PGA of America Announces Golf Emergency Relief Fund
In response to the severe challenges impacting golf communities nationwide, the Golf Emergency Relief Fund has been established to provide short-term financial assistance to workers in the golf industry who are the backbone of our sport and face significant financial hardship, including those suffering as a result of COVID-19.
This relief effort was initiated by the PGA of America through a lead pledge of $5 million and a matching fund for gifts by third parties of up to $2.5 million. The PGA contribution included every member of the executive leadership team voluntarily reducing their compensation, and additionally, personal donations from members of the Board of Directors have been pledged. The effort is also being supported in various ways by a number of industry organizations, including the GCSAA, PGA TOUR, LPGA, USGA, NGCOA and AGM.
Managed by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity, the fund will provide grants to certain industry workers, inclusive of golf association members, employees of local/state golf associations, caddies and certain professionals playing on developmental tours to help offset COVID-19 related financial hardships, such as living and medical expenses.
Further details around eligibility are forthcoming, with applications being accepted as early as Thursday, April 16 at 2 p.m. ET at https://relief.golf.
“The golf industry is in an unprecedented crisis, and our friends, colleagues and their families need our help right away,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley, PGA. “People throughout golf are driven by a strong desire to help others every day. We have to ensure that the heart and soul of our game—our people—are able to get back on their feet and continue to serve others down the road. Eventually, golf will return, but we first need to reach out and help people in our industry during this national emergency.”
“The golf industry steers $4 billion to charity each year,” added PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh. “Now, we need to come to the aid of those who make this game we love so special, to help ensure their livelihood. Our leadership team is so passionate about this that each has volunteered to take a substantial reduction from their own compensation to support the PGA’s efforts. With matching, our goal is to raise at least $10 million for this important effort.”
“The Golf Emergency Relief Fund is designed to assist those who need our help right away. These associations and their respective members run the game locally across the country, and the players seeking to make a career at the highest level are at the heart of the dream. These are the people who are the backbone of making sure our game continues to thrive. Supporting them through this difficult time is not only the human thing, but it is also the smart thing to do to ensure our industry rebounds quickly.”
PGA of America Professionals (includes Members, Students and Associates)
LPGA Professionals (includes Members and Students/Apprentices)
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Members
Employed or contracted as a caddie of one of the following caddie companies (qualifying employers and their subsidiaries) Caddienow, Caddiemaster, 4C Caddies, Premier Caddies, ClubUp, CaddieU, Circuit Caddie and Caddy King
Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM) members
Players in developmental tours operated by the PGA TOUR (Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR China Series)
Players in developmental tours operated by the LPGA (Symetra Tour)
Employees of United States Golf Association (USGA) authorized allied golf associations
Employees of PGA of America Sections
National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) Members
The first phase of the fund will distribute two tiers of funding with $500 grants for basic needs and up to $1,500 grants for critical needs, with applications being reviewed, approved and grants disbursed by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. A second phase, currently scheduled to rollout after the completion of Phase 1, will have a longer application process, and distribute funds of up to $3,500, as reviewed and approved by E4E on a rolling first-come, first-served basis.
To apply for assistance from the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and to find further details, visit https://relief.golf.
With the recent unveiling of the PlayStation VR2, Sony brings its virtual reality system to current console generations, proving that VR is here to stay. The Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, and now the PS VR2 are just some of the headsets that people can use to explore historic locations, become characters in games, and even create unique avatars for socializing with friends. But the announcement of new VR systems always poses the same question–will disabled people be able to use them? Even though some VR games include accessibility options and inclusive design practices, like Polyarc Games’ Moss, which features the main character using ASL, VR’s reliance on physical movements can be a deterrent for many players with motor disabilities. Beyond that, the headsets and screen resolution can lead to numerous barriers for low-vision users, so much so that games without appropriate features or accessible design are completely unplayable.
And as accessibility evolves, the presence of VR is indicative of an industry that still has much to learn. Accessibility consultant Erin “geekygimp” Hawley’s physical disability prevents her from enjoying many VR games. With muscular dystrophy, Hawley cannot stand and can only move her right hand a few inches; she cannot move her left. She has an Oculus Quest 2, but she is limited in what she can play.
