Among the many positive effects of the PNC Championship, is its charitable impact on Orlando’s children and families.
Through the years, working in partnership with Arnold Palmer and, subsequently, his foundation, proceeds from the event have allowed PNC’s Central Florida leadership to make meaningful local gifts, now approaching $1MM.
The relationship between Arnold Palmer and PNC is strengthened by mutual Pennsylvania roots and shared values spanning decades and miles. In 2019, a new chapter begins as the PNC Championship and the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation will collaborate for Orlando’s community improvement, focusing on benefitting children through the renovation of Lake Lorna Doone Park. This historic park, site of the first integrated little league baseball team, is undergoing an $8MM upgrade to further enhance the West Lakes and Parramore areas of Downtown Orlando. In addition to building the Arnold Palmer Putting Experience, the Palmer Foundation is also shepherding and sponsoring the creation of the Winnie Palmer Nature Walk as a signature interactive in the park.
To ensure that the Winnie Palmer Nature Walk is successfully completed and an source of discovery and joy for local children for years to come, 2019 proceeds from the PNC Championship (previously PNC Father Son Challenge) will be directed to the effort, supplemented by the exceptional leadership and insight from PNC’s “Grow Up Great” team. The nationally acclaimed and deployed “Grow Up Great” program has been in existence for 15 years and aims to prepare children up to five years of age—particularly those from underserved communities—for success in school and life.
The renovations occurring in Lake Lorna Doone Park – made possible through the leadership of LIFT Orlando, Florida Citrus Sports, partners like the Palmer Foundation and many others – are part of an overarching community initiative to create a neighborhood where children grow up with hope and return with joy. The Winnie Palmer Nature Walk, will be a peaceful and engaging educational experience which encircles the entirety of Lake Lorna Doone. Most fittingly, a section of the Walk will traverse the Arnold Palmer Putting Experience, a top-quality putting course being designed by the Arnold Palmer Design Group to mirror the Bay Hill Club’s Championship course back nine.
Scheduled for completion by spring of 2020, the Walk will be a well-used resource for locals and visitors. Once complete, the Palmer Foundation, PNC leaders in Central Florida and Pennsylvania, nature educators from the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve (also in Pennsylvania), and others will create and deploy nature-focused educational programs for local youth participants including:
- West Lakes Early Childhood Center (ages 2-5)
- The nearby Boys & Girls Club (ages 5-13)
- Participants in a variety of summer programs hosted by Florida Citrus Sports.
Generous support from the Championship will dramatically expand both the array of activities and the number of children and families which can benefit from the efforts. Using best practices developed at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, preschool nature education programs will be unique STEAM-based learning experiences presented within a natural setting.
Amy Palmer Saunders comments: “We are grateful for the opportunity to work closely with PNC Foundation leaders, as well as the Central Florida team members and partners who make the PNC Father Son Challenge a memorable and impactful event. It is fitting that an event focused on family will strengthen local families by fostering a love of nature in young children.”