Champions Tour names local Habitat its Charity of the Year

The Champions Tour announced today that Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the primary charity of the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, has been named the 2010 Champions Tour Charity of the Year.

"The recognition received by Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as our Charity of the Year is richly deserved in light of their efforts to restoring the lives of Mississippi Gulf Coast families,” said Mike Stevens, President of the Champions Tour. “Their involvement in the event has served to solidify the base of support that the tournament receives and underscores one of our core values that together, anything is possible."

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, Christian housing ministry that constructs houses for families in need. Since 1976, when Millard Fuller and his wife Linda, founded Habitat for Humanity, the organization has built more than 350,000 houses around the world while providing “safe, decent, affordable shelter” for 1.75 million people in more than 3,000 communities.

Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has more than 387 homes completed or under construction since Hurricane Katrina and is committed to serving families interested in affordable homeownership opportunities. “It’s such an honor to be recognized by the Champions Tour,” said Chris Monforton, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “This donation will help us continue to build affordable housing alternatives in the community.”

The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, an inaugural event on the 2010 Champions Tour won by David Eger at Fallen Oak in Biloxi donated all charitable dollars to Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“Many, many people can feel proud of the recognition of this award,” said Duncan McKenzie, Chairman of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “This organization will continue to serve countless families in our community in helping to rebuild homes and lives.”

On Wednesday afternoon of this year’s tournament week, Champions Tour professionals Dan Forsman and David Frost led a small group including Fred Funk’s 10-year-old daughter Perri and her Mom Sharon, and Forsman’s son Richard, to the Connor’s Garden subdivision in Gulfport where they assisted with landscaping projects in a neighborhood that now consists of 40 Habitat for Humanity-built homes.

“It was a thrill to be a part of it and I want to congratulate Habitat for Humanity for this recognition of their outstanding efforts,” said Forsman, when he learned the organization had been named the Charity of the Year. “All of us walked away saying it was a wonderful, wonderful cause. We all remember what happened with Katrina and still empathize with all the suffering that had gone on down there in the Gulf Coast region. It was just a great honor to be a part of it that day.”

As recipient of the 2010 Champions Tour Charity of the Year, Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast will receive $30,000 to assist with their Homeownership Incubator Program, which is designed for people interested in becoming a homeowner, yet need time and assistance to get ready for a home purchase. It allows prospective buyers to start the homeowner process while taking the time needed to save money or work on minor to moderate credit issues.

“The Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic is proud to honor Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the Champions Tour Charity of the Year,” said tournament director Steve Nieman. “When you see how many members of our community actively participate in creating opportunities for people in need to transform their own lives, it warms your heart.”