“VR is really not accessible for me. I have to hold the right controller at a weird angle to both reach the trigger button and aim the pointer at objects on the screen,” Hawley says. “The need to use both controllers and to reach objects that are up high locks me out of most apps and games. Also, when you have to turn your whole body to look at something, that’s almost impossible—I have to drive my wheelchair in a circle while holding on to the VR controllers.”
Hawley acknowledges that developers are trying to make their games inclusive, and because VR is relatively new in terms of overall industry support, the opportunity to create accessible experiences is still being explored. Yet, without proper options or accessible design, Hawley cannot even access games or apps like historic simulations. Something like the Anne Frank House VR tour, an experience that should be accessible to all, is filled with barriers that make the tour impossible to complete.
“I got to a part where I had to mimic opening a door, but there was no way I could do it with the controllers,” she says. “Why couldn’t there be an option to open the door with the press of a button? I understand the need to feel immersed, but I also can’t open a door in the real world, so it just ends up locking me out. Literally.”
Hawley is not alone in her frustration. People like accessibility advocate Daniel “AccessibleDan” Gilbert and content creator Kristie “KristieMJM” Matheson cannot play VR games that require big movements. Like Hawley, Gilbert failed to make it through the Anne Frank House VR tour due to necessary motion controls. “At one point it requires the user to physically interact with the bookcase that leads to the tour, and I couldn’t progress. It really upset me that even educational content was inaccessible,” he says.
For Matheson, a spinal cord injury at birth led to paralysis on the right side of her body, resulting in balance issues and weakness. Because of this, VR games that require extensive range of motion on both sides of the body are incredibly difficult to play. Further, the headset itself can negatively affect her balance. “Devs need to recognize that not everyone can do everything using all parts of their body and maybe need to sit down if playing games with VR,” she says. Despite her and Gilbert’s inability to play certain games, Matheson still believes VR can be accessible, if developers design games with disabled audiences in mind.
“I think VR can be included in the future of accessible gaming, with the right consultation and testing. It just needs to be more open-minded when it comes to what its ideal gamer looks like.”
Click here to read the full article on Wired.
Washington has hired Jason Wright as team president, making him the first Black team president in NFL history and only the fourth former player to ascend to that role.
More than any historic aspect, Wright said that what excites him is the convergence of his two worlds: football and business.
“It’s a huge moment to bring those two worlds together,” he told ESPN. “What other job would they come together at such a unique time for an organization at the point our team is? I’m just happy I landed in this role at that time. There are other reasons it’s historic, but that’s a byproduct of me being the right and qualified candidate at this time. All of that is just icing on the cake.”
But Wright said he understands the significance of his hiring.
“What it tries to signal is that, at least in this organization, the hindrances that tend to be in place around Black talent in other places are breaking down,” he said, “and that should send a signal more broadly to the shift in culture that Dan and Tanya Snyder, Coach Rivera and myself are now trying to make.”
Washington had been without a president since Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season. The team hired coach Ron Rivera and gave him full power, as owner Dan Snyder said he wanted a coach-centric approach.
Wright’s hiring won’t change that, as he won’t be involved in the football side like Allen was during his 10-year reign. Wright, 38, will focus only on the business side, including operations, finance, sales and marketing. Like Rivera, he will report directly to Snyder.
“[Rivera] is the chief executive of everything that happens on the football side, and I run the business side,” Wright said. “It’s super clear.”
Wright said he began talking with Snyder fairly recently about the job and called it a whirlwind.
“You could say there’s a lot going on, you sure you want to take this on? Yeah, absolutely,” Wright said. “Their actions] made me really confident I could come in here and effect change, that I’d have the ability and autonomy to make real change.”
He also embraces the challenge of coming to the NFL while facing the obstacles of a pandemic and at a time when “the Washington Football Team is at a unique moment, and the NFL, for better or worse, is at the center of so much important dialogue around the role of sport, the players finding their voice about the things they care about.”
Wright will be tasked with helping to change the culture in Washington. Another challenge will be to help locate an area to build a new stadium. Washington has been trying to find a spot in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia for several years. The lease on the land at FedEx Field expires after the 2027 season.
Continue on to ESPN to read the complete article.
