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Despite no fans, Ally Challenge raises $800K for Flint-area charities

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Despite no fans for its July 31-Aug. 2 tournament, the Champions Tour's Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc still was able to raise $800,000 for local charities in 2020.

Organizers for the senior-tour golf tournament announced Tuesday they had raised $801,563, with nearly half going to the tournament's primary beneficiary, $363,690 to the United Way of Genesee County.

In its three years, The Ally Challenge has raised $3.2 million for charity, including nearly half that during a record haul in 2019.

Unlike the 2019 event, this year's Ally Challenge was held without fans.

“It is a true testament to the work of the Ally team and the tournament that we were able to come together to raise an incredible amount of money for the United Way of Genesee County in this challenging year,” Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing officer for Ally, said in a statement. "With creative solutions ... we honored the commitment we made to support this community when we signed on to The Ally Challenge.”

The PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit raised $2.7 million for charity in 2020, more than double what they raised in the inaugural year when they actually had fans.

The Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids committed $1.1 million to charity, despite the event being canceled.

Charity dollars from The Ally Challenge will benefit three key areas in the greater Flint area: financial literacy, housing and employment.

"We are incredibly thankful that The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren was so successful this year, despite the many challenges and changes the pandemic created,” James Gaskin, CEO of the United Way of Genesee County, said in a statement. “For us, the tournament’s success translates into our ability to maintain service levels for more than a dozen local projects during a trying time when resources are scarce.

"This gift is critical to our collective ability to provide more than 100,000 helping moments that lift families across Flint and Genesee County."

More than 20 local charities will receive some financial benefit from The Ally Challenge, with sponsors' commitment key to the total amount raised.

The Birdies for Charity initiative was responsible for $388,673 in charitable donations, thanks to the 866 birdies made by the golfers during the three-day tournament (won by Jim Furyk in his Champions debut).

In other Ally Challenge news, tickets for the 2021 tournament, to be held Aug. 27-29, go on sale Friday, at allychallenge.com. The tournament weekend is scheduled to feature a Saturday concert by country artists Little Big Town on the driving range at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984