How Davis Love III and RSM Raise Charity Money with the RSM Classic

Davis Love III, 2022 RSM Classic,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Davis Love III, 2022 RSM Classic,(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) /

It’s often said that the biggest winner on the PGA Tour is charity.  And just to illustrate, there are many ways Davis Love III and RSM touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people, not just across the country, but around the globe.

The RSM Classic, RSM, and Davis Love raise money in several ways, with a multi-pronged approach that includes RSM’s employee-led Power of Love campaign and the Birdies Fore Love competition among PGA Tour players in fall events.

In the Power of Love initiative, RSM owners and employees volunteer to do fundraising in their own communities where they live and work.  The charities parallel the objectives of the Davis Love Foundation, which is to help children and families who are at risk because of poor educational, economic, social, and health situations.

RSM employees have been exceedingly creative with their fundraising efforts.

They have held whiffle ball tournaments, bake sales, chili cook-offs, putt-putt contests, dance-a-thons and there was even one pie-in-the-face challenge.

Then, once money is raised with an event, the RSM Foundation matches it, doubling the result for charity. In 2022, funds were raised for more than 70 different charities.  That money went back to the community where it was raised.

While it doesn’t sound like the bake sales and dance-a-thons could possibly have an impact, this year, it added up to $6.7 million. Last year, it was $5.5 million.

In addition, Birdies Fore Love is an outright charity gift by RSM to the top three players for the number of birdies they make in fall events on the PGA Tour. Each player designates the charity or charities where the money goes.

RSM provides $500,000 which is divided as $300,000 for first place in birdies, $150,000 for second most birdies, and $50,000 for third. Players are allowed to make the donation in their names to any charity of their choice so long as it supports the needs of children or families.

There’s also another giving program which raises money for non-profits in Southeast Georgia.  It’s a ticket sales program that has been successful for many tournaments both on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.

Beneficiaries include Special Olympics (National, State, and Local), the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia, the Southeast Georgia Health System, Firebox Initiative, Communities In Schools, and Safe Harbor Children’s Center. 

And those are just a few that receive funding through the ticket sales program.  The way it works is that the organizations sell tickets and track the funds and then RSM gives that money back to them.  So the more they raise, the more they receive.

All this fundraising began in 2010, when the Davis Love Foundation joined with the PGA Tour and became the host of a new PGA Tour event called the RSM Classic.

Held at the historic Sea Island Resort on St. Simons Island, the tournament, to date, has become a tradition as the last golf event before Thanksgiving and the last regular event of each year.

Whether it will move its location on the calendar with the changes to the PGA Tour schedule starting in 2024 remains to be seen.

“We know our dates for ’23, we think we know them for ’24, so we’re happy and RSM’s happy,” Davis Love noted at the recent RSM.

"“As long as we have this event at The Cloister ( part of the overall Sea Island Resort) with Tour pros, everybody’s going to be pretty happy around here.” – Davis Love"

No matter what the dates are, the goal remains the same as Zach Johnson, also a St. Simons Island resident and regular in the tournament explained.

"“No. 1, going to the markets we go to and giving back,” Johnson said. “And we’re a 501(c)(6) and we’re able to do that, it’s pretty unique. Millions of dollars, that’s No. 1, to give away.”"

The 501(c)(6) designation is the part of the PGA Tour which is a charitable organization. There are other aspects of the PGA Tour that are for profit, but the main focus of the Tour since the early 1970s has been to create revenue for charities using its golf tournaments to do the fundraising.

To date, it is estimated that the PGA Tour has raised more than $3 billion for charity.

For the 2022 tournament, $6.7 million was raised for charity, according to Doug Opheim, chief financial officer with RSM US LLP and chair of the RSM US Foundation.   The year before, it was $5.5 million.

“This brings the grand total raised for children and families in need through the tournament since it began in 2010 to nearly $35 million. We are honored to be able to support those in need through The RSM Classic,” Opheim said in a statement after this year’s event concluded.

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The money created and donated by the RSM Classic, literally millions since the tournament began, is spread around, not just on St. Simons Island, but across several countries, wherever RSM, a tax and accounting and consulting firm, operates.

Right now, it’s 123 countries and 100 charities and counting.

Davis Love Foundation is headquartered at Sea Island Golf Club, St. Simons, GA.  It is a private Foundation established to help community-based programs that focus on children and families in need.