Avon Foundation for Women Donates $100,000 to Five Chicago-Area Domestic Violence Agencies at the Inaugural Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence-Chicagoland
PGA TOUR Golfers and their Families Join Chicago-Area Residents and the Avon Foundation for Women at the BMW Championship to Raise Life-Saving Funds
Chicago, IL – September 13, 2011 – PGA TOUR golfers, including Mark Wilson, Scott Stallings and Martin Laird, members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association, and hundreds of Chicago-area residents participated in the inaugural Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence–Chicagoland, which donated $100,000 to five local domestic violence agencies. Event participants walked four miles on the 18-hole Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, IL, during the PGA TOUR’s BMW Championship, the third leg in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence is a collaboration between the Avon Foundation for Women and the PGA TOUR Wives Association.
Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence, a non-competitive, family-friendly event for all ages with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting the five beneficiaries, began with an emotional opening ceremony. Jacqueline Herrera, a local domestic violence victim who received life-saving services from one of the Walk the Course beneficiaries, discussed the critical role that shelters and domestic violence programs play in the recovery process.
“I stand here before you not only as an advocate for those who have survived the torture of domestic violence, but also as a voice for those who still suffer. I was a victim of domestic violence and thanks to the amazing support I received from Connections for Abused Women and their Children, I was able to break free from my abusive boyfriend,” said Herrera. “I never thought domestic violence could happen to me, but it did. And it was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. But the organizations you see here are helping women like me, and thankfully today I am happy and healthy and very excited to be walking with you!”
To ensure that all funds raised immediately benefit the community, Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation for Women, presented a total of $100,000 to the five local domestic violence organizations: Pillars – Constance Morris House in LaGrange Park, Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) in Chicago, Family Shelter Service in Downer’s Grove, The Crisis Center for South Suburbia in Tinley Park, and Sarah’s Inn in Oak Park. Additional donations are still welcome and needed and will also be donated 100 percent directly to these agencies.
“Domestic violence is more prevalent than you think,” said Kurzig. “Some of you might think it doesn’t affect you, but it does. Right here in Illinois, 76 people were killed in domestic violence incidents in just one year. So you’re doing a great thing today because every single dollar you raised is truly making a difference.”
Amy Wilson, president of the PGA TOUR Wives Association, said: “Three years ago we first partnered with the Avon Foundation to help create Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence. We know that domestic violence is an unacceptable form of abuse. Our society needs to stop considering it a private matter and make it a public one. It is not pretty, and it is not glamorous, but it can and should be addressed.”
Following the walk, Mrs. Illinois 2011 Zara Johnson and several PGA TOUR golfers signed autographs for participants. Afterwards, many of the PGA TOUR golfers participating in the BMW Championship mingled with top fund-raisers at a special reception at Cog Hill’s clubhouse. The golfers thanked the fund-raisers for their hard work and commitment to the cause.
PGA TOUR Golfer Mark Wilson said: “On behalf of all the guys here and the other golfers who will be out on the course this week, I want to say that it is an honor to share this golf course with such an important event. Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence is really making a difference, and we are so proud of all of the participants for their efforts to raise life-saving funds to help the victims of domestic violence. And of course we are very proud of our wives for committing wholeheartedly to such a significant and critical cause.”
Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence is the latest initiative of the Avon Foundation for Women Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Since Speak Out launched in 2004, the Avon Foundation for Women has awarded more than $23 million to domestic violence organizations in the United States alone to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs, as well as direct services for victims and their families.
From 2009-2010, more than 70 people in Illinois lost their lives because of a domestic assault, and on average in the United States, one in three women will become a victim of abuse or partner violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence knows no boundary of age, race, gender, wealth or geography – it can affect anyone.
The Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. Through 2010, Avon global philanthropy has donated more than $800 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses its funding on breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Avon also responds generously to provide support for relief and recovery efforts in times of major natural disasters and emergencies.
PGA TOUR Wives Association, Inc., was incorporated in 1988 by wives of professional golfers on the PGA TOUR and has since expanded its membership to include wives and significant others of PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour players, as well as individuals and companies who support the Associations' charitable endeavors. In addition to fundraising, members participate in Volunteer Service Projects, performing a myriad of services ranging from Habitat builds to cooking in soup kitchens to playing with hospitalized children in communities where tournaments are held.
The BMW Championship, formerly the Western Open, is the oldest event on the regular PGA TOUR schedule, having been first contested in 1899. The 2011 BMW Championship, the third leg in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, will be held Sept. 12‐18 at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois. The BMW Championship, conducted by the Western Golf Association, provides full university tuition and housing grants to deserving young caddies by designating the Evans Scholars Foundation as its sole charitable beneficiary. Founded by famed amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans, Jr., and sponsored by the Western Golf Association, the Evans Scholars program provides full housing and tuition scholarships to young men and women. Currently, more than 850 caddies are attending college on scholarship. In addition to proceeds from the BMW Championship, the program is funded by individual contributions from more than 100,000 golfers across the country.
Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence thanks Official Sponsors: Chicago Children’s Museum and Golfsmith.