Regions Tradition raises $1.1 million for Alabama charities

Regions Tradition raises $1.1 million for Alabama charities
The top five charities who raised money through the Regions Tradition's Birdies for Charity program received matching funds. (Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

The Regions Tradition golf tournament ended months ago, but Alabama charities scored big wins Monday thanks to the PGA Tour Champions event.

Officials with Regions Tradition and Regions Bank announced donations of more than $1.1 million to charities throughout the state. The announcement was made at Children’s of Alabama hospital, one of the charities benefiting from the annual tournament.

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This year’s donations push the total the tournament has raised to more than $15 million since it began as the Bruno Memorial Classic in 1992. Since it became the Region Tradition in 2011, the tournament has raised more than $4.5 million.

“This particular golf tournament has so many positive things about it. One is image enhancement. One is economic impact. But then this charitable impact that we’re announcing today is in many ways the most satisfying,” said Gene Hallman, CEO of the Bruno Event Team, which puts on the tournament.

Children’s of Alabama recognized Regions Tradition as one of its “Pillars of the Community” for raising more than $1 million for the hospital system.

“All year long, the Regions Tradition is making a difference in the lives of children and families across our state,” said Leroy Abrahams, North Central Alabama area president for Regions Bank. “Since the tournament began, proceeds have benefited hundreds of charities that meet vital needs in the communities we serve. It is an honor to support an event that gives back to the community in such a meaningful way, and we look forward to building on the success in the years to come.”

Hallman said the tournament continuing to draw such high levels of support and interest after 25 years speaks to how much it has become a part of the Birmingham metro area.

PGA officials notice its success as an event and as a contributor to charities.

“Regions has not only allowed this tournament to ascend to major championship status on PGA Tour Champions, but also to create a meaningful charitable impact in (the) greater Birmingham area,” said PGA Tour Champions President Greg McLaughlin. “Today’s announcement further solidifies those efforts.”

The Birdies for Charity program is another way charitable organizations have raised money through the tournament. SouthWest Water Co. was the main sponsor as 76 charities competed to raise their own money as part of the tournament and the top five fundraisers earned matching funds.

The Regions Tradition and SouthWest Water handed out giant checks with the matching totals at Children’s Monday. The winners were:

Also at the ceremony Monday, Reeves Sims, who has served as the Pro-Am chairman at the tournament for 25 years, was recognized for recently being honored as the PGA Tour Champions volunteer of the year.

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