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program is a comprehensive training program for aspiring minority and female pit crew members. The program focuses on instilling the fundamentals, discipline and confidence required to be a top athlete on a NASCAR pit crew. The program includes weekly hands-on, over-the-wall position training and coaching for tire changers, tire carriers, fuelers and jackmen, as well as weight training, agility and footwork programs.
The program’s objective is to create a pit crew development program designed to identify, coach, train and develop minority athletes who possess the skill, ability and attitude to be successful as a pit crew member into elite levels of the sport.
To offer this opportunity to young men and women all across the nation, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program launched a development and recruitment tour in May of 2016. Diversity in STEAM Magazine got the chance to speak with Dawn Harris, Senior Director, Multicultural Development for NASCAR, more about the Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program and the impact it’s had on the racing industry:
How did the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program get its start?
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program began in 2004 and is an academy-style development program for female and multicultural drivers and crew members who have the potential and determination to succeed at the highest levels of NASCAR.
What kinds of duties/tasks do the athletes assist with in the pit?
The pit crew is a team of five athletes who jack the car, change tires, refuel gas and adjust parts in a matter of seconds to keep or propel the driver closer to the front of the race.
What do those who participate like most about the program?
Most NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program participants like the comradery and exposure they receive as being part of the program. The pit crew program bodes a 100-percent placement rate, so it’s more than likely that they’ll be placed on a team or will be pitting in the ARCA series or NASCAR national series within a couple of years of graduating from the program.
How do you evaluate the success of the program?
The success of the program is evaluated by how many athletes are placed on teams in NASCAR and how many student-athletes have become interested in the program over time.
How do you select your athletes/drivers for the program?
As far as the pit crew program, NASCAR and Rev Racing scout athletes at different colleges and universities where they host preliminary combines. From there, standout athletes invited to the national combine that takes place in May and a selection is made on who advances to the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program, a six-month development program with NASCAR and Rev Racing. The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Combine and Driver Combine are a little different. An application process is involved, and a voting committee decides who is selected for the combine.
How does this program help these drivers progress in their NASCAR careers?
The driver program helps drivers compete in lower series’ where they can showcase their talent and eventually move up to the national series NASCAR teams. It gives them a platform for growth as many teams are constantly looking to fill seats on their rosters and searching for up and coming talent. These series include NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, ARCA Menards Series and US Legends’ Car Series. Drivers also get support with media training and physical fitness training.
Can you share any part of the success of the program?
There are three drivers competing at the highlight level of NASCAR in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series who have come from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, such as the most recent NASCAR winner at Dover International Speedway, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez. That speaks volumes to the success of the program because they started from the bottom and have worked their way to the top.
What impact has the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program had on the racing industry?
Since 2004, the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program has introduced more women and minorities to the sport than ever before. It’s shown that there’s more people to reach in diverse communities that also have a love for racing but may not have seen a viable career option. This program is helping to change the narrative about diversity in racing. Not only does it start on a driver level but reaches every part of the industry from the office to the crew members to the tracks and teams.
How significant was it to have both Daniels and O’Leary participate in the Daytona 500?
Very significant. That was the first time two women graduates from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program went over the wall on the same team at the Daytona 500. It signifies a turning point in the industry as women become more athletic and break down barriers in a traditionally male role. We want NASCAR, on and off the track, to reflect the diverse makeup of our country.
What other participants can you share with us from the Drive for Diversity program being featured in even more key races in the future?
As mentioned before, Kyle Larson is currently competing for a championship in the top series. Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez are also competing at the highest level of the sport. Isabella Robusto is a youth driver who’s been successful on and off the track. She competes in Legends’ cars, but she has dreams of making it to the top level. Participants from the pit crew program include Kenyatta Houston and Johnathan Willard who work for race teams and pit full time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
What other aspects of diversity would you like to share with us about your program and/or general diversity efforts NASCAR has made, is making and will be making?
Recently, NASCAR hosted the 2019 Sports Diversity and Inclusion Symposium in Daytona Beach, Fla. at Daytona International Speedway. The event gathers diversity and inclusion practitioners from top U.S. sports leagues to engage in meaningful dialogue and share best practices around D&I efforts across the industry.
Please visit https://hometracks.nascar.com/drive-for-diversity/ for more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity.
