Multi-year gift by the Aune Family to Golf Canada Foundation will positively impact youth across Saskatchewan and Manitoba with affordable and inclusive access to golf
March 14, 2023 – Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are proud to announce that the Aune family has pledged a major gift of $1M USD over four years to First Tee – Canada that will enable the launch and advancement of First Tee – Prairies.
The generosity of the Aune family will fund and facilitate the rollout of First Tee – Prairies in communities across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, introducing golf and the positive experiences associated with golf to youth across the provinces. First Tee – Canada provides accessible and inclusive youth development programming at golf courses, schools, and community centres creating community participation pathways, especially for youth who may have otherwise not had the opportunity.
The Aune family grew up around golf—cousins Jonathan Aune, Stacey Greatrex, and Christine Greatrex, who has been a golf professional for nearly 40 years, are the leading forces behind the chapter-founding gift.
“This opportunity combines two of our family’s passions – golf, and philanthropy,” said Aune. “First Tee introduces golf to a wider audience, to children who wouldn’t normally run into the sport and through golf, children will continue to develop skills like honesty, perseverance, and self-confidence. To be able to give back and have a positive impact on a community level through a sport we love is amazing. First Tee – Prairies is going to be impactful for the youth involved and the game overall. We are excited to be a part of it.”
For a family of avid golfers with family ties to the Prairies, and the dedication to carry out Jonathan’s father Brian’s legacy of philanthropy, the launch of First Tee – Prairies will be special in more ways than one.
“This chapter-founding gift is the start of another year of tremendous growth for First Tee – Canada,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer, Kevin Blue. “We have started to build out the Prairies chapter staff and a supporting network who will deploy programming in communities across the region. Together with the provincial golf associations, we are committed to empowering children, and ensuring the sport reflects Canada’s diverse population. What we do would not be possible without the generosity of donors like the Aune family.”
With the launch of First Tee – Prairies, Canada now has five regional chapters in place. In 2022, First Tee – British Columbia, First Tee – Ontario, First Tee – Premier départ Québec and First Tee – Atlantic delivered programming to nearly 23,000 youth with fifty-five percent of participants coming from equity-deserving communities.
Through its deep network of donors, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the advancement of First Tee – Canada chapters across the country through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts.
“The pace of growth behind First Tee – Canada since launching has been exceptional – much of which we can credit to the philanthropic commitments alongside the Aune family,” said Golf Canada Foundation CEO, Martin Barnard. “These generous supporters allow First Tee – Canada to expand its reach across the country and have a direct impact on the program’s ability to provide environments where youth feel excited to grow, safe to fail, and well-equipped for whatever comes their way, on and off the course.”
The generosity of the Aune family adds to a growing number of chapter-founding advancement gifts that have been secured since First Tee – Canada’s inception in 2020. A First Tee – Alberta chapter is also expected to be announced in 2023.
To learn more about First Tee – Prairies, or to donate, visit www.firstteeprairies.ca.
About First Tee – Canada
First Tee – Canada is a youth development program operating under Golf Canada since 2020. In partnership with First Tee, Golf Canada launched First Tee – Canada to provide inclusive and accessible life-enhancing opportunities to children through golf. First Tee – Canada continues to expand programming and positively impact youth at golf courses, schools, and community centres across the country. For more information and to learn how to support First Tee – Canada, visit firstteecanada.ca.
About Golf Canada Foundation
The Golf Canada Foundation is the leading source for golf philanthropy in Canada, granting more than $4.5 million to golf programs in 2022, and $19 million invested in the sport since the Foundation’s inception in 1979. The Foundation’s mission is to support and promote programs that increase participation in golf by engaging players of all ages and abilities across Canada. For more information about what the Golf Canada Foundation is doing to support golf in your community, visit us online at www.golfcanadafoundation.com
About Golf Canada
Golf Canada is the National Sports Federation and governing body for golf in Canada, representing more than 319,000 golfers and 1,435 member clubs across the country. A proud member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Golf Canada’s vision is to be a world leader in golf and achieving the mission to increase Canadian participation and excellence For more information about what Golf Canada is doing to support golf in your community, visit www.golfcanada.ca.
Madelyn Boelhouwer | Senior Coordinator, Marketing and Communications First Tee – Canada | Golf Canada | [email protected]