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GCSAA’s First Green Selected for Golf Industry’s Grassroots Grants Program

by Sep 07, 2021 | Kelsey Underwood

Grassroots Grants Program supports 501(c)(3) charitable organizations or programs that aim to increase participation of underrepresented populations in the game of golf

First Green LogoLawrence, Kan. (Sept. 7, 2021) In May, the golf industry’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Collaboration introduced a new Grassroots Grants Program designed to increase participation among those who are underrepresented in the sport. The grant program is being managed by WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners, with the help of an inclusive work group focused on Youth & Adult Player Development. Forty-three organizations have been selected to receive a grant in phase one, including First Green, the STEM-education program from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and the GCSAA Foundation.

“There are many incredibly passionate and important community-based programs that are successfully bringing more people from various backgrounds into golf every day, including First Green,” said Michael Cooper, Ph.D., who is co-leading the Youth & Adult Player Development Work Group. “I am pleased we can channel grants to these organizations and will continue to champion ways to expand their work.”

The purpose of the Grassroots Grants Program (GGP) is to support 501(c)(3) charitable organizations or programs dedicated to increasing golf participation among those who are underrepresented in the sport: Black, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities as well as women, LBGTQ+ individuals, Veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

GCSAA Foundation’s First Green program was selected for its ability to reach young students and help them better understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts by turning golf courses into environmental learning labs. Through these learning labs, where teachers collaborate with golf course superintendents on lesson plans, students get hands-on experience and typically have an increased interest in STEM thanks to the First Green experience. In addition, First Green aims to raise awareness for conservation and sustainability and to bring people together for a common cause.

The GGP is a tangible outgrowth of an industry-wide focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In addition to the Youth & Adult Player Development Work Group, efforts are also underway in the areas of education and skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources and marketing. Each work group includes representative voices from all backgrounds.

In June, the marketing work group led the launch of Make Golf Your Thing, a movement designed to grow and diversify the sport by inviting people from all backgrounds and skill levels to engage with the game of golf in their own way – from traditional 9- and 18-hole rounds or simulated play, to enjoying a tournament in-person or on TV.

The program is being financially supported by partners committed to helping us to make the game more welcoming and inclusive for all.

For more information on First Green visit For more information on the golf industry’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Collaboration, visit