PGA REACH Philadelphia Names Inaugural Board of Directors
55-Year PGA Member and PGA Master Professional, Harry Hammond, To Serve as Board Chairman;
New Foundation Provides Golf Programming & Grants Focused on 3 Core Pillars: Youth, Military and Diverse Populations
PGA REACH Philadelphia, the charitable arm of the Philadelphia Section PGA (PPGA), announced its first Board of Directors for the newly formed 501(c)3 non-profit foundation, whose mission is to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf, with a focus on 3 core pillars: youth, military and diverse populations. The inaugural foundation board members, who will each serve a three-year term, include:
- Karen Batchelder
- Chief Operating Officer & Chief Compliance Officer, Context BH Capital Management, LP, Bala Cynwyd, PA
- John Blaskovich
- Vice President /Partner, MedEast Solutions Limited, Inc., Mount Laurel, NJ
- Harry Hammond, PGA
- Partner & Director of Golf, Penn Oaks Golf Club, West Chester, PA
- Gregory D. Marks
- Senior Managing Director – Head of Originations, RAIT Financial Trust, Philadelphia, PA
- Joseph W. “Chip” Marshall, III
- Vice Chairman, Stevens & Lee Law Firm, Philadelphia, PA
- Jeffrey P. McFadden, CCM, CCE, ECM
- General Manager, The Union League of Philadelphia, PA
- Krista Mitzak
- Philanthropist, Wyndmoor, PA
- Charles L. Nelson, MD
- Chief, Joint Replacement Service, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
- Algot “Al” Thorell
- Vice Chairman, Director, Spring Garden Lending LLC, Philadelphia, PA
Serving as Chairman of the newly formed board will be Harry Hammond, a distinguished 55-year PGA Member, PGA Master Professional, past president of the Philadelphia Section PGA and a 2001 inductee into the Section’s Hall of Fame. In addition to his role as Partner and Director of Golf at Penn Oaks Golf Club, as well as part-owner of the Golf Zone Learning Center in Downingtown, PA, Hammond is renowned for his commitment to volunteerism highlighted by positions on both the Philadelphia PGA Junior Golf Committee and the National “Youth Growth of the Game Committee” for the PGA of America. In fact, he is a four-time recipient of the Philadelphia Section PGA’s “Junior Golf Leader” Award, and in 1999 he was recognized by the PGA of America as their “National Award” winner for Junior Golf, among a host of other awards and accolades.
“We are extremely proud to have such a distinct group of golf ambassadors and accomplished business executives come together to establish the first board of directors for PGA REACH Philadelphia,” said Leila Mackie, Foundation Director, PGA REACH Philadelphia. “This collection of leaders, coming from various sectors in golf and business, will enable us to push forward in our mission to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf.”
Today, under the guidance of the PPGA’s more than 880 PGA Professionals and Assistants located in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Trenton – south), Delaware and parts of Northern Maryland, who are at the forefront of golf programming and initiatives that grow the game of golf at more than 300 public and private golf facilities, PGA REACH Philadelphia’s goal is to grow the game by providing financial assistance, instruction, instructional materials, mentoring, equipment and scholarships to individuals and organizations throughout the region.
Among the key programs offered by PGA REACH Philadelphia is PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). The PGA of America’s flagship military program, PGA HOPE provides weekly golf clinics to Veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. As golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many Veterans with disabilities, PGA HOPE is truly making a difference in their lives. PGA REACH Philadelphia is working with facilities and VA hospitals to identify golf courses to host five-week golf programs led by trained PGA Professionals that provide Veterans with golf instruction, course access, and adaptive equipment where needed. Prior to the official debut of PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA HOPE program served over 100 veterans through their 2 chapters in Bensalem, PA and Burlington, NJ. Learning and playing the game of golf is a proven activity that has helped thousands of military Veterans assimilate back into their communities, and under the direction of the new foundation, PGA HOPE is expected to grow substantially in 2019 by adding a chapter in Harrisburg, PA, and continue impacting the lives of Veterans across the region.
Another key foundation program is their flagship youth initiative, PGA Jr. League, golf’s version of Little League baseball, which provides a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls, ages 13 and under, to learn and play the game of golf, alongside their friends, in a popular “team” scramble format. Each team is coached by a PGA or LPGA Professional, and all players wear team uniforms with player numbers on the back. More than 1,800 kids participated throughout the Philadelphia PGA region in 2018, encompassing over 130 teams, playing in 31 Leagues at 86 public, private and First Tee facilities. In 2019, under the direction of the foundation, the goal for PGA Jr. League is to grow this number and provide opportunities for children to play the game without barriers by providing scholarships to fund those in need of financial assistance.
Another featured initiative under the of PGA REACH Philadelphia youth pillar is the Golf in Schools Program. In collaboration with the Golf Association of Philadelphia, a comprehensive curriculum developed by PGA Professionals, is designed to introduce the game to students of all skill levels through their physical education classes in school. PGA REACH Philadelphia provides each school with an allotment of developmentally appropriate equipment that allows golf to be learned and played in non-traditional venues, such as a school gymnasium and limited-space outdoor areas as the program focuses on the basic fundamentals of the game as well as the mental and physical health benefits that the lifelong sport provides. The goal of the foundation is to expand the program by activating dozens of new schools while working closely with PGA Professionals and educators to enhance the program curriculum.
PGA REACH Philadelphia also offers scholarships to individuals from diverse backgrounds providing opportunities to participate on the elite Philadelphia Junior Tour (PJT) for kids ages 18 and under. The scholarships fund recipient’s member dues and tournament fees each season until the participant is no longer eligible. The Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour is proud to help in developing social skills, self-esteem, and inspire youth in our community by providing scholarships to individuals from diverse backgrounds. For more information visit: http://philadelphia.pga.com/pgareachphiladelphia/
Pictured left to right include: Chris Nowak, PGA HOPE Military & Veteran Liaison; Leila Mackie, PGA, Player Development Director, Philadelphia PGA;
Harry Hammond, PGA, President of the PGA REACH Philadelphia; and Geoff Surrette, PGA, Executive Director, Philadelphia PGA.
About PGA REACH Philadelphia
The PGA Reach Philadelphia Foundation is the 501c3 charitable arm of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America (PPGA), which encompasses Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Trenton – south), Delaware and parts of Northern Maryland. The Foundation was created to support the PGA of America’s national PGA REACH program, whose mission is to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf, with a focus on 3 core pillars: Youth, Military and Diversity. Under the guidance of more than 850 PGA Professionals and Assistants from the PPGA, the Foundation hosts a dynamic line-up of dynamic golf programming that provides access for individuals from all backgrounds to experience golf in a welcoming environment.
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