H-E-B‘s 32nd annual Tournament of Champions raised $8.7 million dollars for 600 Texas nonprofits focused on youth, children, and education. That sum sets a new donation record for the organization by exceeding last year’s total of $8.4 million.

More than 1,200 volunteers deployed to SAMMinistries, The Children’s Shelter, and the San Antonio Food Bank for community service projects. Others put finishing touches on three homes in New Braunfels, which were built specifically for injured veterans and their families.

“This is a special event for our company,” Winell Herron, H-E-B’s group vice president of public affairs and diversity, told the Rivard Report in a Thursday phone interview. “It’s not just about the money we’ve raised, but also about the sweat equity we put into the service projects.”

The Tournament of Champions brought together some 1,600 donors and volunteers between June 7-9 for a series of golf events and service projects.

“Joining together with our amazing vendors, suppliers, and partners [employees] helps amplify the positive impact we are making on the lives of Texans across the state,” Herron stated in a Thursday press release. “Investing in children and families throughout the communities we serve is what the H-E-B Tournament of Champions is all about and is the heart of who we are as a company.”

Campus improvement projects made up the bulk of the work put in by the volunteers at SAMMinistries and the Children’s Shelter. The SAMMinistries Transitional Living Center received a new playground as well as landscaping, painting, and common area improvements. Volunteers painted and landscaped The Children’s Shelter campus and worked on common and outdoor spaces.

At the San Antonio Food Bank, volunteers distributed food to 700 of the organization’s clients while others worked in the garden, assembled emergency care packages, or put together produce bags for the food bank’s distribution program.

Charitable work projects are a staple of the annual tournament, including aiding in the development of new homes. But this year’s project, which partnered with Operation FINALLY HOME, added a new layer to the grocery giant’s commitment to giving back to the community.

One of three homes H-E-B’s Tournament of Champions is donating to injured veterans. Credit: Courtesy / H-E-B Tournament of Champions

“This is the first year that three homes will be finished and available to be moved into immediately over the weekend,” Herron said.

The families will be able to move into the fully furnished homes that were custom-designed for the needs of the recipients free of any financial obligation.

“These are homes are designed for wounded military service veterans,” Herron said. “These are not your typical homes in terms of some of the features they have. We want the homes to be operable by their owners with independency and self-sufficiency.”

The homes as well as complimentary food and home supplies will be presented to three injured veterans and their families in a special welcoming ceremony on Friday, June 9 at 2 p.m. Hundreds of guests are expected to attend the ceremony, which is open to the community, at Rockwall Ranch.

By the end of this year’s tournament, H-E-B will have raised more than $100 million through one of the largest charitable events in the nation.

Jeffrey Sullivan

Jeffrey Sullivan is a Rivard Report reporter. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Political Science.