Golf tournament continues to spark change

Every year, the transition from snow and cold to warm and sunny brings one sport back into play. Golf courses are flooded by weary Minnesotans suffering from cabin fever after a long winter. Now, with summer winding down and the season soon coming to a close again, there’s a chance to hit the links for a cause much bigger than just sinking a birdie.

Be The Change MN is hosting the 3rd annual Be The Change MN Golf Tournament at Theodore Wirth Golf Club in Minneapolis on September 3. Despite the sport, this event isn’t as much about hitting a small white ball into the cup as it is about what golfers are playing for, the chance to make a difference in their community.

“So many local youth organizations have a heavy reliance on donations to support their young people,” said co-founder John Baker. “By playing a sport we love, we hope the money raised during the tournament can make a small difference in those kids’ lives.”

Be The Change MN was co-founded in 2020 by John Baker and Houston White, both prolific leaders from North Minneapolis. The murder of George Floyd and the uprising that followed sparked Baker and White’s desire to create a platform to bring together people from all walks of life to address the community’s need to rebuild.

“Change was happening all around us… in our city, in our neighborhoods. Many recognized that something needs to be done, which can start with a simple conversation. That’s where our golf tournament comes into play. It brings together people who might not otherwise cross paths,” said Baker.

Be The Change MN hopes this simple game can be a crucial step to building strong relationships with members of the Black community. That includes local leaders like Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner, World Champion boxers Jamal James and Caleb Truax, and Minneapolis City Council member Latrisha Vetaw teaming up for a round with three people they’ve likely never met.

“You won’t see the best golf in the world at Theodore Wirth during our tournament, but it’s sure to create some lifelong friendships as players strengthen their new bond at each hole.”

Teams of three are invited to register for $150 (each player). One of more than two dozen community leaders will be assigned to each team, creating a foursome. Besides golf, there will be a fun zone and clinic with a PGA Pro, a chance to participate in fun games on each hole, music, a raffle, and a BBQ reception after golfing wraps up.

While Baker is excited about this year’s tournament, he’s also looking toward the future of Be The Change MN to make their vision a hole-in-one. “We’re hoping to turn this into a weekend-long celebration of diversity. While the golf tournament will continue to be a big part of it, we hope to hold a music festival as well with great music, dancing, food, and more. It will continue to be part celebration, part education, and part collaboration for everyone.”

Past beneficiaries of the funds raised included Al Nolen Foundation, Athletes Committed to Educating Students, Heritage Youth Sports Foundation, Patrick Henry High School, and North High Minneapolis who used the money for added photography around the school.

Be The Change MN plans to donate funds raised this year to five more organizations and there’s still time to apply. Organizers say any individual or organization with an operating budget of less than $500,000 and have a passion for impacting positive change in Twin Cities schools or communities are encouraged to apply before September 1. Come be part of the change!

For more information on the tournament, how to register, or apply for a grant, visit www.bethechangemn.com.

Source: Be the Change MN

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