The Promise Campaign, the Evans Scholars Foundation’s first-ever comprehensive campaign
Glenview, Illinois – Building on 90 years of changing the lives of youth caddies by awarding full tuition and housing college scholarships, Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation leaders are announcing the public launch of a $300 million fundraising campaign.
“The Promise Campaign: Investing in the Evans Scholars of Tomorrow – Today,” is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the Evans Scholars Foundation’s history. It aims to raise critical funding to increase the number of Evans Scholars in school, expand the presence of the Evans Scholars Program from coast to coast and develop new caddie training and career mentorship initiatives. More than $225 million has already been pledged toward the $300 million goal, which leaders expect to reach in 2022.
“Since 1930, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that youth caddies who work hard in the classroom and on the golf course have an opportunity to attend college debt-free,” WGA Chairman Kevin Buggy said. “As the reality of an affordable education slips further from reach for many families, this campaign represents our new promise to guide today’s Evans Scholars – and generations of Evans Scholars to come – from caddie, to college, to career.”
Established in 1930 by the WGA and celebrated amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., the Evans Scholars Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies. There are a record 1,045 Evans Scholars enrolled at 19 leading universities nationwide this year, and more than 11,300 men and women have graduated from college as Evans Scholars.
The Promise Campaign includes all of the Evans Scholars Foundation’s fundraising initiatives from the beginning of the campaign through its projected conclusion in 2022. The Foundation embarked on the quiet phase of the campaign in 2016, after several years of record fundraising that coincided with a dramatic rise in the number of youth caddies applying for the Evans Scholarship.
The WGA’s Board of Governors approved The Promise Campaign unanimously, setting four priorities for the campaign. These priorities, and their final funding goals, are as follows:
- $150 million to maintain the ability to support more than 1,000 Evans Scholars, living in community, each year
- $85 million to build the endowment fund and secure the future of the Evans Scholars Program
- $50 million to expand the Evans Scholars Program by establishing new chapters on the East and West Coasts
- $15 million to further develop the WGA Caddie Academy and invest in a formal Life Skills and Career Development Program for Evans Scholars
The Foundation’s supporters have reacted to the campaign with enthusiasm. Twelve families have stepped up to serve as campaign Co-Chairs, including: Sam and Marsha Allen, Steve and Karis Colnitis, Fritz and Glenda Corrigan, Matt and Ann Desch, Tom and Karen Falk, Mike and Lindy Keiser, Frank and Susan Morley, Mary Petrovich, Frank Polizzi, Tim Schwertfeger and Gail Waller, George and Carol Solich and Fritz and Tracy Souder. Each Co-Chair has also supported the campaign financially, with their combined contributions surpassing $50 million.
Now, the Foundation will spend the next two years engaging Evans Scholars Alumni, WGA Directors and supporters in its vision for the future of the Evans Scholars Program.
“We’re excited to share this new campaign with the members of our community who know, as we do, that caddying helps young men and women develop the promise they carry within themselves,” said John Kaczkowski, President and CEO. “The incredible generosity of our supporters has put us in position to finish this campaign strong and accomplish all of our goals.”
The public launch of The Promise Campaign comes after the WGA announced an ambitious strategic plan that will set the stage for the organization’s growth over the next decade, with specific goals that include increasing the number of Scholars in school and diversifying the mix of youth caddie opportunities. Bill Kingore, Executive Vice President, Programs, Strategy & Development, is leading the long-term planning efforts in addition to overseeing The Promise Campaign.
“This is a critical point in the history of the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation,” Kingore said. “We’ve come so far as an organization, but we know that the need for our work isn’t going away – it’s growing. This landmark campaign will enable us to capitalize on our recent success and kick-start the next 10 years of growth for our Program.”