From the visionary, Tiger Woods
In just two years, the Tiger Woods Foundation will celebrate 20 years of providing opportunities to underserved youth nationwide. Between 1996 and today, the foundation has evolved, but there is one man who has seen it all: Tiger.
Another year is in the books. What can we take away from the foundation’s 2014?
Tiger: We are constantly evolving as a foundation, but the main goal of reaching underserved youth nationwide and globally is at the forefront. Our most recent expansions include the addition of New York for our scholarship program and creation of seven learning center satellites nationwide. The learning centers have become facilities for both students and teachers, where we take our STEM education philosophy and share it with the community. All of this has allowed us to spread our mission to educators and supporters, and extend my foundation’s reach. I’m excited to be working with Rick Singer and to hear his recommendations for bringing my vision to life.
We welcomed fantastic new partners in Quicken Loans and Hero, and our Deutsche Bank Championship had a record-breaking year in attendance and sales.
Our staple amateur events, Tiger Woods Invitational and Tiger Jam, had great participation and I can’t thank our supporters enough for joining me at these annual events. For the first time, we hosted the Tiger Woods Charity Playoffs, a regional tournament that benefitted my foundation and local charities. It was a good way to use golf as a vehicle for philanthropy.
Overall, it was another strong year for my foundation, and it’s because of our supporters and an outstanding staff that we are able to expand our mission and goals worldwide.
You often note you want TWF to reach millions of youth. What are some immediate thoughts on making this happen?
Tiger: I think with the right support and research, our staff will make that happen. For now, we are interested to see what we can do digitally to reach students globally. This year will be huge for us in researching new ways to work with worldwide educational leaders to help even more students through my foundation’s programs.
What are some changes we can expect at TWF tournaments this year (Quicken Loans National, Deutsche Bank Championship, Hero World Challenge)?
Tiger: Our tournament staff has some great new experiences in store for D.C., New England and Bahamian fans. We always provide the best hospitality on TOUR, and I think attendees will appreciate some of our new opportunities, like last year’s Hole-in-One Challenge at the Quicken Loans National.
The foundation has held our three events for a few years now, and we are looking forward to recognizing the local community more in 2015. With additional local events and vendors, we will be able to focus on where we play. We want to honor our local heroes in New England and reach out to our new and old fans alike at new venues in D.C. and the Bahamas.
This year we met Earl Woods scholars James, Lenny and Jonathan at media days and events. Talk to us about your experiences with them.
Tiger: These students are amazing. We heard how they constantly fight adversity, but they come out as such impressive individuals. James, Lenny and Jonathan truly demonstrate the success of our programs. All three of these gentlemen make me so proud and are beyond their years. Each of them wants to give back to their communities and families, which aligns with our goals, so it is always great to see them and introduce them to everyone.
At the Hero World Challenge, the Stuart, Fla., Tiger Woods Learning Center students went on a behind the scenes tour and had the opportunity to meet you. What is it like to see the students directly benefitting from your foundation’s work?
Tiger: It was really fun to see the TWLC kids at the Hero World Challenge. I live in the area, and to see the Murray Middle School kids having fun, while learning, was wonderful. It’s really great when our learning center kids and our tournaments interact for the benefit of our scholars.
From the inception of TWF in 1996 to now, what would you say has been the biggest change over time?
Tiger: Throughout the foundation’s lifetime, we have always put developing youth at the forefront. Originally my foundation traveled the country and was focused on junior golf clinics and grants to help youth develop. Now it’s more targeted, helping underserved youth graduate from college and achieve their dreams. We have expanded our programming, with the Tiger Woods Learning Centers and the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, and I know that we will continue to evolve as a foundation as we grow to help more students around the world.