2022 USGA Award Recipient

First Tee – South Dakota a recipient of USGA award

First Tee – South Dakota receives one of 25 USGA awards

USGA Article

Sioux Falls, SD (October 14th, 2022) – Commemorating a 25- year partnership with a focus on growing the game, the USGA has continued its investment in First Tee by awarding IDEA grants to 25 chapters across America.

The USGA’s IDEA Grant Program delivers direct funding to community-based programs that break down barriers to participation in golf and First Tee’s character building programs, improving pathways to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. In 2022, 25 chapters were awarded up to $25,000 each to provide transportation, hire diverse coaches, train volunteers and build programs in diverse communities, among other activities.

“This year’s IDEA grants are the latest milestone that reflect significant progress made to date in partnership with First Tee,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “The best way to introduce youth to the game is by meeting them where they are in their communities, and we are going to continue to drive resources toward the local level to ensure a more accessible and inclusive game for generations to come.”

“The USGA’s support is a game changer for the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.”

First Tee – South Dakota is using this grant, along with local community support to create a Homework and Hitting program in 2 South Dakota communities, Sioux Falls and Brookings. The programs with be conducted at the Salvation Army, Sioux Falls and the Boys and Girls Club, Brookings, in their youth centers. The first 35 minutes are focused on providing caring coaches and mentors who engage the kids in reading and math exercises. The second 35 minutes will allow the kids an opportunity to enhance their life skills and golf skills. The remaining time will be used to address food insecurities by ensuring that every kid will go home with a full stomach and healthy snacks.

“First Tee – South Dakota has launched some incredible new partnerships that will enable all kids in South Dakota an opportunity to participate in our programs,” said Julie Jansa, Executive Director, First Tee – South Dakota. “With the USGA and our community corporate sponsors, we are confident that First Tee – South Dakota will significantly increase our contributions to the youth of our community by giving them opportunities to learn life-changing skills and values, through the game of golf.   First Tee has delivered a positive impact on youth in South Dakota, and we see a significant opportunity to continue and enhance that impact.”

“I love so much about what First Tee does for the kids in our program” said Jansa. “Our purpose is to help kids build-inner strength, self- confidence, and resilience through the game of golf. Our communities in South Dakota have a need for the inherent life skills and values found in our programs. We will be focused on going to where the kids need us most, in their neighborhoods, introducing new kids to our curriculum.  First Tee has always been about helping kids navigate challenges, and to grow stronger as they move through them. I believe the game of golf is the perfect platform for personal growth. Through our philanthropic efforts, no young person will be turned away, due to an inability to pay.”