Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Big Picture: Proceeds from this year’s  TOUR Championship will benefit five Atlanta-based nonprofits:  East Lake Foundation, Focused Community Strategies, Grove Park Foundation, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta and First Tee of Metro Atlanta.  All three communities (East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation, Focus Community Strategies) within the Purpose Built Communities (see below) network are working with local leaders to improve neighborhoods so that they produce happy, healthy, economically mobile young people.

Over the last decade, more than $38 million in proceeds from the TOUR Championship has been donated to the Atlanta community, including last year’s contribution of more than $3.56 million to the East Lake Foundation, Grove Park Foundation, Purpose Built Schools Atlanta and The First Tee® of Metro Atlanta.

East Lake Foundation

Everyone deserves a chance to succeed, which is why the East Lake Foundation provides tools for Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build brighter futures through equitable opportunities and access to high-quality cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing and community wellness.

Founded in 1995, the East Lake Foundation was formed to revitalize a suffering inner city neighborhood into a vibrant community where all residents can thrive. The East Lake revitalization includes The Villages of East Lake apartment homes; Charles R. Drew Charter School, serving more than 1,900 children Pre-K through grade 12; the East Lake Family YMCA; Sheltering Arms East Lake, the nine-hole public Charlie Yates Golf Course and East Lake Golf Club.

While the buildings of East Lake are beautiful, it’s what’s happening inside them that is truly impressive. By creating and funding employment, educational and wellness programs, the Foundation helps families in East Lake break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Violent crime in East Lake has declined by 99 percent since 1995, while school test scores and property values have surged.  Nearly 100% of the students in Drew Charter School’s first four senior classes graduated and were accepted to college. East Lake has become a community where every child – and every family – has a chance to succeed.

Thanks to generous, visionary donors, the East Lake Foundation continues to deliver the tools families need. Supporters create hope today and build success for future generations. 

The success of the East Lake initiative has served as a blueprint for a national model of holistic community redevelopment through Purpose Built Communities (see below), established in 2009. Today, there are 27 additional Purpose Built Communities (PBC) across the country, including two additional communities in Atlanta (the Grove Park Foundation and Focused Communities Strategies). PBC works with local leaders to improve neighborhoods so that they produce happy, healthy, economically mobile young people.

The East Lake Foundation established the East Lake COVID Relief Fund to provide assistance to Village of East Lake residents who have disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic both economically and from a health perspective.  The Foundation is working closely with partner organizations to help families address challenges with rent, utilities, groceries, child care, bridging the digital divide and providing PPE.  The Foundation is 25% away from its fundraising goal of $1 million as families continue to experience challenges related to the pandemic.

To view a two-minute overview of the East Lake Foundation’s work, visit http://bit.ly/ELF2min.

STORY IDEAS:

  • Interview a family form the Villages of East Lake who benefitted from the East Lake COVID Relief and Recovery efforts
  • Interview Danny Shoy, president and CEO of the East Lake Foundation, to talk about the Foundation’s recommitment to racial equity across all of its programs and operations
  • Interview Lillian Giornelli to reflect on the Foundation’s 25+ years of impact as her father, Tom Cousins (founder of East Lake Foundation), prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday

Purpose Built Communities

The revitalization started by the East Lake Foundation in 1995 created a national model for transforming struggling neighborhoods. In 2009, Warren Buffett and Julian Robertson joined Tom Cousins in founding Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit that helps local leaders implement a holistic model of neighborhood transformation based on the success of East Lake to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

The Purpose Built Communities Model relies on three pillars: mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness and economic development programs in a defined neighborhood led by a local “community quarterback” organization. Purpose Built Communities, whose staff and board is comprised of professionals with decades of experience provides its services free of charge and now supports initiatives similar to East Lake in 26 additional communities across the country.

More information on Purpose Built Communities can be found at www.purposebuiltcommunities.org

Expanded Philanthropic Impact of TOUR Championship

In addition to the East Lake Foundation, this year’s tournament will support two new neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations in Atlanta, the Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta. Grove Park Foundation is part of the Purpose Built Communities national network, which was launched in 2009 and is replicating the success of the East Lake Foundation in 19 neighborhoods beyond East Lake across the country. Purpose Built Schools Atlanta was established to replicate the innovative educational model established at Drew Charter School at four schools in the Atlanta Public School’s Carver Cluster.

  • 10% of net proceeds this year will go to Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta with the remaining 90% to sustain the East Lake Foundation’s continued work. Over time, an increased percentage of the proceeds will benefit Grove Park Foundation and Purpose Built Schools Atlanta.
  • Grove Park Foundation will bring best practices and lessons learned from East Lake to the Grove Park neighborhood on Atlanta’s west side.
  • Purpose Built Schools Atlanta will bring best practices and lessons learned from Drew Charter School to Atlanta Public School’s Carver Cluster, serving two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school across Historic South Atlanta and adjacent neighborhoods.

Expanding to support additional organizations allows the TOUR Championship to connect more communities and organizations engaged in holistic community revitalization to each other and to one of the greatest annual sporting events in Atlanta.

Charles R. Drew Charter School in East Lake

Drew Charter School is the core of the “cradle-to-college education pipeline” in East Lake.  Drew Charter School educates, nurture and empowers all students to achieve their full potential as part of an exemplary, innovative and equity-center community and is an integral part of the neighborhood revitalization strategy, led by the East Lake Foundation.  

Since opening its doors to students in August 2000, Drew Charter School has created a community of teachers, staff, students, families, and volunteers focused on high achievement and character development for all students.  Drew’s teaching approach is based on the belief that every child has gifts and talents that must be discovered and nurtured.  All students are consistently encouraged to strive to do their best as they grow intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally.

