Sanderson Farms Championship Benefits Children’s of Mississippi Capital Campaign

In over three years, the vision for Children’s of Mississippi’s future expansion has evolved from a mere architectural concept to a hospital tower nearing completion later this year. In that relatively short period of time, the site of the new seven-story pediatric tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital has transformed from a parking lot to a construction zone humming with equipment and, finally, to a state-of-the-art medical facility almost ready to begin its life-saving work for Mississippi’s children.

Children’s of Mississippi, part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, encompasses all of the pediatric services available at UMMC and at clinical sites throughout the state. At the heart of these services is Batson Children’s Hospital, the state’s only hospital devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured children. The Children’s of Mississippi network brings specialized clinical care for children to communities across the state, making it easier for families to get the treatment they need closer to home.

Funds raised from the company’s annual PGA TOUR event, the Sanderson Farms Championship, go toward the $100 million Children’s of Mississippi capital campaign and the construction of a new seven-story, 340,000-square-foot pediatric tower that will be home to 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 12 additional operating rooms, 32 pediatric intensive care rooms, an imaging center designed for children and a specialty clinic. This new $180 million pediatric tower will allow for updated space and additional room, as well as more convenience and comfort for families of sick children.

Inside the addition will be where 88 babies, each in a private neonatal intensive care room, get their start in life. It will be where 12 operating rooms are used to save lives, where the most critically ill children in the state receive care and where MRI machines are fanciful and kid-friendly. Thanks to the expansion, pediatric subspecialists including neurologists, urologists and endocrinologists will all be able to call one outpatient clinic home.

“Our medical team sees patient outcomes that are among the best in the country,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of Pediatrics. “But they do so in a hospital we have outgrown. Imagine if we had a facility that matches the skills of our team.”

Sanderson Farms chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Joe F. Sanderson Jr., who chairs the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi with his wife, Kathy, said the funds raised through the state’s only PGA TOUR event will benefit families today, as well as in the future. Joe and Kathy jumpstarted the campaign with a $10 million personal donation back in 2016 when the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi first began.

“We understand the impact the Sanderson Farms Championship has on the state of Mississippi and the 170,000 miracles that go through those hospital doors each year, and that is the very reason we work towards this donation year-round,” said Sanderson. “We have incredible doctors and nurses at Batson Children’s Hospital that deliver world-class pediatric care and achieve outcomes that rival the best children’s hospitals in the country, and because of this expansion, we will soon have a facility that matches their skills.”


At only four years old, Sophie Creath, one of Joe and Kathy Sanderson’s six grandchildren, was hospitalized at Batson Children’s Hospital for chronic hereditary pancreatitis, a disorder that causes persistent inflammation and interferes with normal functions of the pancreas. Thanks to the excellent doctors and care she received at Batson Children’s Hospital, Sophie now controls her condition with proper nutrition and medication.

Sophie is now a healthy and active college student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Her time spent volunteering at Batson Children’s Hospital during high school inspired her to major in child and family studies.

As compelling as it is, Sophie’s experience at Batson Children’s Hospital wasn’t the deciding factor of Joe Sanderson’s decision to take on the title sponsorship of the state’s only PGA TOUR event back in 2013. Instead, his focus was centered on keeping the state’s only professional sporting event and its charitable focus for Friends of Children’s Hospital intact for generations of Mississippi’s children to come.
“It just makes my heart so happy,” said Sophie. “I’m so proud of my grandparents. They’re both passionate about it, and it’s the coolest thing to watch.”


Sanderson Farms’ president and chief operating officer, Lampkin Butts, and his wife, Susie, are such strong supporters of the Children’s of Mississippi cause themselves that they donated $1 million to the campaign. “The children there [Batson Children’s Hospital] left their fingerprints on our hearts,” said Susie.

“This is our seventh year as title sponsor of the tournament, and we believe the tournament’s gotten better every year,” said Lampkin. “We know what we’ve been able to give to the children’s hospital has grown every year, and we’re optimistic that it will grow again this year. Susie and I both have toured the hospital, and it’s really a touching visit to see the children there and see what that hospital does for those children.”

