From its inception, the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) wanted a way to give back to their communities. In 1997, the GCBAA members introduced the Sticks for Kids Program to the youth of America to provide a positive and enduring golf experience in the form of instruction on golf rules, etiquette, safety and environmental awareness. A Foundation to carry out this work was established in 2001.
In January 2005, the GCBAA's charitable arm changed its name from the Sticks for Kids Foundation to the GCBAA Foundation to better connect the Foundation to the GCBAA, and the GCBAA to the golf industry. In talking with people, both inside the golf development community and among the golf playing public, the Foundation identified a lack of awareness that Sticks for Kids programs were underwritten by the GCBAA.
Also identified was the need to expand the focus of the Foundation to maximize its exposure and to assure that the GCBAA is widely portrayed in the most positive image through its benevolent activities. This can certainly be accomplished without compromising the original mission of the Foundation, which is to promote golf and the member companies of the GCBAA, by providing young people the opportunity to learn golf and the life values the game of golf represent.
A partnership was formed with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in late 2006 to market Sticks for Kids to its 6000 member municipalities. The NRPA has been instrumental in taking Sticks for Kids to higher levels of organization and outreach to our youth.
The Foundation's Scholarship Program was also restructured in 2006 to create relationships with national Universities whose students will be the future leaders of the golf industry. The Program awarded its first recipients with $1,000 scholarships and complimentary two year memberships to the GCBAA.
The Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) Foundation, the charitable arm of GCBAA, is committed to providing youth, from elementary through college, with the tools and opportunities to explore the game of golf and potential careers in the golf industry. The foundation has developed the following goals:
Develop and maintain the Sticks for Kids Program to introduce the game of golf to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to, which, at the same time educates them in the rules of golf, life's values and the environment. SFK has been the cornerstone of the Foundation's work in the past and will continue to be so in the future. The Foundation will aggressively encourage GCBAA members to get involved in a local SFK program. The programs that flourish are those that have "hands-on" involvement from their sponsor members. More youth need to be introduced to the game of golf, both to increase the need for new and better golf courses and to generate positive values and fun experiences for under-privileged kids. Contact any Foundation board member or GCBAA staff member if you can make the time to make a difference.
Fund a scholarship program to encourage University students to pursue careers in a green industry such as the golf industry. Scholarships are awarded to students in their junior or senior year who are participating in golf related programs. GCBAA members or others can match donations in the form of a matching scholarship.
Support benevolent programs that support golf causes that benefit society and the golf industry. The GCBAA Foundation is committed to promoting the accomplishments of Sticks for Kids Programs, scholarship and grant success stories, and other positive community-oriented endeavors of the GCBAA and our membership. This can be achieved by using the Foundation's resources and status to develop case histories, position papers, and press releases. The Foundation will be reaching out to other like-minded organizations to promote compatible golf causes that benefit the growth of golf. In short, the GCBAA Foundation will clearly and loudly articulate the many benefits provided by the game of golf, and the features of the GCBAA membership to individuals, communities, and the environment.