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North Mississippi Golf Tournament Drives $100K Gift to Children's
Celebrating the first check presented from the North Mississippi Classic to Friends of Children's Hospital are, from left, John Fassinger, Country Club of Oxford general manager; Becki Huelse; Mark Huelse; Nikki Paine; Steve Jent; Larry Britt; Jeff Hubbard, Century Club Charities president; Sidney Allen, Century Club Charities board chairman; Natalie Hutto, UMMC chief development officer; Emily Lewis, Children's of Mississippi finance director; Dr. Jeffrey Vitter, University of Mississippi chancellor; and Keith Parker, Children's of Mississippi director of ambulatory operations.

Century Club Charities, host of the inaugural North Mississippi Classic golf tournament, presented $100,000 to Friends of Children’s Hospital just months after giving $1.2 million to the nonprofit through the Sanderson Farms Championship.

The North Mississippi Classic, part of the TOUR, had 156 players vying for a $550,000 purse at the Country Club of Oxford in April. The tournament champion, Eric Axley, received $99,000.

This year, Century Club Charities expanded its scope to increase its philanthropy through professional golfing events.

"Century Club’s mission is to benefit Mississippi charities through the game of golf,” said Jeff Hubbard, Century Club Charities president. “With 2018 being our inaugural year, we are pleased to be able to give this donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital, and we are looking for bigger and better things to come in future years.”

In January, Century Club Charities donated a record-breaking $1.2 million to Friends from the 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship, a PGA TOUR event. Since Century Club Charities announced Sanderson Farms as title sponsor, more than $5.5 million has been donated to support Mississippi’s only children’s hospital.

Friends of Children’s Hospital, in 2016, pledged $20 million to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the philanthropic drive to help fund construction of a new, seven-story children’s expansion adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital.

“Friends of Children’s Hospital truly appreciates the support from Century Club Charities and the North Mississippi Classic,” said Sidney Allen, board chairman of Friends, a nonprofit group that raises funds for UMMC pediatrics including Batson Children’s Hospital. “The contribution from the 2018 tournament will enable Friends to help fulfill the goal of the capital campaign.”

The new tower will be home to 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 10 additional operating rooms, more pediatric intensive care space, a pediatric imaging center, a specialty clinic and a new lobby. The Children’s Heart Center, representing the Medical Center’s pediatric cardiovascular program, will also call the new building home.

Ground was broken Dec. 1 on the 340,000-square-foot tower, which is set to open August 2020. The construction of the tower’s foundation is underway this summer.

“I can’t think of a better ending to what was an amazing first year for the North Mississippi Classic,” said Century Club Charities Executive Director Steve Jent. “Because of the buy in and support from our sponsors, volunteers and fans, we are honored to make this donation to Friends. We are eager to see what the future holds for this tournament.”

The North Mississippi Classic is the third PGA TOUR-sanctioned event to be held annually in Mississippi, joining the Sanderson Farms Championship, also hosted by Century Club Charities, and the Rapiscan Systems Classic on PGA TOUR Champions. Mississippi is one of only five states to host an annual tournament on all three tours, joining California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

“Century Club Charities not only exemplifies the best of golf in Mississippi, but also the best in philanthropy,” said Guy Giesecke, CEO of Children’s of Mississippi, the organization that includes Batson Children’s Hospital and all UMMC pediatric care. “Each year, Century Club Charities brings together business leaders and professional golfers to improve the health of Mississippi’s children, and now they have expanded their efforts. We thank them for their support through Friends of Children’s Hospital and are excited to see how their gifts will touch the lives of children.”

The 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship is set for Oct. 25-28 at the Country Club of Jackson.

For more information or to give to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, visit

By Annie Oeth, UMMC Public Affairs


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