Patrick Warburton is known as a comedic actor with iconic characters from television series such as Seinfeld and The Tick. But he’s also a philanthropist with a huge heart whose annual Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament shattered its goal this year by raising $2.27 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event continues to be the top-grossing golf tournament fundraiser in the country for St. Jude.
More than 75 stars, songwriters and rock legends gathered in Palm Desert March 9 – 12 for golf and music events in support of the kids of St. Jude. The weekend’s events were kicked off by Songwriters Night, attended by 500 guests and featuring performances by country music stars Deric Ruttan, David Lee Murphy, Tim Nichols and Kelley Lovelace.
The next night, March 10, the Rheneypalooza Jam gathered legendary musicians onstage at the JW Marriott Desert Springs. Mike Mills of R.E.M., Mickey Thomas, Clare Dunn, Robby Krieger of The Doors, Alice Cooper and Huey Lewis, as well as a surprise appearance by Michael Bolton, entertained a crowd of nearly 900 for more than four hours. Fundraising elements incorporated into both evening events included guitar giveaways, sales of T-shirts and other merchandise and an impromptu live auction of two guitars signed by the Rheneypalooza artists.
Golfers over the weekend numbered 260, hitting the links on March 11 for their first round of golf, and it was followed that night by the Saturday Soirée attended by 730 guests. A highlight of the evening was a surprise check presentation in the amount of $400,000 by Garden Fresh Corp., owner of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants, to help support the mission of St. Jude.
The weekend’s success helped boost the total amount raised by the Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament to more than $7 million over seven years.
“So many generous people and hard-working volunteers came out this weekend to make all our events a huge success, and we are honored by the outpouring of support in the local community as well as by those who traveled here from throughout the country,” said Clarke Rheney, tournament co-founder and chairman.
St. Jude founder Danny Thomas called on many of his friends in Hollywood for help in building St. Jude. The dedication of the entertainment community continues today with events like the Warburton Celebrity Golf Tournament, helping to ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.