Arnie's Army was established in 1959 during The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, when an "army" of US soldiers followed the defending Champion, Arnold Palmer, around the course. Today, 58 years later, Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation (AACF) has announced the creation of a Legacy Program to support late golf legend Arnold Palmer's lifetime mission of philanthropy, as the centerpiece of a nationwide re-branding campaign for the organization. The first three founding Legacy Partners in the new AACF program include longtime Arnold Palmer allies Hertz, MasterCard and Golf Channel/NBC Sports.
Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation was established in 2015 to help fulfill Mr. Palmer's lifelong passion of investing in the well-being and development of children and youth, supporting health and wellness initiatives and strengthening both communities and the environment. Today, the AACF has been entrusted to carry on the legacy of Mr. Palmer in marching toward a better tomorrow. While the iconic Arnold Palmer umbrella logo will still have a place within the organization, the refreshed logo, which features a reflective silhouette, captures Mr. Palmer as a golfer, and as the giving humanitarian he was for more than six decades.
"Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation is celebrating a Life Well Played by driving forward on Mr. Palmer's unmatched commitment to philanthropy, and a lifetime dedicated to making lives better around the world," said Kevin Bingham, CEO, Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation. "We are excited to debut a fresh new Foundation logo as part of our nationwide re-branding campaign for Arnie's Army, as well as unveil our Legacy Program that will help shape the future of the organization."
In 2017, and beyond, programs and events that encompass the AACF will be supported through the newly created Legacy Program, which is a collaboration of key business partners whose values closely align with Mr. Palmer. The first 3 legacy partners truly reflect the ideals and vision of Mr. Palmer, highlighted by a longstanding partnership with MasterCard, a 35+year partnership with Hertz and Golf Channel/NBC sports, which Mr. Palmer helped establish in 1995.
Bingham adds, "By leveraging new marketing assets, financial resources and creative programming, in collaboration with the power of our partners' brands, the AACF will be positioned to expand our reach nationally and continue to exceed our charitable goals well into the future. Backed by our three founding partners, we are seeking to align with additional companies and brands that support the philanthropy initiatives that are synonymous with Arnold Palmer's lifetime of giving back."
For decades, Arnold and Winnie Palmer dedicated unwavering time and resources through their philanthropic endeavors, especially in Orlando, Florida through the Arnold Palmer Hospital For Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, as well as in Arnold's hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania through the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve. In creating the AACF, Mr. Palmer's mission is never ending, and today the Foundation remains laser focused on sustaining the great work that has been established, while expanding the footprint to new communities across the nation.
The AACF, which will operate as a united front in support of Mr. Palmer's vision, represents the charitable components of several high profile events and programs, including golf's prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, the PGA TOUR event that takes place in Orlando every March. The non-profit tournament that Mr. Palmer founded was created to support philanthropic events that take place during tournament week, highlighted by Arnie's March Against Children's Cancer.
Another event that is a core initiative of the AACF is the Arnold Palmer Cup. Now in its 20th year, the Arnold Palmer Cup is an annual Ryder Cup-style tournament matching top male collegiate golfers from the United States against Europe. The 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup will take place at the Atlanta Athletic Club, from June 9-11. In co-founding the Arnold Palmer Cup in 1997, alongside the Golf Coaches Association of America, Mr. Palmer set out to create a platform for cultivating the next generation of competitive golfers, while driving the growth of golf at the amateur and collegiate levels.
Since its inception, the Arnold Palmer Cup has not only become a launching pad for young rising golf professionals from around the world, but it has become a breeding ground for many of the game's future stars. In fact, the Arnold Palmer Cup has produced over 100 players who have gone on to earn PGA or European Tour cards, and can proudly claim 178 professional victories, multiple major champions and nearly two dozen Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup members.
Bingham concludes, "There is no better way to honor the legacy of Arnold Palmer and take the Arnold Palmer Cup to a new level than by introducing a co-ed format for the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup, taking place July 6-8, 2018 at Evian Resort Golf Club in France. The reality of having men's and women's USA collegiate golfers competing side-by-side against their counterparts from around the world will showcase all that is great about the game of golf, and more importantly, it will speak directly to Mr. Palmer's inclusive vision for the game."
For companies seeking to join the legacy program, please contact C. Kevin Smith at 407.876.3944. For more information on the Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation, or to make a donation, visit arniesarmy.org.