PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Golf icon Gary Player and The Player Foundation continue to spread hope for a brighter future to AIDS orphans across China following another successful Gary Player Invitational (GPI) in Shanghai. Together with Coca-Cola and other sponsors, the charity event has generated nearly $10 million in the past seven years to aid in improving living conditions and providing educational support to AIDS orphans in underprivileged areas of China.
"I am always blown away by the support we receive for our Gary Player Invitational in Shanghai," said Gary Player. "Our sponsors have been fantastic, and I could not be more thrilled with the impact we are making for AIDS orphans here in China."
This year represents the seventh year that the GPI global charity series has made a stop in Shanghai, China. The event added an impressive $1.6 million to the total 2013 funds raised thus far, with the final event yet to be played, during the 30th anniversary of The Player Foundation.
"We are looking forward to continue working with our sponsors, local organizations and philanthropists in the 30th anniversary year of The Player Foundation. Our collaboration has turned out to be extremely successful in creating a positive impact to the living condition of AIDS-affected children and their families. Together, we have the power to truly create a brighter future," said Player.
The Grand Slam champion hosted hundreds of businessmen, philanthropists, golf enthusiasts, and celebrity artists including JJ Lim, Jane Zhang, Ding Dang and Li Xiangxiang, as well as several Miss Universe winners at the JingAn Shangri-La hotel for the GPI Gala. The star-studded event included numerous performances and a thrilling live auction that included over 50 items on the eve of golfers taking to the Shanghai Links for the GPI pro-am tournament with Player and other professional golfers.
One of the highest grossing auction items of the night came from 15-year-old Chinese golf sensation Guan Tianlang. Guan, who attended both the evening gala and golf day, successfully generated over $66,000 after a heated bidding war for the "Golf with Guan Tianlang" package. On his contribution, Guan said, "This is a meaningful charity event, and I am glad to meet my idol Gary here. Most importantly, I hope that I can do something for the underprivileged of my own age."
Player, who just celebrated his 78th birthday a few days earlier, had nothing but high praise for the 15-year-old who made history earlier this year as the youngest golfer to qualify, then make the cut at The Masters. "As a member of the youngest generation of golfers, he not only has exquisite skills, but also shoulders the responsibility of helping others as much as we golfers can," said Player. "He is an exceptional young man."
To date, GPI funds have supported 14,443 AIDS orphans in Yunnan, Xinjiang, Hubei and Anhui by providing their families with living allowances, financial aids, medical assistance and psychological counseling. The program has also subsidized 710 AIDS-affected women, offered college bursaries to 93 AIDS orphans, and helped to build houses for 56 AIDS-affected families.
"This is part of our long-term sustainability commitment in China," said David G. Brooks, Chairman of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea. "We cannot develop our business without the healthy and sustainable development of our local communities. We will keep doing our small parts for those underprivileged kids affected by AIDS, because we do care. Seeing smiles coming back on their faces is the best gift we can imagine."
Through seven consecutive years of efforts, the Gary Player Invitational has not only raised funds to help AIDS orphans, but also successfully drawn social attention to this important cause.
"Thanks to the advocating from Gary Player, Coca-Cola, other sponsors and many philanthropists, the GPI has led a philanthropic butterfly effect where more and more people are becoming aware of the needs of this particular disadvantaged group, offering their hands and demonstrating their acceptance," commented Li Chaolin, President of Chinese Foundation for the Prevention of STD and AIDS. "We will keep working on the living improvement for those AIDS-affected children and their families by leveraging various social resources from businesses and individuals."
The Gary Player Invitational series will conclude at South Africa's Sun City Resort on November 14-17 to cap off The Player Foundation's 30th anniversary.
For more information, visit GaryPlayerInvitational.com or follow @GPInvitational on Twitter.
For further information, please contact:
Grace Lipscomb-Vine, Black Knight International (US)
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Meagan Sickle, Black Knight International (South Africa)
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Gary Player Invitational 2013 Series
United States - Georgia
Dates: 14-15 April 2013
Champions Retreat, Augusta
United Kingdom - England
Dates: 22 July 2013
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey
China - Shanghai
Dates: 4-5 November 2013
Dates: 14- 17 November 2013
The Lost City Golf Course, The Palace Hotel, Sun City
About The Player Foundation
The Player Foundation was established in 1983 by Marc Player. What began as an effort to provide education, nutrition, medical care and athletic activities, for a small community of disadvantaged children living on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa has now blossomed into an organization that circles the globe bringing aid to underprivileged children and impoverished communities.
The Foundation is funded primarily by four Gary Player Invitational events presented through Black Knight International. Pairing celebrities and professional golfers from the PGA and Champions Tours with businessmen and international sports figures, the annual tournaments are staged in the United States, China, Europe and South Africa. The proceeds of these tournaments and other special events provide funding for an ever- expanding number of institutions around the world, including the Blair Atholl Schools in South Africa, the Pleasant City Elementary School in Palm Beach, the Masizame in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, and AIDS infected children in Baoshan, a drug-infested city located on the China-Burma border. Since its establishment, The Player Foundation has donated over $50 million dollars to the support of children's charities, the betterment of impoverished communities and the expansion of educational opportunities throughout the world.
Gary Player, acknowledged as a world-class humanitarian, believes that the strength of our future depends upon the abilities of our children. "I have found that the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others does not thrust itself upon us," Player says, "But we do not need to look hard for it either. When you spot the chance to give back to the world, act on it. You will have made life better, for others, and for yourself."
The Gary Player Foundation is a non-profit 501 C (3) organization managed by Black Knight International in Palm Beach, Florida.