Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The inaugural Denny & Mark’s Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation, which was held Oct. 29-30 on Daniel Island, was a major success for a first-time event, raising $135,000. The fundraising event was hosted by NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan in partnership with Denis Gallagher, CEO of Student Transportation, and his company’s philanthropic arm, the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation (STAEF).
Proceeds from the two-day event were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by hosts Denny Hamlin, Mark Bryan and STAEF, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children. The amount of $45,000 was donated to STAEF led by Denis Gallagher, $45,000 was also donated to Carolina Studios led by Mark Bryan, $30,000 was donated to MUSC Children’s Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis research on behalf of The Denny Hamlin Foundation and another $15,000 was donated to fund other projects and donation requests from The Denny Hamlin Foundation.
“Last fall’s Pro-Am Jam was a major success. The genesis of this event came from our desire to create something special and enjoyable for those in attendance and that benefitted children. I’m glad we were able to do just that,” states Denis Gallagher. “Denny Hamlin and Mark Bryan share a similar vision as we do at STAEF. This is a combination of people dedicated to supporting children and by combining our efforts we can make a difference in the lives of many kids within our community.”
The event, which would not have been made possible without the support if its sponsors SunTrust, FedEx, Piggly Wiggly, Navistar/IC Bus, Thomas Bus and Toyota, featured a celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament and a Jam Concert presented by SunTrust and included greats from the worlds of golf, music, racing, entertainment and sports. Co-host Denny Hamlin represented the world of NASCAR along with racing legends Darrell and Michael Waltrip and NASCAR Championship Team Owner and Hall of Fame and Super Bowl Champion NFL Coach Joe Gibbs.
“Everything about the event turned out fantastic, from the award-winning golf course at Daniel Island Club to the music concert at the Family Circle Tennis Center,” said Hamlin, a 22-time winner on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “The Charleston community is so generous and it really helps us attract celebrities who are eager to be a part of our event.”
Athletes who took part were Major League Baseball great Johnny Damon, NBA legend Rick Barry, NHL Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr, Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl champion George Rogers and former NFL standout and actor Ed Marinaro. Local favorite PGA professional Tommy Gainey and South Carolina’s own PGA professional Tommy Biershenk represented the world of professional golf.
Co-host Mark Bryan led his friends from the music industry who included Edwin McCain, country legend Johnny Lee, Collective Soul’s Ed Roland, Elise Testone formerly of American Idol and 14-time Grammy winner, Dan Tyminski.
“I am so excited about the growth of this event in just one year. I am very grateful for my partners Denny Hamlin and Denis Gallagher. The combination of golf and music is always a winner when it comes to raising money to help children,” adds Mark Bryan, “and I’ve seen it first hand for almost 20 years with our Hootie event, Monday After the Masters. It has provided a great model for us, and given us something to reach for. So far we are definitely headed in the right direction.”
Dates for the second annual Denny & Mark’s Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation have not been set yet but visit www.facebook.com/TheProAmJam and www.dennyhamlinfoundation.org for details as they become available in 2013.
The inaugural Denny & Mark’s Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation raised $135,000 to benefit three charitable foundations focused on children and education. On hand to donated the funds were (from left) Mark Lattanzio, SunTrust Market President; Mary Lou Hamlin from the Denny Hamlin Foundation; Dr. Rita Ryan from the Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. Isabel Virella-Lowell from MUSC; Mark Bryan of Hootie & the Blowfish and Carolina Studios; Lisa Chapman from the Denny Hamlin Foundation.