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A Historic Devotion to Giving Back

Sent on Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last year was a celebratory year for Nationwide Children's Hospital, the primary charitable beneficiary of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance through the Nicklaus Children's Healthcare Foundation. In June, mere days after Tiger Woods hoisted the Memorial trophy for a record fifth time, the hospital unveiled its new patient tower. The project, more than six years in the making, became the largest pediatric expansion in U.S. history. In addition, 2012 marked the 120th birthday for Nationwide Children's. Since opening its doors in 1892, the Women's Auxilians have been at the forefront of helping the hospital achieve its mission of providing excellent care to all children regardless of their family's ability to pay – a vision shared by the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance and the Nicklaus family.

In 1890, a group of women dreamed of establishing a hospital for children in Columbus. This group held a tea and fair at the home of Mrs. James Kilbourne and raised $125 which would become the seed money for building our city's first children's hospital. In 1892, the articles of incorporation were filed and Children's Hospital was formally organized by the adoption of a Constitution and election of the Board of Trustees and Board of Lady Visitors, which later was renamed the Women's Board. The Auxilians actually managed and operated the Hospital until the mid-1940s when the first hospital administrator was hired. The Women's Board organization is still active today.

The Pleasure Guild, successor to the Pleasure Fund which is said to be the oldest auxiliary, was formed in 1908, the TWIGs in 1916 and Kinder Key in 1954. These four groups comprise the Women's Auxiliaries of Nationwide Children's Hospital, and today they continue their passion for philanthropy. They work diligently throughout the year as ambassadors and raise funds a variety of ways. Each year, these dedicated volunteers raise more than $1 million, and they have contributed a total of $40 million since they began.

Pleasure Guild raises money to support the Hospice and Palliative Care Program. This program assists families during a time of great need and for the children for whom a cure is no longer in reach. TWIG supports patient care, education and research, and in recent years, the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

Kinder Key is dedicated to providing new hope for young hearts through their support of The Heart Center. Women's Board focuses on the areas of greatest need while many members of all auxiliaries also serve on their standing committee, the Memorial Tournament Women's Division Committee, which raises awareness and funds to support the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Volunteers are at the heart of the Memorial Tournament's dedication to the Memorial Tournament NICU at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Every year thousands of volunteers share their passion for helping others by giving their time and talents to the success of the Tournament.

More than 30 Women's Auxilians serve on the Women's Division Committee. They are responsible for recruiting, scheduling and managing volunteers throughout the Tournament. This dedicated committee, representing the Memorial Tournament and Nationwide Children's Hospital, works to ensure professionalism from all Tournament volunteers.

For every hour worked by one of the volunteers of the Memorial Tournament's Women's Division Committee, a donation is made to the Memorial Tournament NICU. It is in recognition of these selfless men and women that the Tournament annually honors an individual as the Volunteer of the Year.

The program began in 2003 and has since celebrated a total of 10 recipients of the coveted award.

The Women's Division Committee kicks off the nomination process each year by requesting that each of the 14 committees recommend potential candidates. From those recommendations the top three candidates are chosen and voted on by a select committee of Tournament Officials. The Volunteer of the Year is formally announced each May, just prior to the start of Tournament week.

To learn more about volunteering for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance visit, http://www.thememorialtournament.com/volunteers/

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