Created in 2022, the Tee Up Diversity endowed scholarship is awarded annually to a Ouimet Scholar from a diverse and underrepresented community who works at public and private golf clubs throughout Massachusetts. The award was established by the proceeds of The Reaching Back Foundation’s fundraising efforts during the 2022 U.S. Open, with support from The Country Club.
Ned Corcoran and E. Macey Russell, Esq. at the Tee Up Diversity Gala.
Ned Corcoran and E. Macey Russell, Esq. are both members of The Country Club and involved with The Reaching Back Foundation, who played instrumental roles in establishing the scholarship. Ned was introduced to The Fund by his friend and longtime Ouimet Fund supporter Tom Riordan, and Macey got involved through his work with The Reaching Back Foundation, a volunteer organization created to raise funds that benefit minority and disadvantaged children in the areas of education and technology.
“We saw this as an opportunity to create a scholarship committed to diversity in golf,” Macey Russell said. “We wanted to help diverse students interested in golf get connected to the game, and the 2022 U.S. Open was our opportunity.”
Working with the USGA and members of The Country Club, The Reaching Back Foundation hosted the Tee Up Diversity Gala last summer, and proceeds from the event enabled the creation of The Tee Up Diversity Scholarship.
“The Ouimet Fund is a well-known program focused on scholarships for kids in need, so it was the logical place to deploy money for funding diverse kids who need that leg up to get in and keep going forward,” Ned Corcoran said.
An additional effort designed to introduce under-represented youth to the game is the Lee Elder Internship, which The Country Club established in partnership with the USGA. The one-week immersive experience at the 2022 U.S. Open exposed 25 individuals from across the country to golf’s many career pathways and invited them to the Tee Up Diversity Gala.
Lee Elder Titleist Interns.
“They got to see the business side of golf, and we helped diverse students enthusiastic about golf get connected to the game,” Russell said.
Both Ned and Macey grew up caddying and share an appreciation for the hardworking young men and women who work in golf.
“You can’t forget those long days waiting in the caddie shack for a loop,” Russell said. “It takes drive and determination to do that, and working in golf teaches you a lot.”
Ned and Macey relate to this year’s Tee Up Diversity Scholarship recipient, Maiah Lester, a senior at Loyola University Maryland who completed her golf service caddying at Green Hill Municipal Golf Course in Worcester.
“When I first started caddying and joined the Ouimet community, I didn’t understand the significance of it, but now I see how much I’ve grown,” Maiah Lester said. “Through mentorship, networking, and patience, I’ve benefited so much from caddying, and this scholarship means so much.”
Majoring in Biology and Psychology, Maiah is in college at the same time as her twin siblings, so the financial support from The Fund helps alleviate stress for her family.
“I’m very grateful because my college experience and life would be so different without my scholarship,” Lester said. “The Fund has given me the opportunity to do the things I want at school without monetary restrictions, and that has been the biggest blessing throughout my entire college experience.”
Macey sees Maiah as a great example of how impactful the scholarship is and hopes local companies and businesses interested in promoting diversity will consider supporting the endowment.
“It allows companies to see the direct connection between their philanthropic dollars and introducing kids of color to golf,” Russell said. “I love being able to connect a face with the proceeds, and you understand how much it means to the students you’re helping.”
Like the Tee Up Diversity Scholarship, to date, 183 individuals, families, or organizations have created named endowed scholarships with the Ouimet Fund, and you can read more about the overall program here.