Tiger Woods returns to Riviera Country Club this week, but he has never been absent from countless others.
“He’s been through a lot over the years, but he’s always been there for the TGR Foundation,” said Kenya Beckman of Providence Health, one of Woods’ corporate charitable partners.
Woods caused quite a stir on Friday when he committed to the Genesis Invitational for his PGA Tour debut of the season. It’s fitting that it takes place at Genesis, an event presented by Woods and benefiting his philanthropic endeavor that offers a wealth of opportunities for those eager to learn, regardless of their financial status.
The TGR Foundation, which has impacted more than 2 million students since its unveiling in 1996, continues to develop business and community leaders for the future.
Its mission is to connect youth’s passion with a purpose, providing them with the educational track to continue on and the encouragement to achieve their goal. This includes supporting people worldwide with digital learning platforms, which have greatly expanded the reach of the TGR Foundation.
“We’re quietly influencing an entire generation for the better,” Woods said.
Classrooms are back in full swing at the TGR Foundation’s 35,000-square-foot main campus in Anaheim, California. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the school has been redesigned and is welcoming back those who are hungry for knowledge, starting with fifth graders.
“It’s an exercise in students’ self-discovery of what they are interested in and equally important what they are not interested in,” said John Lee, vice president, programs and education, TRG Foundation. “Then eventually we bring them together with our amazing corporate partners to realize the possibilities outside of school.”
It’s that tantalizing intersection of sport, business, and compassion where a well-known athlete throws his full weight behind the well-being of those who are often overlooked.
The ball gets rolling with Southern California fifth graders, many of whom dream of being the first in their families to attend college, and taking a field trip to the inviting destination on One Tiger Woods Way.
This introduction opens the door for children to learn what drives them in a safe and diverse environment, knowing that the TGR Foundation can provide the motivational and practical fuel to achieve their dreams.
“We’re all in this together,” Lee said.
Younger students are immersed in the school’s extensive STEM curriculum, opening up educational and potential career paths that many would never have considered. While those affiliated with the TGR Foundation applaud the work of students’ traditional schools, the after-school learning lab is pushing the boundaries of what could be possible through enhanced learning and support.
“Because of the TGR Foundation and the connections we have, we are able to provide that spark to liberate their curiosity and passion,” Lee said.
Those who possess the drive for secondary education and the zeal to serve their communities are referred to the College Enrichment Sessions, with many earning the distinction by being part of the Earl Woods Scholar Program, named for Wood’s late father.
These recipients receive more than tuition support as the TGR Foundation arranges mentoring, internships and career development. Approximately 98 percent of Earl Woods Scholar Program participants are first-generation college students.
These personal encounters with mentors. which experience a new focus this year, give the students a sense of belonging to their chosen business community. They click with those holding the positions they crave and the adults show them the ropes.
“The value they find in being with their mentors cannot be repeated,” Lee said. “Coming in and talking about it or reading about it in a book is one thing. But experiencing it is just extremely valuable.
“It takes time and effort, and to see the dedication of our incredible corporate partners is exceptional in helping students prepare for their careers.”
Providence’s Beckman has seen firsthand what it means for these young adults to be grounded in the healthcare workplace.
“I’m happy every time I’m around her,” she said. “I think we get as much out of it as the students.”
The benefits are really twofold.
College graduates will gain an in-depth look at their preferred profession as providence provides the guidance that could lead to more people from underserved communities entering the medical field.
Beckman highlighted the glaring lack of minority health care, and that’s something the TGR Foundation is clearly addressing.
“The impact these young men and women are making on the world and will continue to make as they age is amazing,” Beckman said. “That’s what’s really exciting and innovative as we move into the future.”
As Woods seeks his record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour win on the Riviera this week, those affected by him will be cheering regardless of his score.
Woods has long proven himself to be one of golf’s greatest players, and he continues to help others strive for greatness through his TGR Foundation.
Matthew Kim, a Los Angeles native, is among those reaping the rewards. Kim, a sophomore at USC majoring in business administration, is paired with his mentor Glenn Osako.
“What I learned from him are all the things you don’t learn in the classroom,” said Kim, 20. “He helped change the way I speak and present myself when I’m with others.” presented to business people. I’ve never been in situations like this before and I’ve been working on my networking skills. That’s something you don’t get in the classroom.”
Something Kim was never interested in was golf, which shows how open the TGR Foundation is to everyone. Kim, however, gets acquainted with the sport and explains why it’s so important, even for those not competing for the $20 million Riviera prize pool this week.
“Not only am I learning the sport,” Kim said, “but also that a lot of business is done on the driving range.”
Tiger Woods’ business end is monumental, with his string of endorsements for some of the world’s largest companies.
Kim, an Earl Woods Scholar who will be at the Genesis Invitational, also counts on his luck.
“I’m very lucky and consider it a blessing to be a part of it,” Kim said. “I’m just trying to take advantage of it to be the best person I can be.”