Saving children’s lives and bringing sustainable disc golf to the world.
Those are the missions of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Paul McBeth Foundation, respectively. Together they line up with the core beliefs of the Ledgestone Open. Money raised during the 2022 tournament will be donated to these two incredible institutions.
In 2021, Ledgestone made a $200,000 donation to charities including St. Jude and the Paul McBeth Foundation. It is still the largest ever donation from a disc golf event.
“The donation’s impact is huge,” said Mollie Shepherdson, the St. Jude Area Managing Director in Peoria. “It ensures that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude; not for treatment, travel, housing or food.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital based in Memphis, Tennessee spearheads the fight against pediatric cancer. Its Peoria affiliate clinic is the first, and largest, in the world.
“St. Jude really runs deep in the roots of the Peoria community and it’s why we’re so excited to be a part of the Ledgestone disc golf tournament,” Shepherdson said. “It has been great for all of our participants to get involved with something great in our community.”
Each year St. Jude sends volunteers to help staff the Ledgestone tournament in gratitude for the ever-growing donations. And to mark the Ledgestone Open’s commitment to the organization, on the final day of the tournament a representative of St. Jude makes a ceremonial first throw from the tee of hole 1 at Eureka Lake.
The Paul McBeth Foundation has also flourished since its official launch in 2021, thanks in part to donations from sources like Ledgestone.
“Paul had an incredible opportunity to change his life via disc golf and he wants to provide that opportunity to others,” said Dustin Leatherman, Executive Director of the Paul McBeth Foundation. “Most parts of the world don’t have access to disc golf or make good recreational activities available to kids. Disc golf can bring communities together. Not just opportunities to play, but also providing people a job or getting them into course design or managing a course.”
In 2021, $40,000 of Ledgestone’s charitable donations went to help McBeth and his team install new and sustainable courses in several underserved locations with limited access to or knowledge about disc golf.
“For a new organization like us, that donation was game changing,” Leatherman said. “That allowed us to ramp up our efforts, add part time staff, and focus on bigger projects.”
Since that donation, the foundation has successfully installed courses in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and inner-city Chicago, with 2022-23 plans for courses in Montenegro, Nicaragua, Uganda and Kenya.
“We’ll be putting in three courses in Africa, which takes many more resources than putting in a course in Mexico or Chicago,” Leatherman said. “The opportunity to receive a major contribution from Ledgestone allows us to take our impact to the next level.”
Building on last year’s massive charitable success, the 2022 Ledgestone event is on track to provide sizable donations to these two institutions once again.