When Bing Crosby began his golf tournament in 1937, its mandate was clear: Local charities must benefit.
Today, Monterey Peninsula Foundation runs the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has assumed the obligation, supporting more than 250 nonprofit organizations in Monterey and surrounding counties.
"The peninsula is quite wealthy, but you'll find in the eastern part of the county that the per-capita income is very low," says Dr. Michael L. Jackson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County. "Many of our kids are latchkey kids, almost 42 percent."
The generosity of MPF and its high-profile board that includes chairman Clint Eastwood and vice chairmen Peter Ueberroth and Doug Mackenzie has allowed the Boys & Girls Clubs to serve more than 150,000 meals a year. "Most of our children, close to 90 percent, are on free or reduced lunch programs," Jackson says. "So when they come to the clubs in late afternoons, the snack, which is more like dinner, becomes an important meal."
Another beneficiary of MPF is Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. Most recently, MPF provided a $500,000 grant for Kids Eat Right, a hands-on nutrition and physical-activity program. In the past, MPF has provided support for many other initiatives, including digital mammography. "Monterey Peninsula Foundation has been an incredible partner in our mission to improve the health of the community," said Dr. Steven Packer, president and CEO of the hospital.
MPF also runs the PURE Insurance Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event that features professionals partnering with kids from First Tee programs from around the country. One of the largest beneficiaries of the tournament is The First Tee of Monterey County, which started in 2004 and has grown to 6,000 kids.
"The First Tee of Monterey County started in 2004 with 75 kids," says Barry Phillips, CEO of the Future Citizens Foundation that oversees The First Tee Monterey County. "We now have 6,000 kids. It's a pretty amazing growth that's happened, and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation has been a huge part of that."
California State University Monterey Bay has had an ongoing partnership with MPF, one that has been beneficial to the college and its students and the community at large. Recent grants have helped CSUMB upgrade its baseball, softball and soccer facilities.
"We have a lot of community involvement on those fields," says CSUMB's athletic director, Kirby Garry. "We have camps and clinics that use our facilities. It's certainly a win-win. We've also been good stewards of their investments, which are impacting more than just our population of students.
"Previous to these facility projects we've done, they've supported our camps and clinics programs," Garry says. "The population that we serve is underserved. Their grant allowed us to provide free clinics and camps to our local youth. It allowed us to buy equipment and shirts and to give away balls to each participant."
MPF also has supported CSUMB's capital campaign for its library, as well as funding scholarships at a university that has "a lot of first-generation college students," Garry says.
The upshot, noted on the home page of MPF's website: "The Thrill of Golf. The Power of Giving."
"It's a good partnership, golf and giving," says Steve John, CEO of MPF. "We're fortunate to be involved in such a wonderful sport."
Elsewhere on the website, it is noted that "approximately 205 grants are approved a year, averaging $30,000. In the 2016 fiscal year, MPF awarded $10.8 million to support local nonprofits in the tri-county area we serve."
The bulk of those funds is generated through the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, of which Eastwood is the tournament chairman.
"I'm proud of the impactful work MPF does to improve the quality of life in our communities," Eastwood says.