The storied account of the successful launch of the Lexus brand has been told many times in books and articles, but little is known about the charity program that was launched by the brand at the same time. Even before the first dealership opened, Lexus had begun plans for giving back to local communities, and Lexus Champions for Charity is now in its 30th year of raising money for a host of nonprofit organizations across the country.
Perhaps the longest running charitable program of its kind, Lexus Champions for Charity has helped raise more than $400 million since that first year. Lexus dealers across the U.S. sponsor charity golf tournaments in their respective communities. Each selects a charity of their choice, and provides a once-in-a-lifetime Pebble Beach golf experience package for two as part of their fundraising activity.
This two-player team participates in the LCFC National Championship — a five-day event, including three days of golf on the ultimate trifecta of courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay. Auction and raffle winners represent their charity on the links, competing for the opportunity to gift a portion of the $100,000 purse.
“Philanthropy has been a core element of the Lexus brand since its inception, and we’re delighted at the enthusiasm and participation we see year-after-year with Champions for Charity,” says Greg Kitzens, general manager of Lexus marketing. “We have some determined players who have made it an annual event, and some fantastic charities that have benefitted for decades.”
“Lexus Champions for Charity has been very close to my family’s heart,” said Kendell Sutterlin, founder of the charity Abby’s Friends, a Lexus Champions for Charity beneficiary for 11 years. “My husband, John and I absolutely love attending the Pebble Beach event to hear and see how many wonderful, deserving charities benefit from the generosity of Lexus dealerships. Abbys Friends is truly grateful for the impact our local dealership has made in the lives of children living with Type 1 Diabetes in the Charleston community.”
In addition to the tournament itself, the five-day Championship event includes:
- Daily hole-in-one opportunities to win a Lexus.
- Special appearances by Lexus Golf Ambassadors like Peter Jacobson, Johnny Miller, and Natalie Gulbis conducting exhibitions and meet-and-greets.
- Luxury hospitality including accommodations at the renowned Inn at Spanish Bay, fine dining, social functions and a Saturday evening Champions Dinner and Awards Ceremony.
- Lexus drive experiences.
Champions for Charity by the Numbers:
- 30 — years since Lexus Champions for Charity’s inception
- 30 — years the longest running charity has been a beneficiary (Achievement Centers for Children)
- $400 million — raised to-date for charities across the country
- $43,810 — record-high donation for the LCFC National Championship — benefiting The Meyer Center for Special Children
- 5,000 — local charities supported through the years
- 150 — local Champions for Charity golf tournaments in 2018
- 44 — states represented
- 18 — most LCFC National Championships attended by one participant
- $100,000 — Lexus Champions for Charity National Championship purse
- 35,000 — current and potential Lexus customers reached