09/23/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/23/2020 08:10
First Tee, a youth development organization that helps kids and teens build their strength of character through golf, is expanding its relationship with PGA TOUR Superstore, thanks to a $9.5 million grant from PGA TOUR Superstore and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The new grant will help First Tee reach more children across the U.S. and strengthen First Tee's curriculum for teenage participants.
PGA TOUR Superstore and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation have supported First Tee for more than a decade, helping First Tee grow from reaching 260,000 kids in PGA TOUR Superstore markets in 2011 to more than 1.5 million young people in 2019. This new grant will help First Tee focus on the critical teenage years, where in the U.S. one in five public school children drop out before they finish high school.
Beginning in 2021, more than 1,300 First Tee teenagers will have the opportunity to participate in an annual five-week leadership development program at PGA TOUR Superstores. Additionally, 40 teens from across First Tee will be selected annually for a week-long summit at West Creek Ranch in Montana, an inspiring retreat space owned by PGA TOUR Superstore owner, Arthur M. Blank and with an intended purpose of growth, education and coming together to make a difference.
'We are committed to being a positive influence in our communities and truly believe in the purposeful impact sports can have in developing and supporting youth,' said Arthur M. Blank, Chairman, PGA TOUR Superstore and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. 'This is the embodiment of the First Tee's mission and we are proud to support them. For more than a decade, we have built a strong partnership with the First Tee and will continue to work together to empower young people with core values such honesty, integrity and sportsmanship that will help them succeed throughout the course of their life.'
Currently reaching kids through programs at 150 chapters, 10,000 schools and 1,600 youth centers, First Tee is opening the door to more kids and teens across its network, especially inviting those who are in underserved communities, to have access to programs and new opportunities. By leveraging the relationship with PGA TOUR Superstore, the investment will also allow First Tee to provide continued support to chapters located in PGA TOUR Superstore markets nationwide.
'We are grateful for leaders like Arthur Blank and his family of businesses who understand the power of investing in young people and their communities through First Tee,' said Jay Monahan, Commissioner, PGA TOUR and Chairman, Board of Governors, First Tee. 'First Tee's ability to connect with and empower the next generation in intentional and innovative ways is realized through partnerships like this one. Thank you to Mr. Blank and his store executives for investing in our future.'
'The new leadership program and summit will be game-changing opportunities for the young people involved, and we are sincerely grateful for the support of our work and our chapters in Superstore markets,' said Greg McLaughlin, Chief Executive Officer, First Tee.
Mr. Blank, Chairman and owner of the PGA TOUR Superstore, has donated more than $3.6 million to First Tee since 2011. He is also owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, MLS' Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and three ranches in Montana, and co-founder of The Home Depot.
In 2019, the PGA TOUR assumed responsibility of the First Tee and re-organized it as a nonprofit subsidiary PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (First Tee).