First Tee to launch Leadership Summit for 40 teens in 2021 ST. AUGUSTINE and ATLANTA (Sept. 23, 2020) – 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 provide game-changing opportunities for the young people involved, and we are grateful for the support of our chapters in PGA TOUR 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).
About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”) First Tee (www.firsttee.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth development organization under the umbrella of PGA TOUR, Inc. Our mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has expanded to reach to more than 3.6 million young people annually on golf courses, in schools and at youth centers. Its headquarters are in St. Augustine, Florida, USA, with programs in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair.
About PGA TOUR Superstore PGA TOUR Superstore is operated by Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, Inc., a subsidiary of AMB Sports + Entertainment and is headquartered in metro-Atlanta. As the PGA TOUR’s exclusive off-course/off-airport retail partner in North America, PGA TOUR Superstore provides customers with access to the same technology and expertise as card-carrying PGA TOUR pros. All stores are staffed with teaching professionals and have multiple state-of-the-art swing simulators, practice hitting bays, and large putting greens. There is also an in-house club making and repair facility. Along with equipment and accessories, PGA TOUR Superstore has an unmatched selection of men’s, women’s and juniors’ apparel and footwear for golf and tennis. For more information, visit www.pgatoursuperstore.com.
About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes innovative solutions to transform the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today. The Foundation invests in education, parks and greenspace, youth development, community redevelopment, and the arts, and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, PGA TOUR Superstore, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, West Creek Ranch and Paradise Valley Ranch. Mr. Blank, chairman of the Foundation, co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through the foundation and his family’s personal giving, Mr. Blank has granted more than $600 million to various charitable organizations. For more information about The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, visit www.blankfoundation.org or follow on Facebook @BlankFamilyFoundation or Instagram and Twitter @BlankFoundation.