, Corey Jacobs, "The fabulous thing about it is all of the dollars raised goes right back into the community again."
Even when the tournament was canceled last year due to COVID-19, BCCC said thanks to their sponsors they were still able to give.
"They love this community and they were so sad, not just that they weren't able to bring golf to the community, but that there were a lot of local organizations that were going to be missing out on those charitable dollars so they pulled together, had a chicken bbq and we were still able to get money at the end of the year which is fabulous," said Jacobs.
President of Lourdes Hospital Foundation Robert O'Connell told 12 News, "The loyalty and the generosity of the community specifically that charity and the DICK'S Open when times are difficult and they were difficult for everybody and especially the hospital here, but despite that, they reached out and were very generous in supporting us."
It's not just the hospitals, but organizations of all different sizes and missions across the Southern Tier such as the Vestal Elks, Kiwanis Club of Broome County, Binghamton Boys Basketball Program, Dollars for Scholars, and many more.
"For many of them, the DSGO event is the most significant fundraising event of the year. So we can't do it without them and then we're pleased we are able to contribute to them," said Nocciolino.