TPC Storytellers present $36k to local charities


Every year the tips given to the storytellers at TPC Sawgrass go toward helping local charities, and during 2023 the group was able to raise $36,000 as part of the tips its volunteers earned from the tours they offer of the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse and the property throughout the year.

The money was dispersed to five charities across the area during presentations at the storytellers’ annual luncheon event in December, and the charities included V for Victory Fighting Cancer, Hopeful Handbags, the St. Gerard campus, Forgotten Angels and Jacksonville Naval Historical Ship Association for the USS Orleck.

According to captain storyteller Jim Kleck, the program always tries to find a variety of different charities that specialize in helping people dealing with many types of situations, and this year’s group of charities is a perfect example of that.

“The tours are free, and we tell that to our guests when they come in, but if they enjoy the tour we let them know that any gratuities we get from our tours go to charities we select as storytellers,” Kleck said.

He believes the ability to give back is a strong motivating factor for both the storytellers and guests who go on the tours of the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse.

“Most people are very open and generous with their contributions,” Kleck said. “Since 2007 (when the clubhouse opened), we’ve collected more than $300,000 in gratuities that have then been turned around and given to charities.”

The money donated will go a long way in helping each charitable organization get closer to achieving their goals of helping those in need in the community.

In the case of the Jacksonville Naval Historical Ship Association, they are working on getting enough funds to offer an interactive warship museum of naval military history for visitors to Jacksonville, while also developing their STEAM+H educational program for local children.

V for Victory Fighting Cancer was founded by the owner of V’s Pizza and its mission is to cultivate relationships with local businesses and community groups to offer everyday services and support to families battling cancer at no cost to them.

St. Gerard campus strives to empower and provide hope to teens who are pregnant or parenting, while Hopeful Handbags wants to assist those who have dealt with domestic abuse and their children.

The elderly in nursing homes are the focus of Forgotten Angels, especially those with no family by working with activity directors to make sure they get presents at Christmas and have all the essential items they need.

“It’s such a great program to be a part of and its great when all the stories we tell can make a difference like that,” Kleck said.