Champion Invitational raises $65K

By Lenny C. Lepola -

Mention the word “Champion” and most Sunbury area folks would associate it with the proposed Champion Real Estate Services apartment complex that will be built at the intersection of South Miller Drive and Fairland Avenue across the street from General Rosecrans Elementary School in Sunbury.

During last week’s Sunbury Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Champion Real Estate Services President and CEO Brian Yeager and Chief Investment Officer Dan Hunter received a nod of approval on the development’s preliminary plan.

But Champion, a company founded in 2010, is more than about building multi-family real estate complexes. On Aug. 15, the 2015 “Champion Cares” golf invitational welcomed 144 golfers to the NorthStar Golf Club of Sunbury, in a tournament raising more than $65,000 for four central Ohio charities.

With an 11-year history as the Doc & Yeager Golf Invitational, the tournament’s new name came from a need to align with an accredited 501(c)(3) organization, to be able to raise and donate more money than ever before.

“The move to align this tournament with the Champion Cares Foundation has allowed us to expand our reach farther than we had ever imagined,” said Yeager, one of the founders of the Doc & Yeager. “We were excited to reach just two charities last year, and now this year we were able to impact four with the most money we have ever raised in 12 years.”

Three charities — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, Children’s Hunger Alliance and Columbus Children’s Charity — each received $10,000 from the event, and this year’s featured organization, the YWCA Family Center, received a $20,000 donation. The remaining dollars raised will be put into the Champion Cares Foundation and donated to the foundation’s charitable partners later this year.

During the awards ceremony, the CEOs of each charitable organization spoke about what these funds will help them accomplish in the coming year: The Columbus Children’s Charity will be able to help 3,000 children in its 2015 campaign; Big Brothers Big Sisters will be able to provide up to 10 more mentorships to central Ohio’s youth; Children’s Hunger Alliance will be able to provide nutritious food to food-insecure children; and the YWCA Family Center will be able to provide 40 additional meals to the more than 50 families that it hosts on a daily basis.

“To hear each organization quantify how these funds will help them was really impactful,” Yeager said. “It makes this day so much more than a fun day of golf. It’s about truly making a difference in the central Ohio community.”

The Champion Cares Foundation is the philanthropic initiative of Champion Real Estate Services, the mission of which is to support people within the community who are in need with the help of the company’s business relationships, residents and team members.

“With the generous support of our 144 golfers and this year’s 43 sponsors, we are making a difference in the lives of people in need right here in our city,” said Michelle Yeager-Thornton, co-founder and chief operating officer of Champion. “We think this is just the beginning of what we can accomplish with this partnership between the tournament and the Champion Cares Foundation.”

By Lenny C. Lepola

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093

Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093