By Jaeson “Doc” Parsons
“There’s no crying in baseball!” These are the words of the gruff, belligerent coach, Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks in the iconic film, A League of Their Own. While this line has become its own “league” in terms of popularity, the movie brought to light a deeper issue – diversity in sports – a topic that still resonates into the new millennium.
One hundred years ago, diversity in sports was unheard of—in fact, it was prohibited. Not until Jackie Robinson was drafted into the Brooklyn Dodgers did baseball finally start down the road toward diversity. He was followed by other minorities including Roberto Clemente, who became the first Latin-American player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. The baseball our grandfathers knew has dramatically changed due to diversity, and now more than 40 percent of players are non-white. However, much of this diversity is still not reflected in the front-office as much as it is on the field.
According to Renee Tirado, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Chief Diversity Officer, “There’s no sugar-coating this. There’s a lot to do.” In an article published on NPR.org, across the entire league only 188 women are in an operations role, which include positions such as scouting and contract negotiations. Since the league was founded, not one woman has been in a general managers’ position and only three have risen to assistant.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The MLB has created two programs which are meant to equalize this disparity among the genders. One such program is the Diversity Pipeline Program which, “seeks to identify, develop and grow the pool of qualified minority and female candidates for on-field and baseball operations positions throughout the industry.”
Baseball isn’t the only major sport looking to focus on diversity, as the National Football League has been looking to diversify their workforce as well. For example, the San Francisco 49ers education consulting venture, EDU Academy, and their “Play Like a Girl” (PLAG) non-profit, have partnered to provide high-impact STEAM and sports programs tailored specifically towards young girls. Their efforts have engaged more than 250,000 K-8 participants in the San Francisco area over the past five years. In addition, the NFL, in partnership with the Black College Football Hall of Fame, hosted a summit earlier this year for assistant coaches both at the college and pro levels. The goal of this summit, according to an article published by Axios, “is to strengthen the development pipeline for coaches of color on the offensive side of the ball, where the NFL currently lacks diversity.”
The NHL is another sport looking into diversity and while hockey is one of the most internationally diverse sports on the planet, its racial diversity is far behind all other North American sports leagues. But the NHL is working to change this by launching its Hockey Is for Everyone program in 1998, which celebrates diversity of race, gender and sexuality in the sport throughout the month of February with league wide events. And its Learn to Play program, launched in 2016, provides free ice time and equipment in an effort to reach lower income and inner-city communities.
Other sports organizations, such as the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), have also been looking to diversity their ranks. Golf and the PGA have long been considered behind the curve in terms of diversity and much of their efforts on diversity were focused primarily on player development programs. However, the PGA saw this wasn’t enough and they have been working towards focusing more on the workforce, which provides two million jobs in an $84 million industry. In addition, the PGA made a landmark investment of $2.5 million over the next five years in diversity efforts, which started with the PGA Works Fellowship and has grown to include scholarships and career events. This program offers entry-level employment for recent college grads, providing them with critical hands-on experience in operations and administration.
Similar to golf, tennis has struggled with diversity but in 2017, at the US Open, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) hosted the sixth annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit which is the annual conference of the Diversity and Inclusion in Sports Consortium. By hosting this summit, the USTA sought to use this as a launching point for their own efforts focusing on the development and growth of tennis across all cultures. During this summit, D.A. Abrams, USTA’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer stated, “We are proud to gather and share best practices on utilizing Diversity and Inclusion to not only grow and expand our sports, but use D&I as a key strategy to ultimately succeed in our business units”. Extending the tradition, the USTA hosted their second Diversity and Inclusion summit during this year’s US Open, with the focus of this being the role of supplier diversity in helping to strengthen community engagement efforts.
Not to be left out of this continuing trend, NASCAR has also become more focused on diversifying its sport through efforts such as the Drive for Diversity program, created by former champion driver, Joe Gibbs, in 2003. Graduates of this program are competing at the highest level today, which include Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr; Daniel Suarez, the first Mexican-American driver; and Aric Almirola, the first Cuban-American driver; in the Cup series. In addition to NASCAR’s efforts to diversify their professional drivers, they are sponsoring programs for increased diversification within their pit crews. One such program began in May of this year, the NASCAR Diversity Pit Crew Combine, held in Concord, NC. This competition placed 12 college athletes from very diverse backgrounds against each other in order to claim their chance to train as a NASCAR pit crew member.