In 2010, Drew launched an innovative academic model known as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics); this forward-thinking curriculum coupled with Project-Based Learning, with its strong focus on literacy, creativity and innovation, prepares Drew students to compete with top students locally, regionally and nationally.  

Drew has a proven track record of academic success among students.  Nearly 100% of the students in Drew Charter School’s first four senior classes graduated and were accepted to college. When the school opened in 2000, Drew ranked last in the Atlanta Public Schools. Now, Drew students continue to perform at the highest levels across all subjects and grades.  It continues to be recognized by the Georgia Department of Education and Atlanta Public Schools for its innovative and successful academic model and has been recognized several times as a Reward School for Highest Achievement, among the top 5 percent of the State’s Title I schools.  Drew Charter was recognized as the 2020 Georgia Charter School of the Year.

In May of 2019, Drew Charter School’s Varsity Boys Golf Team made history by winning the Class A Public State Championship. They were the first Atlanta Public School’s team to win a State Championship in Golf and the first all African-American team and coaches to win a State Championship in Golf in the State of Georgia.

STORY IDEAS:

  • Drew Charter School students have thrived despite COVID-related obstacles (college acceptances, graduation rate etc.); talk to a few recent graduates on how they navigated a difficult 2020
  • Class of 2021 college graduates are the first graduating class from Drew – ask them to reflect on their Drew/East Lake/College experiences
  • Interview a Drew Charter School students who will act as student correspondents during this year’s TOUR Championship
  • Interview Marcus Leonard – Drew Charter School and First Tee of Metro Atlanta member – and winner of the 2021 TOUR Championship Hope Shot recognition

Grove Park Foundation

Overview: Using the Purpose Built Communities model, Grove Park Foundation is working with the residents in Atlanta’s west side Grove Park neighborhood in a partnership model to bring about equitable and sustainable transformation that preserves and builds community. The foundation is committed breaking the generational cycle of poverty through efforts that will build an A+ cradle-to-college education pipeline, develop affordable and mixed income housing, and implement community health and wellness programs and facilities. Building on the neighborhood’s strengths and needs, Grove Park Foundation is focused on creating a healthy community in all respects—financial, professional, educational, physical and social. Our work is achieved through partnerships with public, private and non-profit partners, and by attracting investment to support arts, affordable health care and bringing jobs and a “main street” economy back to life along the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway corridor.

Current Initiatives:

Education: Grove Park Foundation is bringing to Grove Park an A+ K-8 neighborhood public school, complimented with a school-based health care clinic and a YMCA early learning center. Leveraging Atlanta Public School funds, the foundation has raised $26M to fund the construction of the new K-8 academy and clinic, and has partnered with APS, KIPP Metro Atlanta and the YMCA to bring a transformative educational campus to Grove Park’s children and families.

Housing: Securing Grove Park’s most vulnerable residents is a critical tenet of the foundation’s work. We connect legacy homeowners with critical repair programs, services, legal support, and emergency home repair funds to help these seniors stay in their homes. The foundation is also building 110 units of mixed-income multifamily housing by partnering with developer Columbia Residential. We coordinate monthly housing forums to connect renters and homeowners with resources and partners.

Economic Development: The foundation provides financial literacy classes and one-on-one credit counseling, connects residents to job training programs, and has a small business development program that includes access to capital for community members. The foundation is also working to revitalize the neighborhood’s main street by bringing back market-driven businesses to the heart of the neighborhood.

Arts: Arts are integral to community wellness and maintaining the healthy social fabric of the neighborhood. The foundation has acquired and protected an historic movie theater on the main street of Grove Park and is working with partners to revitalize the space as a community arts center. Likewise, the foundation has had an ongoing oral history project, recording the oral histories of current and former residents about the life and cultural fabric of Grove Park, how the neighborhood has changed over the year, and their hopes and fears for the future of the community. So far, we have recorded over 50 community members.

First Tee® of Metro Atlanta

On July 1, 2019, the First Tee® of Atlanta and the First Tee® of East Lake combined to become the First Tee® of Metro Atlanta. The consolidated organization significantly broadens its impact throughout Metro Atlanta by increasing program locations and offering expanded golf and life-skills programming opportunities for youth participants.

The mission of the First Tee® of Metro Atlanta is to positively impact the lives of Metro Atlanta’s young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Each year, one member of the First Tee® of Metro Atlanta is selected to hit the HOPE Tee Shot on Thursday prior to the opening round of the TOUR Championship. The tee shot is a symbol and reminder of the hope that continues to build throughout the East Lake community as a result of the East Lake Foundation’s neighborhood revitalization efforts.

NEW: For the first time in 2021, the HOPE Tee Shot will honor two young participants – a boy and a girl – in a special ceremony on the first tee just minutes before the first pairing tees off in the TOUR Championship.

Volunteers

TOUR Championship volunteers help organize, coordinate, and manage the event in various capacities which allows the event to donate back to the community. 

This year, the tournament announced a partnership with Georgia Urology and Boston Scientific as sponsors of the tournament’s Volunteer Headquarters, which serves as the dedicated area where the more than 1,300 volunteers who make the tournament possible can check in and rest, relax, and refresh.

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of our tournament. Simply put, the TOUR Championship would not be possible without the commitment from our volunteers,” said Allison Fillmore, Executive Director of the TOUR Championship. “By stepping up for them, Georgia Urology and Boston Scientific are stepping up for our community.”

To sign up as a volunteer, visit https://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/tour-championship/volunteers.html.

Story Idea:

  • Speak with any of the few volunteers who have been working the TOUR Championship since the event was first staged in 1998. Visit them at their assigned position and ask them to recall their favorite TOUR Championship memories from over the years.