The Butterfield Bermuda Championship puts Bermuda in the global sporting spotlight for a few days in October every year — but its positive impact on some of the vulnerable people in our community lasts all year round.
Charities that help cancer patients, children with learning difficulties, the visually impaired, addicts and the homeless, as well as educational, leadership and sporting organisations, were among recipients of funds raised and boosted through the island’s PGA tournament.
In 2022, the event’s charitable impact totalled $1.125 million — up from $645,000 in 2021. Organisers want to expand that positive ripple effect through the community.
Much of the growth potential is in the Birdies for Charity (BFC) programme, which offers to match funds raised by philanthropic organisations up to 10 per cent, up to a maximum of $50,000 per charity. This is enabled by the backing of the programme sponsors, Butterfield, AXA, Bermuda Tourism Authority, BF&M, Digicel Business, the Hamilton Princess, ICS Tyres, Mastercard and Somerset Reinsurance.
Last year, the programme gave more than 60 charities a greater-then-promised 11.5 per cent boost to their fundraising proceeds. While the impact continues to grow year over year, there are still a large number of charities missing out on this opportunity.
Danielle Carrera, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship’s tournament director, said: “Every year, we see an increase in the number of charities who register for Birdies for Charity, but we would like to see all of Bermuda’s local charities sign up.
“Many of the larger charities participate and we want to get out the message that any charity, no matter how small, can boost the value of funds they raise through the year, whether it’s $20 or $50,000. It does not cost them anything.
The tournament also raised $61,000 for charities through the BF&M Volunteer Programme, through which tournament volunteers can donate their time to a charity of their choice. In addition to assisting local charities in maximizing funds raised, charitable dollars are donated to operate the Butterfield Bermuda APGA Championship and the Butterfield Bermuda Junior Championship.
The Butterfield Bermuda APGA Championship promotes diversity in the game of golf through playing opportunities, education, and networking, this event was the first international event on the APGA TOUR and welcomed 17 international participants and 4 local Bermudian’s into its field. Likewise the Butterfield Bermuda Junior Championship offers an opportunity for junior golfers to compete at the highest level in preparation for college or professional level competition. This year’s junior championship welcomed 80 juniors and their families along with 3 local Bermudian juniors into its field.
The BTA, a BFC programme sponsor and the Championship’s title co-sponsor, welcomed the event’s charitable impact.
“We believe that our community grows through our people with the support of Bermuda’s residents,” a BTA spokesperson said. “As such, it brings great gratitude to be the title sponsor of an event that not only showcases our island’s beauty but captures the kindness and generosity of our people through Local Involvement, which is a key pillar of our National Tourism Plan. We look forward to partnering for another successful year with even greater charitable impact.”
The tournament’s broad community impact can be seen through the scope of the work done by BFC beneficiaries. For example, PALS, which provides cancer patients with care at home; the Tomorrow’s Voices Autism Centre, which aims to provide people with development difficulties including autism with the skills to aid their inclusion in communities; and Focus Counselling Services, a substance misuse intervention agency.
Some recipients offered insight into how they used BFC funds — for example, HOME, a charity launched in 2021 with the stated aim of ending homelessness in Bermuda, through inter-agency cooperation.
Denise Carey, HOME’s chief executive officer and executive director, said the tournament provided “an invaluable opportunity to showcase Bermuda and the amazing contributions of some of our local charities”.
Ms Carey added: “At HOME, we’re humbled to be selected for this donation, which allows us to offer art therapy to those we work with in our mission to help homeless families and individuals receive shelter and a sustained quality of life. We appreciate such a special contribution.”
Another was the Bermuda Optimist Dinghy Association (BODA), which is responsible for promoting Optimist sailing, a character-building sport for children.
Laura Cutler, a director of BODA, said: “The BFC programme was a great way to get donations online without any fees or hassle, and bring further recognition to the charity. The extra funds, following tough times during the pandemic, were a great help to us in 2021 and 2022.”
Mrs Carrera added: “The tournament is not just about who gets crowned champion — it’s about our year-round impact in helping to enable local charities to do their great work in the community. That is the legacy we want to build.”
For more information, visit the Butterfield Bermuda Championship website, and click on the Birdies for Charity tab. Charities and members of the public who want to learn more should contact Dede Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.