The 6th Annual Denis, Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by Student Transportation Inc. (STI) raised a record $322,000 at its 2017 event, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year. This brings the six-year fundraising total to over $1.3 million raised for the three host charities that share a common mission to provide better opportunities for children and the less fortunate. The annual celebrity concert and golf fundraiser, which features the partnership of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan, and Denis Gallagher, Chairman and CEO of STI, took place October 23-24 at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, South Carolina.
"The growth of this event and the impact these funds have made over the past six years has been truly inspiring," stated Kelly Engelbert, Executive Director of the STI Cares Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of STI and one of the benefitting host charities. "We are so grateful to all of our sponsors who come back to Charleston year after year to raise money for these important causes. Our mission at STI Cares is to drive change in the communities we serve. The funds we've raised from the Pro-Am Jam have helped send thousands of children all over the country to college, assisted those who lost everything in the recent natural disasters, comforted families fighting significant medical conditions, and granted charitable organizations further resources to continue their life-changing work. We are proud to be associated with this event and are thrilled to have exceeded our expectations in this sixth year."
Over the six years, the annual auction, concert and golf tournament have empowered the Denny Hamlin Foundation to donate $450,000 directly to Cystic Fibrosis research at Hamlin's hometown hospital, the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), and to the MUSC Children's Health for Cystic Fibrosis programs at the hometown hospital of the Pro-Am Jam in Charleston.
"To reach $1.3 million this quickly is way beyond what we expected when we started this charitable event six years ago," said Hamlin, who has 31 career victories in the NASCAR Cup Series. "It is a testament to the giving nature of the music and motorsports industries, our sponsors, and the Charleston community as a whole."
The event has afforded the third host charity, Carolina Studios, the opportunity and means to provide thousands of music lessons and sessions to local children. "The Pro-Am Jam is an event that is making a difference," stated Mark Bryan. "Working together with the Denny Hamlin Foundation, and STI Cares, we have raised over a million dollars for the various causes we hold dear to us. I have been working with Carolina Studios for a long time, and we are reaching more kids each day than we ever have, thanks to the sustainability and resources created by the Pro-Am Jam."
Bryan again led an all-star cast of musicians from many genres for the Pro-Am Jam concert which included award-winning singers and songwriters, plus band members from Hootie & the Blowfish, Chicago, The Who, and the E Street Band among others.
"Anytime you can raise money by having fun and playing golf, it's a win-win, but when you add a live concert experience to the mix it creates another level," added Bryan. "We've had a blast developing a house-band format for celebrity musicians to come and perform genuine, energetic, live versions of their songs, and it translates to a unique experience for the audience."
The event was made possible by the support of numerous people and businesses including the following major sponsors: SunTrust, Blue Bird, Navistar/IC Bus, Thomas Built Buses, Collins Bus Corporation, FedEx and Raymond James. The 7th Annual Pro-Am Jam hosted by Student Transportation Inc. will again return to the Daniel Island Club in the fall of 2018. For updates on the event, please visit http://www.facebook.com/TheProAmJam and follow on twitter at @ProAmJam.