LPGA*USGA Girls Golf sites receive funding to grow the game and increase opportunities for Black girls
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 6, 2021 – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Foundation announced today the next recipients of the Renee Powell Grant. The grant program honors Renee Powell’s lifelong commitment to golf and will help assist current and prospective LPGA*USGA Girls Golf sites create partnerships and outreach opportunities with youth organizations serving Black girls.
Sites were selected based on their geographic location, current LPGA*USGA Girls Golf membership demographics, and longstanding commitment to engaging Black girls in their program.
The five sites that will receive $5,000 in grant funding are:
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - First Tee - Louisville
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - First Tee - North Florida
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - Fort Worth/Dallas West
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - Atlanta - John A. White Golf Course
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - First Tee - Wilmington
“For a long time, I was sort of a lone ranger out there,” said Renee Powell, the second African American woman to ever play on the LPGA Tour. “To see young girls now that love the game and look like me, that have great ambitions to continue to play and to eventually play on the LPGA Tour, it's wonderful to see. They are so positive, which is good. They have goals, and they're competing. I have never seen so many young girls of color that are playing the game and loving the game, so it makes me feel really good about it.”
Awarded through the LPGA Foundation and the LPGA Renee Powell Fund, grants provide access, instruction, equipment and additional expenses required to be introduced to the game of golf and stay engaged with the sport. Through this effort, the LPGA Foundation continues to further its commitment to creating an engaging, safe, inclusive and diverse environment to empower, inspire and transform the lives of all women and girls through the game of golf.
At the Renee Powell Clearview Legacy Benefit on June 28 at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta, Ga., a sixth Renee Powell Grant was awarded to Black Girls Golf, a global network of like-minded women who want to learn, practice, and play golf. Toby Bolton, Site Director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf - Atlanta - John A. White Golf Course, was also onsite and took part in a check presentation with Renee Powell.
“What a blessing the Renee Powell Grant will be for the young girls of the southwest and northwest side of Atlanta,” said Bolton. “After 14 months of being unable to fundraise and host programming in Fulton County due to strict Covid protocol, the grant will give the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Chapter at John A. White Golf Course a helping hand in recruiting, purchasing junior equipment, and offering reduced or free memberships to instruction – something that would have been limited without the grant’s support.”
LPGA*USGA Girls Golf alumna Mariah Stackhouse, an Atlanta native and one of the legacy partners for the Renee Powell Clearview Legacy Benefit, spoke of the Renee Powell Grants’ impact on growing the game.
"I think one of the best ways that we're going to grow the game of golf and get young girls involved is to create opportunities for camaraderie and friendship while learning this game, and that’s what the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program offered me growing up,” said Mariah Stackhouse, a Girls Golf alumna. "It was a space to be around a lot of other girls who are also enjoying playing the game but building those friendships and making it exciting to continue to show up at the golf course. It’s about introduction to coaching, but most importantly, camaraderie and building that love for the game. That's what kids need in order to be passionate about it.”
Thanks to efforts including the golf industry’s Race Fore Unity and the overwhelming support for the LPGA’s #HoodieForGolf, Renee Powell Grants continue to impact LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programs that serve Black communities. This year’s grants are also made possible with support from John Deere, helping to provide both equitable and inclusive opportunities to women and young females. In addition to grant funding, John Deere will sponsor a behind-the-scenes experience at the 2021 Solheim Cup for the first five Renee Powell Grant recipients from Powell’s home state of Ohio.
“Renee Powell has paved the way for Black women around the world to not only think differently about the game of golf but to dream big,” said Mara Downing, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Brand at John Deere. “Renee’s influential legacy of challenging the status quo inspires other women to embrace new opportunities and diversify the playing field. This grant is just one way to help lives leap forward – a goal we strive to do every day at John Deere.”
Renee Powell Grant funds are directed towards financial aid for Girls Golf members community outreach, partnerships with local youth groups, securing golf course access, transportation to/from the golf course or facility, to increase staffing, and purchase of equipment. Along with the grant funding, the LPGA will provide access to the LPGA’s cultural sensitivity training, assist with connecting the Site Director with a local youth organization serving Black girls, along with branded items and giveaways for the Girls Golf Experience, lesson plans for the program, and at least one LPGA HQ representative to assist with Girls Golf Experience event planning.
Operated in partnership by the LPGA Foundation and the United States Golf Association (USGA), LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is the only national program of its kind that specializes in providing a girl-friendly environment for juniors to play the game of golf. Girls Golf sites provide girls with quality golf instruction led by LPGA and PGA teaching professionals, teaching them valuable life skills along the way. In addition to empowering and inspiring girls, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is on a continued mission to “change the face of golf.”
“[Renee Powell’s] story is truly remarkable,” said incoming LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “She is such a pioneer. She changed golf and continues to change golf through her foundation. She is working day in and day out to provide opportunities. The LPGA wants to do the same thing. We want to introduce the game to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity. And we want to change their lives through the game.”
“It’s critical that golf continues to break down barriers to participation and be a game that’s accessible and welcoming to diverse communities, particularly at the junior level,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “In just its second year, the Renee Powell Grant has already proven to be an impactful force for good in that effort and one the USGA is proud to stand behind.”
To make a contribution towards the Renee Powell Grant, please visit www.girlsgolf.org/give.