Impact of Wells Fargo Championship goes beyond golf
Tournament highlighted by great golf and commitment to community.
The Wells Fargo Championship returned to Charlotte, North Carolina, in May. The championship generates significant financial support for local organizations and provides a boost in the Charlotte region, with an economic impact estimated to be around $75 million each year. Since 2003, more than $27 million in proceeds from the tournament have been donated to local and regional charities. Here are four key takeaways.
First Tee Future Entrepreneurs Program participants ‘on cloud nine’
For Nyla Sims, Ahmad Raoul, and Kai Dawson, joining First Tee was as much about building life skills and tools as safely hitting greens and steadying their putting strokes.
The program, founded in 1997 by a host of organizations within the golf community, teaches healthy habits like perseverance and confidence while making golf accessible to children of all backgrounds across the United States.
Sims, Raoul, and Dawson were chosen from a deep field of applicants to participate in the second annual First Tee Future Entrepreneurs Program, sponsored by Wells Fargo and First Tee.
The participants took part in the Wells Fargo Championship Pro-Am. They were paired with four-time major champion Rory McIlroy on the first nine holes, and PGA TOUR pro Alex Smalley, a Duke University graduate, on the back nine.
“Having us connect with PGA pros, like tour players, this was unbelievable,” Sims said after the Pro-Am. “I feel like I’m on cloud nine.”
During the week, they participated in a First Tee clinic and networked with Wells Fargo employees and customers, as well as influencers and golfers.
Sims is a senior at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Raoul is a freshman at Winston-Salem State University, and Dawson is a graduate student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University.
“In all honesty, without First Tee, I would not be who I am today, where I am today,” Raoul said. “Every blessing, every core value that I had to memorize, every healthy habit I had to memorize … is all worth it now.”
U.S. Army veteran wounded in Iraq receives donated vehicle
In 2001, Benjamin Breckheimer joined the U.S. Army Reserves as an Operating Room Specialist.
Over the next 12 years, he served in various roles, including a year-long deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.
In 2009, as a Calvary Scout out of Fort Lewis, Washington, Breckheimer sustained significant injuries from an improvised explosive device, which nearly cost him his right leg.
He remained in the Army for another four years before medically retiring and receiving the Purple Heart, awarded to military members who are injured or killed in combat to acknowledge their physical sacrifice in service of the nation.
Wells Fargo donated a 2022 Ford Escape from Mark Ficken Ford Lincoln through the Military Warriors Support Foundation's Transportation4Heroes program to Breckheimer at a special event held during this year’s tournament. Breckheimer and his wife own and run a mobile coffee truck, Avalanche Coffee Company, in Tega Cay, South Carolina.
“The very first day we were in business, our personal vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run,” Breckheimer said. “It (the Ford Escape) relieves that financial burden of a monthly car payment so we can help build up our personal saving account to hopefully open up our own brick-and-mortar shop.”
Small Business Market showcases nine local businesses
Wells Fargo welcomed crowds to the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. And it once again hosted a Small Business Market, featuring nine companies based in the Carolinas.
The businesses highlighted were:
Manolo Betancur, owner of Manolo’s Latin Bakery and Artisen Gelato, said being featured in the market was a “dream come true.”
“Wells Fargo is giving light to those who society often places in the shadows,” he said. “Wells Fargo is letting us know that we are not alone, and that they care about us.”
“Wells Fargo has been super supportive,” said Jordan Herring, COO and co-owner of Knowledge Perk. “Just giving us the platform to sell coffee here to be in the small business (market) has really opened up opportunities for us to get in front of a lot of clients and a lot of customers that we wouldn't have just being in Rock Hill.”
Championship week concludes with first-time PGA TOUR winner
Wyndham Clark, a native of Denver, shot 19-under-par en route to a four-stroke victory at this year’s Wells Fargo Championship — his first win as a professional.
“I’ve dreamed about this since I was probably six years old,” Clark said. “Since I’ve been on the PGA TOUR, you fantasize about it all the time … and to do it at this golf course, against this competition, is better than I could ever have imagined.”
His victory closed out a week with an estimated 200,000 fans in attendance at Quail Hollow. The championship, however, isn’t possible without the work of hundreds of employees and volunteers.