But the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which organizes the event with Chevron and the title sponsor, PURE Insurance, presented First Tee with a $500,000 donation. The group also made college scholarship donations to all 70 high school seniors who applied to play in the event.
“In a year with many uncertainties, there have been bright spots,” said Greg McLaughlin, chief executive of First Tee.
Many of the donors to these athletic-focused nonprofit groups received similar support from a sport when they were young.
Rich Thawley, an entrepreneur whose house backs up to the 15th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links, said he had given money to capital projects at his alma mater, San Jose State University, for years, including a golf practice facility. But this year, he has increased his support to Youth on Course because it reminds him of when he was young with limited means to play the game.
“My financial involvement has increased as I’ve seen the good that it’s done, the lives that it’s changed,” Mr. Thawley said. “It fires me up that some kid in Texas, some kid in Nebraska or some kid in New Jersey is getting to play golf. I’ll never meet them. But I love them.”
He had been giving about $100,000 a year to Youth on Course, but has committed to increasing that to more than $1 million a year for the next few years. “It’s a response to Covid — that would be No. 1,” he said in explaining why he was increasing his contributions. “Covid has been wind in our sails for golf. It’s increased my awareness of giving. We found a greater need.”
Jalyn Robinson, 18, who took up golf when she was in sixth grade in Vallejo, Calif., is one of those beneficiaries. She now has a full scholarship to Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where she is on the golf team. No one in her family played but she caught the bug and found support through golf nonprofit groups.