The LPGA today announced the first recipients of the newly established Renee Powell Grant, which is designed to assist LPGA*USGA Girls Golf sites in creating partnerships and outreach opportunities with youth organizations serving Black girls.
Powell followed Althea Gibson as the second Black player to compete in the LPGA. Powell is currently the head professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, the course her father built with a “Golf for Everyone” vision.
“I think this grant program might help to bring young girls, African American girls and other minorities into the game of golf and to show them that there are people who played before them and that it’s a great sport,” Powell said. “We need to really do a little more to change the culture of what golf is all about, in particular growing our Girls Golf programs and being very inclusive.”
Initial grants totaling $25,000 will be awarded to five LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programs in Ohio, Powell’s home state and the site of the LPGA restart amid the coronavirus pandemic, with this week’s Drive On Championship to be followed by next week’s Marathon Classic in the Toledo area.
The Drive On Championship is an extension of the LPGA’s campaign designed to inspire and celebrate women.
“To us, [Drive On] means our personal and our organizational commitment to leave this game even better than we found it, to make golf even more enjoyable and inviting to all people in the future,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “That’s why we hope you’ll join us at the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program that is quite literally changing the face of the game and inviting more girls into this game than ever in the history of golf.”
The follow five sites will receive $5,000 each in grant funding:
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf at The First Tee of Central Ohio
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf at The First Tee of Lake Erie (Inverness & Brandywine)
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of East Canton
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Cleveland
- LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Northwood Golf Academy
“The USGA is honored to support this important effort to increase opportunities for girls from diverse backgrounds to have access to the game as part of our long-standing commitment to LPGA*USGA Girls Golf,” USGA CEO Mike Davis said. “The incredible work that the program does to break down barriers to participation is having a lasting impact on golf. It is fitting that Renee’s legacy as a fierce competitor and, more importantly, a champion for inclusion will live on forever through this grant.”
With the support of the golf industry’s Race Fore Unity efforts, The LPGA Foundation raised $50,000 toward the Renee Powell Grant, which is designed to provide access, instruction, equipment and additional expenses required to be introduced to the game of golf and stay engaged with the sport.
“The ability to raise money for this new grant that LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is coming up with is so important,” said Cheyenne Woods, an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf alumna who is in the field this week. “Just to give all girls access to the sport that I know has given me so many opportunities, so many life lessons, and just increase diversity in the game. This new grant will help get Black girls into golf and truly give them equal opportunity to enjoy it and play consistently and truly build their love for the game like we all have.”