“The Sanderson Farms Championship is a tremendous event, and we’re so excited at Sanderson Farms to be a part of it,” continued Lampkin. “As a company, we operate in five states and everywhere we operate, we have a responsibility to be good members of that community and to give back to the community, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We do that especially where we operate, and since we’re headquartered in Mississippi and we love Mississippi, to be doing this for Batson Children’s Hospital is just a wonderful thing to be a part of.”


In its first year as a stand-alone event on the PGA TOUR, the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship was a stand-out event in nearly every sense of the definition. From world-class golf played by 156 players on the PGA TOUR to sold-out pro-ams and first-class Mississippi hospitality, this year’s event pulled out all the stops to establish itself as a premier PGA TOUR event.

Now in its 10th year as part of the FedEx Cup, the purse for the 2019 event increased to a record $6.6 million and 500 FedEx Cup points with the champion receiving an invitation to the 2020 Masters tournament. With a purse like that, it’s no surprise the 2019 event drew notable players such as Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Si Woo Kim, Bill Haas, Carlos Ortiz, Joachim Niemann and last year’s champion, Cameron Champ.

Tournament supporters are equally as invested as the company and its leaders in the cause of creating a better future for Mississippi’s children as Carl and Gigi Allen donated another $500,000 to the hospital for the third consecutive year. Through tournament supporters such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi and International Paper, the 2019 tournament featured a Tesori Foundation All-Star Kids Clinic for the second year, a popular Women’s Day Luncheon and an Outpost on the 10th green for complimentary hospitality for active, retired and reserve veterans and first responders.

First-class hospitality wasn’t the only aspect of the Sanderson Farms Championship that hit a hole in one at the 2019 event, there was plenty of world-class golf played during the tournament as well. In an exciting playoff on the 18th hole, Sebastián Muñoz claimed his first PGA TOUR victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Muñoz, a 26-year-old from Colombia, forced a playoff with a 15-foot birdie putt, and then beat Sungjae Im with a par on the first extra hole. For the sixth consecutive year in a row, a first-time PGA TOUR winner earned the coveted trophy in the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship.

“I’d like to thank the Sanderson family, and everyone who made this event possible,” said Muñoz. “I’m so thrilled to be here and to be the champion. I will always have a special connection to Jackson, Mississippi because this is the first event I ever played as a PGA TOUR member back in 2016. Jackson is one of those places I will cherish, and I will always be grateful to this city.”

Sanderson Farms Championship Donates $1.3 Million to Friends of Children’s Hospital

Earlier this year, the Sanderson Farms Championship presented a $1.3 million donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital, the fundraising arm of Batson Children’s Hospital. Founded in 1989, Friends of Children’s Hospital is a nonprofit organization that works to support and promote Mississippi’s only children’s hospital.

“We are so thankful for our partners and their generosity,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are honored and grateful to have, as supporters, people like the Sanderson family who have such a heart for children and families.”

With the 2019 tournament donation, the Children’s of Mississippi capital campaign has raised more than $78 million towards its $100 million goal. The record-breaking donation exceeds the $1.25 million raised in 2018 by the tournament. Since Sanderson Farms became title sponsor of the PGA TOUR event in 2013, the Sanderson Farms Championship has had a total charitable impact of over $9.7 million.

“It’s really rewarding for the tournament to set another record for our annual donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital and Children’s of Mississippi,” said Steve Jent, the tournament’s executive director. “I’m really excited for our staff, volunteers, sponsors, and, more importantly, the patients who we work so hard for.”

In addition to the $1.3 million donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital, the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship donated $260,000 to more than 65 deserving charities across the state. The mission of this event has always been one of charity, which is attributable to why the tournament received the “Best Charity Integration Award” from the PGA TOUR for the second consecutive year.

The 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship will be held Sept. 28 – Oct. 4 at the Country Club of Jackson. For the second consecutive year, the tournament will be an unencumbered event, meaning no other PGA TOUR tournament will be played on those dates. The 2020 tournament has its sights set on welcoming some of the best PGA TOUR players in the world to the magnolia state this Fall.

Portions of this article are adapted from articles published in Under the Rainbow, a publication printed by the University of Mississippi Medical Center on behalf of Batson Children’s Hospital and Children’s of Mississippi.