DALLAS, TX – Southwest Airlines today announced it will donate $675,000 to children’s charities benefiting children in local and international destinations. At this year’s 30th Annual LUV Classic Golf Tournament, the airline added two donation recipients in addition to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) to include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
Ginger Hardage, Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications at Southwest Airlines, sits on the International Board of Trustees for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which is based in Chicago.
“Southwest Airlines has proudly taken to the golf course every year for 30 years to raise money for children’s charities at our Annual LUV Classic Golf Tournament,” Hardage said. “We have given proceeds from the LUV Classic to a Ronald McDonald House in every U.S. city Southwest Airlines serves, and proceeds from this year’s tournament will benefit children in four houses in our international destinations. This provided us a great opportunity to expand the recipients this year to include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. We’re thrilled to expand the reach of the LUV Classic to benefit children and their families beyond our traditional borders.”
“It takes $80 per day to help keep a family close to a sick child when they are getting treatment and healing,” said Gabe Ottolini of Ronald McDonald House Charities. “Over the last 30 years of the Southwest LUV Classic partnership, Southwest has helped RMHC serve more than 185,000 children and their families—providing more than just a room or roof over their head, they helped RMHC provide warm meals, spaces for children to play together, and a community of support and resources to help them through a very difficult journey.”
Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation said, “Funding received through the 2015 LUV Classic will enhance vital Family Support Services programs such as social work, pastoral care, and special therapies like pet therapy, music therapy, clown therapy, art therapy, and other programs that are not covered by insurance, yet are proven to produce superior patient outcomes when combined with exceptional medical care.”
Bonne Whittaker, regional events liaison at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital shared that, “The funds received at the LUV Classic will be used to support the life-saving research and treatment being done at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”
The LUV Classic was founded in 1985 by Southwest Airlines President Emeritus Colleen Barrett. The event has since grown to be ranked as one of Dallas’ top charity golf tournaments by the Dallas Business Journal, donating more than $15 million since its inception, and benefitting a total of 113 Ronald McDonald Houses.