HOW HAD THE CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC AFFECTED THE OUIMET FUND?
This has been a unique challenge in the history of the Ouimet Fund, as it has likely been for every person reading this. There has been no person, no business, no organization which hasn’t been changed by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and it seems clear that life for the remainder of 2020, and likely beyond that, will look different for all of us. Nonetheless, we as an organization are determined to ensure that Ouimet Scholarships in September, and for many Septembers to come, will reach those young men and women who have worked so hard to earn them. Our staff has continued working full time and is as busy as ever, restructuring our events and programs (if you haven’t seen the Virtual Annual Banquet, for example, go to www.ouimet.org!) as we look forward to providing even greater support for our Scholars.
SHOULD I EXPECT TO SEE A OUIMET BAG TAG ON MY BAG IN 2020? WILL OTHER PROGRAMS BE RESCHEDULED?
As a non-profit, we rely on the generosity of those in our community to continue to answer our mission – providing need-based college scholarships to young men and women who have worked in the game of golf. To that end, we cannot describe how appreciative we are of our thousands of Bag Tag donors across the state, as well as to the NEPGA professionals and club management at our supporting Bag Tag Program clubs. Yes – you should expect to see the newly designed 2020 Ouimet Bag Tags on your bag once you return to your club, and please display it proudly!
As for our other crucial programs, events like the Golf Marathon, the Investing in Lifetimes Reception, the Career Fair, and our annual outings are all currently being restructured to ensure the safety of participants and to follow state guidelines. Many of these great annual events, which bring together and expand the Ouimet community, will likely be postponed or transition to a digital platform.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO SUMMER GOLF EMPLOYMENT? IS THE FUND WORKING TO HELP THE YOUNG GOLF EMPLOYEES AT MY CLUB?
As I write this, more than 70% of Ouimet Scholars are out of a job this summer, including many positions at our local courses that are not yet available due to the coronavirus. We have been working with our AMGO (Alliance of Massachusetts Golf Organizations) partners to communicate to the Governor safety protocols that can be in place to establish a healthy and thriving golf industry in Massachusetts. Caddying and forecaddying for example, we believe, can be done safely in the current environment. We have had conversations with clubs interested in how they can plan for caddying in 2020 and have passed along steps to the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board asking for consideration as an approved activity. The opportunity to caddie serves as important summer job employment, forging important relationships with mentors and offers a value to tens of thousands of golfers who take caddies in the state.
WILL THE OUIMET FUND AWARD SCHOLARSHIPS THIS YEAR? IF SO, WHAT SHOULD SCHOLARS EXPECT TO RECEIVE?
Yes, we will certainly be awarding Ouimet Scholarships for the 2020-21 school year. We have not forgotten about these young people who so desperately need our help. Our goal as an organization is to yet again increase the financial need met for our Scholars this school year, which we hope will allow each of them to stay in school and continue their education despite this difficult and unexpected crisis. The goal may be daunting, but it is necessary – and we hope you will continue to support our mission and these deserving young men and women through this trying time. Your support means the world, and I cannot thank you enough!