2019 News Releases

Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donates $1 million to the EIFG, the philanthropic organization of GCSAA

by Feb 06, 2019 | Sarah Huerter

Second such gift from the Melrose Foundation will focus on golf course equipment managers


Lawrence, Kan. (February 06,2019) -- The Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation has donated $1 million to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), to support the professional development of golf course equipment managers.

The official announcement of the gift was made during the Opening Session of the 2019 Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego, Calif.

The $1-million gift will create the Melrose Equipment Management Endowment. The endowment will have four focus areas: continuing education, a certificate program, growing membership in GCSAA and the Melrose Equipment Management Experience, that will bring GCSAA-member equipment managers to the GIS for leadership and education sessions.

The Melrose Family Foundation is supported by Ken Melrose, former CEO and chairman of the Toro Co. Melrose's relationship with the golf industry is longstanding as he joined the Toro Co., in 1970. He quickly ascended the ranks of the company, culminating with his appointment as CEO in 1983 and chairman of the board of directors in 1987. He retired as CEO in 2005 and from the chairman position in 2006. That same year he formed Leading by Serving, LLC, a new company whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in business organizations.

"It is with great pleasure to share with you that I have contributed another one million dollars to support GCSAA's growing membership class of equipment managers to support their continuing education and career advancement.," Melrose said during a taped statement broadcast at the 2019 GIS. "I believe that GCSAA is the best organization to deliver the education and training that will not only benefit golf course management professionals, but their facilities and the game. I know you and your wonderful organization will do great things with this."

This is the second such gift to GCSAA and the EIFG from the Melrose Foundation. In 2012, the original $1-million gift (the record largest to the EIFG until now) endowed the Melrose Leadership Academy, which focuses on professional development for golf course superintendents through opportunities to attend the annual GIS. Since it began, 113 superintendents have experienced the Melrose Leadership Academy.

"Ken has been a visionary leader who dedicated his career to advancing the golf course management industry, and with his latest contribution, he is ensuring it will continue to advance for years to come.” GCSAA Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said. “We were deeply appreciative of his first $1-million gift and truly humbled with his latest expression of generosity. He has made a difference in the professional lives of our member superintendents and is now doing the same for our member equipment managers. In the more than nine decades of GCSAA, the association has not had a more benevolent friend than Ken Melrose."

In addition to Melrose's work through Leading by Serving, he is also actively serving on the board of directors for the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, Park Nicollet Health Services, The Melrose Institute for Eating Disorders, and others. He is also a member of the faculty at the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas. Melrose is a native of Orlando, Fla., and earned a double major in mathematics and electrical engineering from Princeton in 1962. He received his master's degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later an MBA from the University of Chicago.