American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) Members across the United States and Canada donated a total of $277,500 to local charity organizations within their home communities during 2011. Grants were awarded to specific ACBL districts, ACBL Charity Foundation trustees, and district directors from funds raised at special Charity Games held at the ACBL’s 3200 affiliated bridge clubs across the continent.

In 1964 the ACBL Charity Foundation was established to support the philanthropic endeavors of the ACBL, and has since made substantial contributions to a wide-range of charitable organizations. In 2005, the Foundation realized the need to respond to the local charity needs of the ACBL’s 25 districts, thus dividing their contributions equally between the districts in a four year grant cycle.

“Raising money for charity was one of the original purposes of the ABCL,” said Charity Foundation President, Georgia Heth. “Since we give most of our donations to smaller, local organizations, we get to help make a big difference in the communities our members live in.”

During 2011, ACBL Districts 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19*, and 25 each received grants of $30,000 to divide among their local areas as they saw fit. District 8 which encompasses St. Louis, Northern Indiana, Central and Southern Illinois & Paducah elected to divide their grants between units. Unit 239 selected the Geneva Food Bank as the recipient of their unit’s charitable donation.

“I chose the Geneva Food Bank since it distributed food to pretty much the same area our bridge unit covers,” said Unit 239 president, Karl Dencker. “We have 10 bridge clubs within our unit and each frequently holds a weekly charity game with proceeds benefitting the ACBL Charity Foundation. This year’s $6,000 donation is extra and something special.”

A total of 78 charities received donations, with the largest district donation of $18,000 granted to the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, an organization within ACBL District 19 whose programs help communities with literacy, health care, agriculture, small business development, environmental protection, human rights, civil society, land rights, gender equity, and peace-building.

*Due to their membership, districts 18 & 19 share funds on a 60/40 split.

About the ACBL
Indisputably the most challenging card game ever invented, bridge attracts players of all ages and walks of life — from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to tennis star Martina Navratilova. Founded in 1937, the ACBL is the largest bridge organization in the world, serving 165,000 members, 3,200 bridge clubs and sanctioning 1,100 sectional and regional tournaments annually. The ACBL’s three North American Bridge Championships each attract up to 5,000 players representing every state in the United States, Canada and about 20 other foreign countries. For more information about the ACBL, visit www.acbl.org.