By Annie Oeth
Sanderson Farms Championship host organization Century Club Charities donated $1 million from the golf tournament to benefit Mississippi’s only hospital for children.
The donation from proceeds of the state’s only PGA TOUR event to Friends of Children’s Hospital was announced at a news conference today at Children’s of Mississippi’s Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The $1 million gift coupled with over $500,000 to other Mississippi charities, including an anonymous donation of $100,000 directly to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, takes the 2022 total charitable impact of Century Club Charities to more than $1.5 million statewide.
“Through the efforts of our amazing Tournament Partners and Sponsors, especially our title sponsor, Wayne-Sanderson Farms, as well as the Century Club Charities members, board, and staff; tournament volunteers, The Country Club of Jackson, and the PGA TOUR, the 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship allowed us to once again make a substantial gift to Mississippi charities,” said Phillip Carpenter, president of Century Club Charities. “We were very excited to host a first-class event and all the excitement fans have come to expect, and that support allowed us to reach lofty goals when Children’s of Mississippi and other statewide charities are in great need.”
Since Sanderson Farms, now known as Wayne-Sanderson Farms, became the Title Sponsor in 2013, the tournament and Century Club Charities have contributed more than $15.7 million to Friends of Children’s Hospital and other Mississippi charities. Since 1994, Century Club Charities has raised more than $23 million for Mississippi charities.
Children’s of Mississippi, which includes the children’s hospital and clinics around the state, cares for nearly 200,000 children a year.
John Scarbrough, board chairman of Friends, said Century Club Charities makes Friends’ mission to support the children’s hospital possible. Funds from the Sanderson Farms Championship help provide state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for Children’s of Mississippi, which is now working toward updating the hospital’s Batson Tower, which opened in 1997. The children’s hospital opened its seven-story expansion, the Sanderson Tower, in 2020.
“The Sanderson Tower wasn’t here 20 years ago, but I was here, in room 353, where I was with my son who was being treated for cancer,” Scarbrough said. “It’s a full-circle moment for me to stand here in front of you today, … with so many organizations working together to do what’s right for the kids. These numbers are incredible, but at the end of the day, it’s about the kids.”
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at UMMC, thanked Century Club Charities, Friends of Children’s Hospital and Wayne-Sanderson Farms for their continuing support through the construction of the Sanderson Tower and updates to the Batson Tower.
“People have asked me from time to time, ‘Are you all done?’ We are not done,” Woodward said. “There’s space in the Sanderson Tower that’s shell space to allow for future growth. There are projects underway to bring other children’s hospital areas up to the standards of the Sanderson Tower, to renovate and refresh.”
One of those projects is the renovation of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, which will triple the size of the infusion room and nearly double the number of exam rooms.
“Whether it’s your child or someone else’s child in the state of Mississippi, as long as the children need us, we are not done,” she said. “We are continuing the work.”
Bob “Pic” Billingsley, senior vice president and general manager of retail sales for Wayne-Sanderson Farms, applauded Children’s of Mississippi and its mission.
“The reason I’m here today is not the reason a lot of people come to the children’s hospital,” he said. “I came up here to celebrate a good day. A lot of people come up here to celebrate finding hope, the hope you doctors give. … All these mamas and daddies with these kids who drive up out here, all they want is a chance. All they want is a little hope. … This is all Joe and Kathy Sanderson wanted. You’ve got a facility here that is second to none. These are doctors who are world-class. The best health care in the world, you can find it right here.”
Steve Jent, executive director of the tournament, thanked the many volunteers and fans who support the Sanderson Farms Championship each year.
“Without the spectators and the hard work of our volunteers, as well as the support of Wayne-Sanderson Farms, the Sanderson Farms Championship would not be possible,” Jent said. “We’re already looking forward to this year’s tournament and expect it to be even better.”
The 2023 Sanderson Farms Championship is set for Oct. 2-8 at the Country Club of Jackson.