Illinois PGA Foundation Announces Three-Year $150,000 Pledge to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana

Dec 5, 2017

GLENVIEW, Ill. – December 5, 2017 – As part of the giving season, Illinois PGA Professionals and the Illinois PGA Foundation officially announced a three-year pledge (2017-2019) to contribute $150,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC CNI) to support the charity’s Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile programs. The pledge kicked off with a $66,390 check presentation yesterday from this year’s Birdies for Charity fundraiser conducted on Labor Day.
The 7th annual Birdies for Charity fundraising event involved 35 Illinois PGA Professionals playing golf for the day at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst with one goal in mind: make as many birdies as possible in 72 holes of play. With generous pledges from friends, family, colleagues and club members, this year the golf pros exceeded their goals and carded 670 birdies for a record $280,000 raised. The effort pushed the seven-year event fundraising total to $1.18 million. Each of the benefiting charities – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, JDRF and the Illinois PGA Foundation – received $66,390.
“We’re so proud to be able to combine our golfing skills and the generosity of our donors to make these significant contributions to support RMHC CNI,” said Chris Gumbach, event co-chair and host PGA Professional at River Forest Country Club. “As PGA Professionals, we live and work in the communities we serve and want to give back and support organizations that do so much for children.”
The three-year $150,000 Illinois PGA pledge will culminate in 2019 with the naming of the 9th floor at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital as the Illinois PGA floor. This floor is designated for pre and post-op care of juvenile organ transplant patients. In addition to this pledge, the Illinois PGA has already donated more than $350,000 to RMHC CNI via previous events and fundraising programs. And in 2015, it installed a putting green on the south lawn of the Ronald McDonald House near Central DuPage Hospital for families staying there to enjoy.
“At the completion of this generous pledge, the Illinois PGA and its PGA Professionals will have contributed more than $500,000 to RMHC CNI and helped us deliver programming to thousands of families and children who need our help,” said Holly Buckendahl, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
The Illinois PGA has enjoyed a strong relationship with RMHC CNI over the years dating back to 2011 when the Illinois PGA Foundation and RMHC CNI were both beneficiaries of the 2012 Ryder Cup community relations program.
“Birdies for Charity is one of our signature programs and one that our members look forward to participating in each year,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section and Foundation. “We feel honored to be able to make this pledge and raise such significant funds for RMHC CNI through the Birdies program. PGA Professionals are a dedicated group and we are fortunate to have such outstanding members in the Illinois Section who recognize the importance of giving back to the community.”
Event co-chair, Travis Johns, Director of Instruction at Medinah Country Club, brought the Birdies for Charity event idea with him from the North Texas PGA Section where he had previously worked and proposed it to the Illinois PGA Section Board. At the time, Gumbach was sponsorship chairman and immediately thought it was just the kind of community involvement program the association and its members needed to rally around. 

Event co-chairs, Gumbach and Johns, were joined by  longtime Birdies for Charity participants Rich Dukelow (Medinah CC), Jeff Pajula (Stonewall Orchard CC), Eric Hoff (Bryn Mawr CC) as well as Williams and Kathy Kreft, Assistant Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section, at the announcement and check presentation.
For more information about the Birdies for Charity event and to make a donation, please visit
About the Illinois PGA/Illinois PGA Foundation
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 840 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, Youth-based Scholarship Funds and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC®-CNI)
RMHC-CNI is an independent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for families of children with complex medical needs while their child is being treated in the hospital. Each night, we keep 153 families close to the care and resources they need because of the comfort, compassion and community at five area Ronald McDonald Houses® and three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms®. Allowing families to stay close to their child in the hospital, not only supports the health and wellbeing of the child, but saves our families over $10 million in hotel and food costs each year. We are located near Advocate Children's Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. RMHC-CNI also operates a Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® which provides medical care to children in underserved areas. RMHC-CNI is an approved BBB Accredited Business and holds a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. For more information visit