DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 21, 2023 – Officials with the LPGA and the Velocity Global Impact Award Committee today announced the three finalists for the Velocity Global Impact Award, celebrating players who have helped to grow the sport of golf and inspire the next generation of athletes through their actions. Features on the three finalists, In Gee Chun, Lizette Salas and Mariah Stackhouse, have been posted on LPGA.com. Fans will be able to vote from February 21-March 6, with the winner announced on International Women’s Day on March 8. The winner of the award and her charity of choice will each receive $100,000 compliments of Velocity Global, while the other two finalists will each receive $25,000.
“We're proud to partner with the LPGA to honor these finalists for their significant contributions in advancing the sport and also for the impact they’ve made within their communities both on and off the course,” said Sarah Fern, Chief People Officer at Velocity Global. “By honoring their stories and experiences, we’re hoping to inspire the future generation of athletes to have a positive impact on the world.”
Voting will take place at www.lpga.com/velocityglobal which is live as of Noon ET today and will be finalized at Noon ET on Monday, March 6, with the winner being announced on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Chun is the proud founder of and generous donor to the In Gee Chun LCC Educational Foundation, which provides scholarships for Lancaster Country Club employees, their dependents, and caddies to further their educational goals. Her inspiration for the foundation came during the week of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While walking home from dinner one evening, Chun saw many fireflies lighting up the sky, which she said inspired her to be a light to others. Chun would go on to win the U.S. Women’s Open, her first of three major titles, and launch the In Gee Chun LLC Educational Foundation shortly thereafter.
The mission of the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Educational Foundation is to make a lasting impact in the Lancaster community by providing scholarships for students seeking to achieve their educational and vocational goals. After growing up in a relatively poor family, Chun values her education and wants to make a difference to help those who may not otherwise have access to getting a college degree. The program has helped 10 current recipients with scholarships and access to education.
Salas is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and learned the game of golf when her father, a handyman at a local golf course, traded labor for golf lessons. She was the first in her family to earn a college degree after receiving a golf scholarship to the University of Southern California, where she graduated with a degree in Sociology and was an All-American college golfer. Then came the thousand-mile road trips in her dad’s pick-up and overnights in rest areas crisscrossing the country to compete in Epson Tour events.
In the final stage of the 2011 LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Salas birdied the final hole to get into a three-hole, nine-woman playoff for the final Tour spot. She then birdied all three extra holes. Salas earned her LPGA Tour card and shortly after started giving back to her family and her community. Since its launch in 2012, the San Gabriel Junior Golf Program has seen young kids start, go to college, and come back to help younger kids. They started with approximately 40 kids and charged $1 for two hours of instruction. The goal was to grow the golf community in Salas’ Los Angeles-area hometown.
More than a decade later, with one LPGA Tour victory and five Solheim Cups representing the United States, Salas is still very involved with her community project and has expanded her support to nationwide initiatives for children such as LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, which operates in more than 500 communities and reaches close to 100,000 girls through the game of golf every year.
With a T21 finish at the 2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Stackhouse became just the seventh African American woman to earn an LPGA Tour card. Being one of only a few women of color on the golf course was nothing new to Stackhouse, as she noticed this dynamic throughout her junior and college career. It has fueled her passion to support getting more young Black women connected to the game.
Stackhouse earned a four-year golf scholarship to Stanford University, where she was a four-time All-American and led the Cardinal to the 2015 NCAA title. She strives to inspire young girls to get interested and stay interested in the game so they may have an opportunity to one day earn college golf scholarships as well. Ultimately, Stackhouse would like to see the diversity in the cities where the LPGA Tour plays also be reflected on the golf course.
Stackhouse is a partner of the Renee Powell Clearview Legacy Benefit, a charity golf event that celebrates Clearview Golf Club in Washington, D.C. and raises awareness of Renee Powell’s contribution and impact on women’s golf. Clearview is the only course designed, built, owned and operated by an African American - Renee’s father, Bill. At this event, Stackhouse impacts young golfers through her participation in a youth clinic while also sharing her perspective on diversity in the game and ways to continue to change the face of golf.
As an Official Partner of the LPGA’s Women’s Network, Velocity Global has utilized the LPGA platform to highlight initiatives internally focused around women’s leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion through additional programming.