PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Third Round

Ernie Els tees off from the 9th hole tee box during the 2019 Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana.

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation will be presenting a check for $100,000 to The Els for Autism Foundation on Wednesday of the Mitsubishi Electric Classic. In addition, during the tournament’s Maxwell Leadership Pro-Am, all guests will be packing backpacks full of food for Blessings in a Backpack.

With its two-year grant to The Els for Autism Foundation, MEAF will support the Work Experience Program at The Els Center of Excellence, where Els for Autism hosts leading edge programs and services for children and adults with autism. Working alongside Mitsubishi Electric volunteers, pro-am guests will pack 500 bags for Blessings in a Backpack, whose mission is to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

These initiatives at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic will further Mitsubishi Electric’s commitment to charity through their golf partnership. Mitsubishi Electric is an Official Marketing Partner of the PGA Tour as well as the title sponsor of two PGA Tour Champions events, The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the Mitsubishi Electric Classic. Through both of their PGA Tour Champions events, more than $5 million has been donated to local charities with $2.5 million donated at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic since 2013.

On Wednesday and Thursday of the Mitsubishi Electric Classic Maxwell Leadership Pro-Am, before teeing off on the 18th hole, guests will pack a backpack that will go to a child who attends an elementary school in or near Duluth. This donation will help children who may be experiencing food insecurity as almost 1 in 4 children may struggle with access to food.

The Els for Autism Foundation was founded by World Golf Hall of Famer and four-time major champion Ernie Els and his wife Liezl. Their son Ben, who is on the autism spectrum, inspired them to create a foundation and a campus where their son and others can receive an education, medical and professional services, as well as employment training opportunities.

Els for Autism has a 10-week Work Experience Program that allows participants to learn industry specific jobs and demonstrate their ability to add value in a core business operation, which MEAF is supporting.

“We are excited to work with Ernie and The Els for Autism Foundation,” stated Kevin R. Webb, senior director, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. “The work that Ernie and Liezl have put in to create not only a foundation but a facility where kids can go to further their education and learn life skills so they can grow into independent adults and be fully included in the community is what MEAF’s empower possible initiative is all about.”

During the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, a “Blue Out” will be held Friday, May 14 to show support for autism acceptance and awareness. PGA Tour Champions professionals, their caddies, PGA Tour Champions staff and spectators are all encouraged to wear blue.

“We are so grateful for the support and funding we are receiving from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation to provide vocational training and paid employment opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum,” said Els for Autism Foundation development manager, Nicole Poundstone. “We are happy to work with companies like Mitsubishi Electric who value embracing and accepting those with differences. The Blue Out is a fantastic example of their support of autism acceptance.”

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