Medical Center Open Raises $500,000 to Benefit Mental Health Program in Gainesville

Published: Friday, October 7, 2022

The Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Foundation’s Medical Center Open is helping change lives and impact mental health in Gainesville in a big way. The Medical Center Open was held on Thursday, October 6, at Chicopee Woods Golf Course with proceeds from this year’s event – the 30th anniversary of the golf tournament – benefiting the Gainesville Police Department’s Mental Health Co-Responder program.

Originally started with a lead gift from the North Georgia Community Foundation, the Co-Responder program plays a vital role in the Gainesville community, providing support and mental health resources to individuals and their families who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. In these situations, instead of only a police officer responding to a call, a mental health clinician will also respond. This clinician is specially trained to handle situations like this and has already proven to be an asset to the department.

“You are saving lives,” said Jay Parrish, chief of police with Gainesville Police Department. “Every dollar given toward this golf tournament and this program is doing more than supporting a program. It is saving someone’s life.”

Since 1991, when the inaugural Medical Center Open was held, the event has allowed the NGHS Foundation and area businesses to partner together to support the community initiatives, raising more than $5 million. Proceeds from past events have benefited a variety of projects, including partnerships with Good News Clinics, Gateway Domestic Violence Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier, Georgia Mountain Food Bank and the Hub at Gainesville High School, to name a few.

It’s a cause businesses and individuals within the community believe is worth investing in, year after year. This year’s event included more 200 participants and 135 sponsors, including premier sponsor Bank of America and long-time sponsor McGarity’s Business Products.

“McGarity’s has supported the Medical Center Open for the past 20 years,” said Todd Pennington president of McGarity’s Business Products. “It’s something that, even after we bought the company in 2019, we continued because we see what the tournament does for the community, supporting different projects and organizations each year. We are proud to support the tournament and NGHS because of its emphasis on the community.”

To date, the Medical Center Open has raised more than $500,000, for the Co-Responder program.

“What a beautiful day and what a deserving cause,” said Michele Pucci, co-chair of this year’s Medical Center Open. “We are grateful to our sponsors and teams who participated in the event. It is a pleasure to have served on the committee for so long and to have the opportunity to help make this tournament, after several years of cancellations, a reality.”

To make a donation or learn more about the NGHS Foundation, its events and other ways to give, visit

About Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation

Founded in 1986, the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to health system improvements, complementary programs and partner organizations throughout the region. In an effort to further the mission of improving the health of the community in all that we do, donations to the Foundation help support innovation and enhancements at all four of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s community hospitals, as well as many health initiatives of the system. It is truly through the generosity of friends and neighbors that many critical, life-saving projects, improvements and patient care services are available today. For more information, visit