August 29, 2016

What TWF’s 20th anniversary celebration means to me

I love big celebrations. No matter the reason, they are an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, reflecting on great things that have happened in our lives. And we have a special one coming up. On Oct. 20 at The New York Public Library, we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Tiger Woods Foundation. It’s going to be quite the party. We have 400 guests attending to help Tiger and our team celebrate 20 years of critically important work helping underserved kids seek a better future.

We’ve blazed many trails in our 20 years. TWF was one of the first organizations to focus our efforts on STEM. We built an amazing 35,000-square-foot learning center in Anaheim, California, for underserved kids to have a safe place to learn and dream of new and exciting possibilities. We grew our impact with six satellite learning centers along the East Coast. And we created the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, named after Tiger’s dad, which works closely with students not only helping them enter college, but, more importantly, graduate ready for a fruitful career and life.

In my two years at TWF, I’ve seen how impactful our work can be. I’ve worked in our classrooms, learning from fifth graders in our forensics class the proper way to treat evidence (they were much better than me — I think I chose the right career). I’ve listened to amazing Earl Woods Scholars like Vina Vo describe her inspiring journey from challenging beginnings to the University of Southern California and today, giving back to the world through her work with the educational nonprofit Digital Promise. And I’ve met so many generous board members and donors who want to support our work financially and also through their own personal involvement.

But as we entered this very significant year, we decided that we needed to do more than just celebrate our amazing history. To truly honor our past, we had to recommit ourselves to an even better future for the kids we serve every day. In fact, that’s what Tiger told us a year ago. He asked us to find ways to dramatically expand our reach so we could impact kids around the world.

With inspiration like that, and Tiger’s asking us to make our anniversary a launching point rather than just a celebration, we have committed to the following:

  1. We will reach 5,000 teachers and provide the training to enable them to bring our unique style of project-based STEM education into their classrooms.  
  2. We will double the number of students in our Earl Woods Scholarship Program, which provides the support needed to help kids not only enter college but graduate. With a graduation rate of 98.7 percent, it provides a successful model for other organizations to emulate.  
  3. We will reach millions of kids through a digital “campus,” teaching STEM and providing college access information to classrooms all around the country.

Our celebration on Oct. 20 will certainly be exciting, but I see that night as just the beginning of an even better future for us and for underserved kids around the world.  

Join us for a Celebration of Unexpected Champions.