Aune Family Makes Chapter-Founding Gift to Launch First Tee – Prairies
Multi-year gift by the Aune Family to Golf Canada Foundation will positively impact youth across Saskatchewan and Manitoba with affordable and inclusive access to golf
March 14, 2023 – Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are proud to announce that the Aune family has pledged a major gift of $1M USD over four years to First Tee – Canada that will enable the launch and advancement of First Tee – Prairies.
The generosity of the Aune family will fund and facilitate the rollout of First Tee – Prairies in communities across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, introducing golf and the positive experiences associated with golf to youth across the provinces. First Tee – Canada provides accessible and inclusive youth development programming at golf courses, schools, and community centres creating community participation pathways, especially for youth who may have otherwise not had the opportunity.
The Aune family grew up around golf—cousins Jonathan Aune, Stacey Greatrex, and Christine Greatrex, who has been a golf professional for nearly 40 years, are the leading forces behind the chapter-founding gift.
For a family of avid golfers with family ties to the Prairies, and the dedication to carry out Jonathan’s father Brian’s legacy of philanthropy, the launch of First Tee – Prairies will be special in more ways than one.
With the launch of First Tee – Prairies, Canada now has five regional chapters in place. In 2022, First Tee – British Columbia, First Tee – Ontario, First Tee – Premier départ Québec and First Tee – Atlantic delivered programming to nearly 23,000 youth with fifty-five percent of participants coming from equity-deserving communities.
Through its deep network of donors, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the advancement of First Tee – Canada chapters across the country through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts.
The generosity of the Aune family adds to a growing number of chapter-founding advancement gifts that have been secured since First Tee – Canada’s inception in 2020. A First Tee – Alberta chapter is also expected to be announced in 2023.
First Tee – Canada is a youth development program operating under Golf Canada since 2020. In partnership with First Tee, Golf Canada launched First Tee – Canada to provide inclusive and accessible life-enhancing opportunities to children through golf. First Tee – Canada continues to expand programming and positively impact youth at golf courses, schools, and community centres across the country. For more information and to learn how to support First Tee – Canada, visit firstteecanada.ca.
About Golf Canada Foundation
The Golf Canada Foundation is the leading source for golf philanthropy in Canada, granting more than $4.5 million to golf programs in 2022, and $19 million invested in the sport since the Foundation’s inception in 1979. The Foundation’s mission is to support and promote programs that increase participation in golf by engaging players of all ages and abilities across Canada. For more information about what the Golf Canada Foundation is doing to support golf in your community, visit us online at www.golfcanadafoundation.com
About Golf Canada
Golf Canada is the National Sports Federation and governing body for golf in Canada, representing more than 319,000 golfers and 1,435 member clubs across the country. A proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Golf Canada’s vision is to be a world leader in golf and achieving the mission to increase Canadian participation and excellence For more information about what Golf Canada is doing to support golf in your community, visit www.golfcanada.ca.
Madelyn Boelhouwer | Senior Coordinator, Marketing and Communications First Tee – Canada | Golf Canada | firstname.lastname@example.org
Golf Canada partners with First Tee to establish First Tee – Canada
OAKVILLE, Ont. – Golf Canada and First Tee announced today a new partnership to launch First Tee – Canada. First Tee’s Board Chairman, PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, shared the news during a global announcement that Presidents Cup will return to Royal Montreal Golf Club in 2024.
Together, the partnership will bring First Tee’s youth development emphasis to strengthen Golf Canada’s junior golf activities – previously conducted under the Future Links brand – that reach kids in schools and at golf facilities. The innovative First Tee curriculum will focus on empowering young people to build their strength of character through the game of golf. Golf Canada will serve as the national headquarters of First Tee – Canada.
“Partnering with First Tee towards the 2021 launch of First Tee – Canada will provide Canadian youth and especially those in underrepresented groups access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada have developed a strong foundation for junior golf programming over the past twenty plus years through Future Links. We are excited going forward to partner with the globally recognized First Tee brand and work collaboratively with the Golf Canada Foundation to strengthen our youth development activities.”
“Golf Canada has made a significant impact on the growth of the sport in Canada through their multi-faceted junior golf initiatives and was a natural fit for us to partner with the launch of First Tee – Canada,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, First Tee. “Together, we will bring the First Tee youth development program nationwide and build on Golf Canada’s impressive grassroots success with programming that reaches kids via nearly 600 golf facilities and 4,100 participating schools.”
The PGA of Canada will play a leading role in the training of coaches who will serve as mentors to the kids and teens in the program. Coaches will help bring the curriculum to life by introducing youth to fun and active experiences that help them build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that can carry to everything they do.
“We are proud that PGA of Canada professionals will play an important role in utilizing golf to teach First Tee core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, judgement and courtesy,” said Kevin Thistle, CEO of PGA of Canada. “We look forward to supporting the development of youth and junior golfers through the coaching and mentorship of PGA of Canada professionals in alignment with the National Coaching Certification Program.”
First Tee – Canada will target to launch multiple chapters in 2021 with a growth strategy to establish First Tee chapters in markets across Canada through 2023. The inaugural First Tee – Canada chapter launching in 2021 will be located in Victoria, British Columbia at the Bear Mountain Golf & Tennis Resort Community which is also home to Golf Canada’s National Training Centre. This was made possible by the support of the Matthews and Kusumoto families. Dan Matthews is a global Trustee and a member of the Board of Governors of the First Tee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Golf Canada Foundation. A First Tee chapter in Quebec will also be launched shortly thereafter, continuing the incredible legacy of past Presidents Cups. With support from the Presidents Cup, First Tee has successfully launched global chapters in Australia (2019) and Korea (2015).
Through its deep network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation will be a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee – Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s Provincial Golf Associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee – Canada as chapters begin to form in markets across Canada. In addition, Golf Canada will continue to work with the NGCOA Canada (National Golf Course Owner’s Association) and other key industry stakeholders towards a more inclusive golf experience for Canadian youth.
Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations.
The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters—Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco and Canada—delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf. A First Tee chapter out of Vancouver is operating independently out of Vancouver, and previously out of Montreal, prior to the launch of First Tee – Canada.