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    • Local Charities Score as the Valero Texas Open Swings into Action

    San Antonio, Aug. 23 - The Valero Texas Open at La Cantera is well on its way to breaking fund-raising records again this year as the tournament's charitable contribution is expected to be $3.5 million, up nearly 500 percent from 2001 when Valero Energy Corporation became the title sponsor.

    To kick off this year's tournament and wrap up last year's charitable contributions, officials from Valero and Golf San Antonio presented $100,000 checks to four local charities -- totaling $400,000. The contributions, which are the largest single contributions in the Texas Open's 82-year history, were awarded to St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home, the SAMM Shelter, the Alameda, and El Centro del Barrio.

    "The Valero Texas Open has become one of the PGA TOUR's biggest success stories in three short years," said Bill Greehey, Valero's chairman and CEO. "When the Texas Open was struggling without a title sponsor, the PGA TOUR had doubts about San Antonio's commitment to this tournament, but I can tell you that they're not doubting us anymore.

    "We've taken the tournament to a whole new level. And, as great as the 2003 Valero Texas Open was, this year's tournament is going to be even bigger and better. We've attracted a strong field despite the fact that we're competing against the Ryder Cup; our sponsorship sales have taken off; and of course, our record charitable contribution will enable us to help many more charities in our community," Greehey said.

    Making the record charitable contribution possible, Valero employees and tournament organizers have sold $8.5 million in sponsorship packages to approximately 650 companies this year, versus the $1.78 million in sponsorships sold to 60 companies in 2001. The biggest contributor to the increase in sponsorship sales and charitable contributions is the Benefit for Children Golf Classic, Valero's own charity tournament held on the heels of the Valero Texas Open. Because this tournament has become so successful, Valero officials had to add a 5th golf course with morning and afternoon rounds and they're considering a 6th course.

    This year's $3.5 million charitable contribution should ensure the Valero Texas Open is one of the top-ranked tournaments on the PGA TOUR in terms of charitable giving. With last year's $2.8 million donation, the Valero Texas Open moved up the ranks to 5th place out of 46 PGA TOUR events in terms of its charitable contribution and earned the tournament honors for having the largest increase.
    Beneficiaries Serve a Variety of Needs in Community

    Because of last year's record results, tournament organizers were able to use discretionary dollars to make large grants to worthy charities in the community.

    "Since the Benefit for Children Golf Classic raises money for children's charities, we wanted to use some of the funds raised by the Valero Texas Open to benefit other good causes in town," said Greehey. "So we looked for organizations that serve a variety of needs in our community and decided to make substantial grants to help these organizations continue their great work."

    St. Peter-St. Joseph Children's Home (St. PJ's) serves as a safe harbor for children whose family circumstances place them at risk for maltreatment, abandonment, or neglect. Founded as an orphanage in 1891, St. PJ's focuses on helping children recover from the traumas they have suffered in destructive domestic environments. The tournament's $100,000 donation will support a capital campaign to build a Recreation Therapy and Education Center that will annually serve more than 350 children and 3,000 people in the community.

    The SAMM Shelter is San Antonio's largest provider of emergency shelter and services, serving more than 500 homeless men, women and children. In 2003, the SAMM Shelter provided nearly 180,000 nights of shelter to the homeless. The SAMM Shelter will use the tournament's grant to offer shelter every night for a year for up to 313 men, women, and children at the Emergency Shelter and provide for the needs of 40 families living at the Transitional Living and Learning Center.

    The Alameda is developing a National Center for Latino Arts and Culture that's focused on the arts, economic development, education, and entertainment. Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Alameda is working to provide the highest quality performances, exhibitions, and educational programs for a national and international audience. The $100,000 grant will be used to implement visual arts exhibitions, education initiatives, performances and capital for the completion of Museo Americano, which is expected to attract 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.

    El Centro del Barrio is a community-wide health center with a mission to improve the health of those who need it most in the community. Founded in 1973, the agency has grown from a single counseling clinic to a network of 18 sites providing medical, dental, mental health, nutrition, parenting education, and other health care services to more than 40,000 people annually. Roughly 17 percent of the center's patients are homeless, and 89 percent live at or below the Federal Poverty Level. The tournament's $100,000 grant will enable the center to provide comprehensive primary care for 600 patients, which equates to more than 1,500 physician office visits.

    Golf San Antonio's Charity Committee will begin accepting applications on October 1 for grant awards generated from proceeds of the 2004 Valero Texas Open at La Cantera. Only charities and schools participating in the Birdies for Charity and Save Our Schools programs will be considered for these grants. Anyone interested in receiving more information or participating in Birdies for Charity or Save Our Schools should contact Stephanie Sage at (210) 345-3839.

    About the Valero Texas Open
    The 2004 Valero Texas Open at La Cantera is scheduled for the week of September 13-19 at the Westin La Cantera Resort. Since Valero Energy Corporation became the title sponsor in 2002, the tournament and the Valero Texas Open Benefit for Children's Golf Classic have combined to raise $4.7 million in charitable contributions. This year's goal is to surpass $3 million in giving.

    Tickets can be purchased through a school participating in the Save Our Schools program, by visiting area Diamond Shamrock locations, or by calling the Golf San Antonio (GSA) office. Save Our Schools gives area schools and school programs the opportunity to sell tickets at a discounted price of $10 (a savings of $7). Every dollar collected by the schools, from now until Sept. 12, will go back to the schools. A list of participating schools is posted at Area Diamond Shamrock stores will have tickets available for $15 through the end of tournament week. For a list of stores, visit Tickets are also available by calling GSA at (210) 345-3818. Purchases can also be made at the tournament gates for $17.