One sports league that’s ahead of the game in terms of diversity is the National Basketball Association (NBA), and many other leagues are looking to follow suit. Focusing on diversity led to the hire of its first female head coach, Lindsey Harding of the 76ers. The NBA’s culture of inclusion is, as one owner says, “light years ahead of all other North American leagues.” This diversity shows both on the court and off as this sport continues to be extremely popular and financially successful.
Change is slow and diversity efforts take time, but ensuring the opportunity is there is what these programs are all about. Almirola put it best during an interview with the Kansas City Star last year: “I feel like as an athlete we all just want one shot, one opportunity, and if you get that shot and that opportunity, then it’s up to you to go and make the most of it.”
With millions of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) going unfilled year after year, Beyond Innovation, an initiative of Beyond Sport, and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, brought together hundreds of the world’s most creative and innovative leaders to collaborate on leveraging the universal power of sport to help inspire young people’s interest in STEM education.
Diversity in STEAM Magazine attended Beyond Innovation, held from November 14–15 at the historic Dodger Stadium, where events and sessions focused on helping achieve targeted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) in line with larger global efforts by 2030.
Kicking off the day was Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Nichol Whiteman, who has been instrumental in leading the Foundation’s efforts to positively impact the local Los Angeles community. She brought their game-changing “Bigger than Baseball” philosophy to the forefront.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation recognizes that STEM is essential to addressing poverty, inequality, and so much more,” Whiteman said. “As the role of sports continues to grow in advancing STEM, we will focus on a global view to create opportunities for all. Beyond Innovation is just the start of our desire to be leaders, collaborators, and strategic investors in direct programs, education, and experiential learning for millions of Los Angeles youth.”
Following her remarks, Beyond Sport Founder and President Nick Keller provided additional context on the importance of working together to achieve the UN SDGs. “STEM can and is playing a crucial role in addressing the world’s timeliest issues, however, the tech revolution is being centered with those in a place of privilege,” he said.
The first panel led by inspiring women leaders dove into STEM’s role in addressing gender equality. According to recent statistics, only one in five countries achieve what is classed as “gender parity,” with women making up 45–55 percent of researchers.
Panelists included Dr. Liz Hicks, founder & principal of LA Unified School District – Girls Academic Leadership Academy; Dr. Katherine Bihr, VP of Programs & Education, TGR Foundation – A Tiger Woods Charity; Jen Regan, chief sustainability officer, We Bring It On; and Leticia Andueza, associate executive director, New Economics for Women.
“The pathway from elementary school to college STEM careers—girls keep falling out of that pathway… When I first went out to recruit for our school, our girls didn’t know what an engineer was. I think what’s so important is to have women, women of color, and companies inviting these young girls in so that they can see what it’s like to be in a place like Google, like SpaceX. What it’s like to be an innovator so that they have that idea in their heads,” Dr. Hicks said.
Dr. Bihr continued, “Many of us that are teachers taught like we were taught. But the world has changed so rapidly…we have a disconnect. We’re trying to help educators teach more authentic ways for kids to learn about content. We need to connect what’s happening in the real world to today’s classroom. We need to show the connections from school to career sooner.”
The day continued with a series of panel discussions, including Using Tech to Address the Climate Crisis (UN SDG 13), Developing Innovative School STEM Curriculum for Quality Education (UN SDG 4), and Improving STEM to Help Generate Sustainable Cities and Communities (UN SDG11). Headlining those conversations were Dr. Bihr, Melanie LeGrande from the MLB, Jesse Lovejoy of 49ers EDU & Museum, Dr. Emily Church of XPRIZE, and Chris Rougier, STEM curriculum developer, Loyola Marymount University—to name a few.
Beyond Innovation was supported by Host Partner, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Supporting Partner, 49ers Foundation; Official Partners SAP and EVERFI; and International Media Sponsor, ESPN.
For more information on the action-packed event and Beyond Sport, visit beyondsport.org, and to read about the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, visit dodgers.com/ladf.
Source: Beyond Sport
Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOUNDATION