To preface, this is not a story about Tiger Woods. This is a story about the impact the recent series of events regarding Tiger Woods have on Nonprofit Street.
Back in 1996, when Woods’ pro golf career began to take off, he and his father, Earl Woods, founded the Tiger Woods Foundation (TWF). TWF held its first youth golf instructional in March 1997. Since then, TWF has attracted powerful corporate sponsors, including AT&T, Chevron and Bank of America, and some of the world’s top musical artists have performed at the annual Tiger Jam benefit concert. Over the years, Woods’ dominance on the golf course, combined with his marketable persona, have translated into more than $30 million raised in support of grants, scholarships and the Tiger Woods Learning Center.
With the marketability of Woods’ persona taking a hit in the last few months, the question has to be asked–what kind of effect will this have on the programs and youth who benefit from TWF?
A spokesperson for TWF was not available for comment regarding this matter so we did some research on our own.
Regarding fundraising events, TWF has yet to post events for 2010 on its online calendar. TWF did recently announce that this year, the number of scholars to be supported by the Earl Woods Scholarship Program has increased by 11, bringing the program total to 35. And fourth quarter TWF grant awards were announced on January 15, with seven organizations named as winners. TWF is also continuing its normal quarterly grant cycle, with the next deadline set for February 1.
According to the TWF Web site, AT&T will continue to support this year’s national tournament. “We are looking forward to another great event with the 2010 AT&T National and are thrilled the tournament will welcome 120 of the world’s best pros to Aronimink Golf Club in Philadelphia,” said Greg McLaughlin, Tournament Director, AT&T National, in a statement released on December 31.
So, at this point, it’s still a bit unclear how the news on Woods will affect TWF and its beneficiaries. In the short run, it seems that grant activities have been unaffected and that at least one major corporate sponsor will hold fast in its support. However, the coming months should provide for more insight on how a turn of events like this can affect a nonprofit that depends so much on the face of a high-profile spokesperson.
Certainly the Tiger Woods “scandal” is just one of the latest celebrity headlines that has consequences on Nonprofit Street. What are your thoughts on the matter?
Would your organization be reluctant to pursue funds through TWF? Do you have restrictions on whom you accept funding from? Give us your thoughts.
Nonprofit Street will continue to monitor this story and provide updates as more information becomes available.