Tournament benefits local charities
Donating thousands of dollars to area charities is par for the course during the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn.
All net proceeds from the tournament are donated to charities and other organizations throughout Catawba County and surrounding area.
The event, to date, raised more than $900,000 for charities, but Jim Correll, the tournament's executive director, doesn't want to stop there.
"This year, our goal is to surpass the $1-million mark," he said.
The Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn established the Greater Hickory Classic Foundation in 2003 to manage the tournament's charitable donations. The Greater Hickory Classic was recognized as a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2005, and the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn continues to operate through the Foundation, according to the tournament's website.
Organizations benefiting from Ensure Classic range in mission and size, from the United Way to area elementary schools.
The Special Olympics of Catawba County benefitted from the tournament for about three years.
"It gives (Special Olympics athletes) a sense of pride," said Brian Adams, Special Olympics of Catawba County local coordinator. "They watch athletes on TV, but when they play, they're the athletes. They're the ones everyone is cheering for."
Money donated from the Ensure Classic is used to purchase uniforms, sporting equipment and travel arrangements for Catawba County Special Olympics athletes.
"It's all at no cost to (athletes') families," Adams said.
Athletes participate annually in spring games, but they also participate year-round in tournaments and other sporting events.
Catawba County has more than 400 athletes participating in the Special Olympics.
The Ensure Classic also benefits Safe Harbor Rescue Mission in Hickory, which is a faith-based nonprofit organization that helps women recovering from adverse situations, such as substance abuse, domestic violence and homelessness.
"Everything we do is based on Christian principles," said Teena Stewart, Safe Harbor Rescue Mission administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator.
In 2009, the mission served 387 breakfasts, 698 snacks and donated 1,341 items of clothing and 774 toiletry items to needy women.
Safe Harbor has a residential program with a six-bed facility, which is currently filled to capacity. The mission also has a day shelter, which serves about eight women daily, Stewart said.
But the mission can't survive without monetary support.
"Our biggest need is financial," Stewart said. "We're always kind of living hand to mouth."
Funds from Ensure Classic will help pay for Safe Harbor's general operational costs.
The Ensure Classic also partnered with TICKETS Fore CHARITY, which allows nonprofit organizations to sell weekly tickets to the tournament and receive 100 percent of ticket-sale proceeds for their organization.
"That's the big winner," Correll said. "Organizations can put as much effort into (selling tickets) as they want."
More than 60 nonprofit, charitable organizations sell tickets for the tournament through TICKETS Fore CHARITY.
The Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry is one of those organizations.
"Every little bit helps; it's a good thing," said Dr. Roger Baker, GHCCM executive director.
The organization has sold more than $500 tickets for the tournament, and they're hoping to use proceeds to purchase diabetic supplies for the ministry's pharmacy.
Baker said GHCCM is pleased with Ensure Classic's new title sponsor, which is owned by the Abbot company.
"Abbott is a big supporter of our pharmacy," Baker said.
For more information about other charities benefitting from Ensure Classic visit. www.ensureclassic.com.