Cleveland’s Own: Northern Ohio Golf Charities and Foundation

In this month’s edition of Fox 8’s Cleveland’s Own, Matt Kaulig talks with Donald Padgett, the Executive Director of the Bridgestone Senior Players.

Since starting Northern Ohio Golf Charities & Foundation, their long-standing partnership with the PGA TOUR and Firestone Country Club has allowed NOGCF to give over $30 million to area charities to enhance local, social, and economic growth communities. 

It’s a great way for volunteers to make new friends who love golf and enjoy giving back to their community. They take a great deal of pride in hosting this world-class event, working in many capacities, donating their time and talent to help run the golf tournament. 

Each year, proceeds from tournament tickets and hospitality sales are returned to the community through grants awarded by Northern Ohio Golf Charities & Foundation. Signature charities include Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, Akron children’s Hospital, The First Tee, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and children’s, Summa Health, United Way of Summit County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Habitat for Humanity.

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own

Fox 8 Cleveland’s Own is about good people doing good work in Northeast Ohio. WJW Fox 8 and Kaulig Charitable Giving Programs team up to celebrate Cleveland’s Own by highlighting the best of our region in a big way! Each month, Fox 8’s Stefani Schaefer and Kaulig Companies and LeafFilter Executive Chairman Matt Kaulig, share a story about a person or organization from Northeast Ohio doing good work.

To see more Cleveland’s Own stories, or to nominate an organization to be featured, visit Kaulig Giving’s Cleveland’s Own page.

Read the Transcript

Stefani Schaefer

Each month, Kaulig Giving and Fox 8 will highlight people, organizations and charities making a difference in Northeast Ohio. It's time to celebrate Cleveland's Own.

Matt Kaulig

Hi, I'm Matt Kaulig. This month on Cleveland's Own, we hear from a record setting organization that continues a legacy of professional golf and giving through their dedicated volunteer group in Northeast Ohio. Let's get to know Northern Ohio Golf Charities and Foundation.

Matt Kaulig

Well, Don, thank you for having us here at beautiful Firestone Country Club today. So for the last sixty five years, there has been a connection in Northeast Ohio between giving and golf. Can you speak a little bit about that?

Don Padgett

Earlier this spring, we announced over 30 million dollars went back to charities from golf tournaments here at Firestone Country Club. So when people come out to the golf tournament after repair bills for all the infrastructure in that, it's those proceeds that go back to the community.

Matt Kaulig

OK, and where do they go?

Don Padgett

You know, they go to a lot of great causes. Akron Canton Regional Food Bank, Akron Children's Hospital, LeBron James Family Foundation, just to name a few. And we know they all do a lot of great work.

Dan Flowers

The Akron Canton Regional Food Bank exists because volunteers and donors in the community came together and founded it many years ago. And we're here today because the community continues to value reaching out to help people and making sure no one in this community experiences hunger and food insecurity. So, you know, when the pandemic came, so many of the conventional fundraisers that we rely on vanished in an instant. And we walked into this knowing that we were going to be working harder and responding to more need than we ever had with complete uncertainty about how we were going to continue to meet those needs without so many of the fundraisers that we relied on. That's where the Northern Ohio Golf Charities came in. And that caused us to be able to respond to this need. And I think that we're going to be in a strong position in the future because of this.

Matt Kaulig

Can you share a little bit about the partnership between the PGA Tour and Akron Firestone Country Club?

Dan Padgett

PGA Tour champions host the Bridgestone senior players here at the golf tournaments. That legacy of giving continues with our sponsors like Bridgestone, Westfield, FirstEnergy, Kaulig Companies. They all help us give back and of course, our great volunteers from Northern Ohio Golf Charities. We couldn't do it without them.

Bambi Miller

We have phenomenal volunteers. They come from all over the country, all over the world. We have some people come from abroad. It's honestly like a family reunion once a year. We all get together and we have a great time. We work long hours. We're here before the sun comes up and we're here long after the sun goes down. But we're here for one main reason and that's to get back to our community. So everything that we do gives back charitable dollars to our community and we're very, very proud of that fact.

Matt Kaulig

So coming up here at Firestone is the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship. Can you tell us a little bit about that event?

Don Padgett

You know, we're excited. It's June 23rd through the 27th right around the corner here. And when people come out to the golf tournament, it's how we're able to give back. So we have Summer Fest here at Firestone, a little bit of something for everybody. We have concerts after play. Friday night, the Sunrise Jones that was just played at the NFL draft. We've got the Shoot Outs, that's a great country band on Saturday night. And then Akron Symphony Orchestra is going to perform for us on the Sunday night. Lots of great food. We have the Slyman's food truck here and of course, the great golf with guys like Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els. So a little bit of something for everybody after 4 complimentary admission. 18 and under is free. Great thing for the family. So encourage everybody to come out and join us.

Matt Kaulig

To learn more about Northern Ohio Golf Charities and Foundation, visit NOGCF.org. And for ticket information to this year's Senior Players Championship visit BridgestoneSeniorPlayers.Com. Want to nominate a person or organization for an upcoming episode of Cleveland's own visit KauligGiving.com/ClevelandsOwn. Make it a Great Day!