Today we are thrilled to host our 6th annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic in support of the Wills Group’s Community Engagement efforts.
Players and sponsors from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond are gathering to tee off at the esteemed Turf Valley Resort in Central Maryland. Fresh air, friendly competition and good company awaits numerous sponsors, community partners, and their guests and our Wills Group employees for this highly anticipated annual fundraiser.
Proceeds from the tournament support the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund – the Wills Group’s charity arm named in honor of former President Julian Blacklock “Blackie” Wills. Blackie served as President from 1963 to 1988, and Chairman of the Board through 1998. Throughout his tenure, Blackie supported numerous non-profit and civic organizations across Southern Maryland.
The Fund actively invests in programs that provide basic needs to underserved populations and transforms public spaces to help neighborhoods thrive. For nearly 100 years, the Wills Group has been committed to serving and supporting our local communities. The Wills Group company purpose – Lives in Motion – is how we express this commitment to caring for our diverse communities.
Today’s Blackie Wills Golf Classic will benefit our two Signature Programs: Nourishing Children and Families and Reimagining Outdoor Spaces, as we work closely with nonprofit and community organizations to create pathways and places for families and communities to thrive through community engagement.
With the support and dedication of our employees, sponsors and community partners at the Golf Classic, we have proudly raised $1.8 million to fund local, community-based programs across the Mid-Atlantic. This year, our Golf Classic fundraising goal is $300,000 to further our commitment to these critical programs and the communities which they serve.
Nourishing Children and Families
The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity across the nation. The Blackie Wills Golf Classic and our generous sponsors have made it possible for the Wills Group to increase our commitment to regional food banks and nonprofits working to end childhood hunger and provide nutritional meals for children and their families.
Together, with the help from our employees and business partners, the Wills Group has donated $1+ million to provide meals and resources to children and their families since the pandemic began.
This increased response has been instrumental in helping people whose lives have been hit the hardest and slow to recover from the pandemic.
A longtime partner of the Wills Group, Lifestyles of Maryland, saw a growing demand for food, shelter, and personal care items as the health crisis spread across Southern Maryland.
“With the Wills Group’s assistance, we have been able to expand our program to meet this increased need,” shared Sandy Washington, Lifestyles of Maryland Executive Director.
“We continued operating cabanas throughout Charles County and were able to provide 97,000 meals so far this year. Every week we were also able to provide 50 families with a weeks’ worth of groceries consisting of healthy meals. The Wills Group’s support and compassion through its expanded program allows us to meet the increasing needs of our community.”
In 2021, proceeds from the Blackie Wills Golf Classic supported 200,000 meals to the Capital Area Food Bank; 3 tractor-trailer loads of produce and 200,000 meals to Feed More, a food bank serving Central Virginia; a year of food backpacks for 373 children through the Food Bank of Delaware; a new community garden in partnership with Farming 4 Hunger; and 340,000 meals distributed through the Maryland Food Bank.
Reimagining Outdoor Spaces
The second Signature Program of our Community Engagement work, Reimagining Outdoor Spaces, launched in 2021, and is all about investing in outdoor spaces where communities can connect, play, enjoy nature, and thrive.
Phoenix Run in La Plata, MD is one such space that was recently transformed by our dedicated Wills Group employee volunteers in partnership with over a dozen community organizations.
The basketball courts and outdoor spaces at Phoenix Run were in dire need of TLC. Two years, countless volunteer hours, and $130,000 later, the Wills Group and local partners dedicated the refurbished park back to the people of La Plata.
The Wills Group is proud to be part of a collective effort to create a community space that is vibrant and welcoming for children and families.
Let the games begin!
Celebrations for our 6th annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic began last evening with a Recognition Reception and dinner at the picturesque Terrace on the Green at Turf Valley Resort.
Today’s tournament features a “Modified Captain’s Choice” format on 36 holes across two championship courses, as well as a luncheon and awards ceremony. Both courses, named “The Original” and “Hialeah,” offer a tranquil and challenging setting for amateur and avid golfers alike.
Players are kicking off the day with an energizing breakfast followed by a 9:30am welcome and shotgun start. The tournament concludes at 3:00pm with a buffet lunch and awards reception.
Thank you to our sponsors and participants
Philanthropy is at the heart of the Wills Group’s culture and values. Collectively, the Wills Group has donated more than $4.5 million to support charitable causes since 2006, a feat that would not have been possible with the support and partnership from our employees and business and community partners.
The Blackie Wills Golf Classic is our largest annual fundraiser and has enabled us to devote time and funds to help our communities and our neighbors thrive. It is through the generosity of today’s sponsors that we will be able to renew and deepen our impact for yet another year. Making our communities better is the driving force behind the Wills Group’s purpose of keeping Lives in Motion. Our family of businesses – Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash, and SMO Motor Fuels – aim to serve this purpose through every interaction with our customers. As our retail locations help customers meet their immediate needs and move forward with their goals, the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund strives to ensure that all our neighbors have access to the same basic needs and opportunities to thrive.