2023 Donors
Impact Report

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Mission Statement

At the Western Golf Association/Evans Scholars Foundation, we change lives — on golf courses, in classrooms, and in communities. Our world-class amateur and professional golf events enable us to provide deserving caddies with transformational college educational experiences that go well beyond full tuition and housing scholarships. In doing so, we prepare young people to become leaders who give back so that others may follow.

Read the Full Report

In 2022, the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation continued on a path of record growth — thanks to supporters who rallied in the final stretch to put The Promise Campaign over the top!
In this report, we celebrate the milestones achieved through this historic effort. When we launched this campaign six years ago, we made a promise to expand our continuum of support for the young people we serve. Today, we have fulfilled that promise — empowered by your generosity. 
From caddie, to college, to career, we are supporting our Scholars every step of the way as we help them succeed on the golf course, in school, and as professionals.  
We had an exceptionally strong year in 2022, and we’re honored to share some highlights with you — including a new university partner, a record number of Scholars, new youth caddie programs, and spectacular championships. 
Thank you for your support. Together, we can continue to give the gift of college education to deserving caddies— while honoring the great game of golf that makes it all possible. 

John Kaczkowski
President and CEO

Joe Desch
Chairman of the Board

The Promise Campaign Highlights

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We successfully raised more than $371 million, far exceeding our original campaign goal of $300 million.
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We have 1,100 Evans Scholars at 22 universities, surpassing our campaign goal of having 1,000 Scholars in school.
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We built or renovated seven Evans Scholarship Houses with campaign support.
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We launched four new WGA Caddie Academies, serving 160 teens and growing the pipeline of applicants for the Evans Scholarship.
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Our endowment is now five times the size of our operating budget — enabling us to plan for a bold and ambitious future.
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The newly-built WGA/ESF headquarters has finally united our staff in one centralized location.
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The Life Skills & Career Services Program offers support and mentoring to Scholars, before, during, and after college.
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Five new partner universities joined our efforts as we expanded the Evans Scholars Program coast to coast.
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Evans Scholars Alumni donated in record numbers through The Promise Campaign, contributing a total of $89.5 million.
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Youth caddie programs on a roll

 The WGA is the recognized authority on youth caddying, partnering with golf clubs nationwide to create more caddying opportunities for young people to gain experience, earn money, and learn valuable life skills. It leads to the Evans Scholarship and a college education, benefiting 11,815 scholars since 1930. Our efforts continued in 2022, building new and diverse programs and empowering futures through the WGA Caddie Academy.

In the Spotlight

As the youngest of five brothers, Luke knew his parents were not in a financial position to put all their children through college without taking on debt, extra jobs, and lots of worry.

This knowledge motivated him to attend a meeting about caddying and the Evans Scholarship at Midlothian Country Club, where he ultimately became one of the top caddies in the program. “That was the day I made my life plan,” he says. 

Luke credits his strong work ethic to his grandparents, who ran various hamburger and sandwich grills in Chicago to support their extended families. “Between cleaning tables at Harmony Hamburgers and caddying, I learned about responsibility and gratitude,” he says.

He brought that work ethic to Notre Dame, where he is now studying mechanical engineering.
This semester, he’s taking six engineering courses while also serving as president of his
Evans Scholars chapter.

Luke reports that the chapter is thriving with new activities, networking events, and community service projects at local schools. In 2023, the chapter is bringing caddying back to the historic South Bend Country Club, which hosted the 1935 Western Open.

“I’m proud of this chapter for taking on so many responsibilities while also maintaining the highest average GPA of all the Evans Scholars chapters,” Luke says.

luke christy

Luke Christy

Evans Scholar
University of Notre Dame

2022 Scorecard

The WGA commissioned a multi-year study on the benefits and challenges to youth caddying. Among the key takeaways: The physical, social, and financial benefits derived from caddying exceed those gained from any other job a young person can perform.

We launched the newest chapter of the WGA Caddie Academy in Minneapolis. After successfully completing three summers, Caddie Academy participants—all promising students—become eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship.

Three individuals were inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame: Professional golfer Jim Dent; former PGA TOUR player and youth caddie Ed Oliver; and Madelyn “Moochie” Turner, who now holds the distinction of being the first female African American inducted.

Michigan State Evans Scholar Jon Paul shared how caddying changed his life at the 11th annual Green Coat Gala, which raised a record $1 million for Evans Scholars. Our thanks to event co-chairs Tim and Stacey Cavanagh, Mike and Sharyl Mackey, Terry and Eileen McCann, and Mick and Karen O’Rourke for their leadership.

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Putting more college scholarships in play

 Evans Scholars form supportive communities at 22 universities nationwide. Despite many of our Scholars coming from circumstances that put top colleges out of reach or make navigating the college experience difficult, they excel to the tune of a cumulative 3.3 GPA and 95 percent graduation rate. Alumni continue to serve as leaders in virtually every professional field.

In the Spotlight

Varada’s attitude about golf sums up her thinking about life. “In the game of golf,” she says, “it’s always the next shot that’s most important.”

Stay positive and plan ahead—these are traits that have served Varada well as a long-time golfer with the First Tee of Baltimore and as a caddie and college student.

Varada learned about the value of education from her parents—immigrants from Guyana who were determined to see their children take part in the American Dream, despite financial barriers. When Varada learned about the Evans Scholarship, she seized her opportunity.

While growing up, she had always wanted to be a teacher but was concerned the profession wouldn’t pay enough for her to live, save, and pay off college debt. “Earning the Evans Scholarship changed everything,” she says. “Now I am able to pursue my true calling and make a difference.”

Today, Varada is a sophomore at the University of Maryland majoring in secondary education and history. This summer she will be honing her teaching and golf skills at the university golf course, where she will be helping kids learn the game. “Swing harder, laugh more,” she says.

Varada Mulkhan

Varada Maulkhan

Evans Scholar
University of Maryland

2022 Scorecard

A record 315 students from across the country were awarded the Evans Scholarship for the 2022-23 school year—selected because of their strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need, and outstanding character.

An inaugural class of Evans Scholars has started at Rutgers University—the Program’s 22nd partner university. The addition of Rutgers is part of a larger plan of growth for the Evans Scholars Program, particularly on the East Coast.

Anh-Dao Do from the University of Kansas and Erik Haneberg of the University of Michigan were honored as the 2022 Evans Scholars of the Year, the most prestigious recognition a student can earn within the Evans Scholars Program.

All chapters were represented at the inaugural Summer Leadership Summit, including 30 Evans Scholars Advisors, 20 Graduate Resident Advisors, and 65 Evans Scholars. Sessions focused on topics including high-performance team building; conflict management; and diversity, equity & inclusion.

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Career services help scholars pivot to the future

Through our Life Skills and Career Services program, we help Scholars transition successfully from college to the workforce. We deploy our network of WGA Directors, Alumni, and other Program volunteers to serve as mentors and ensure our Scholars are getting the support they need to thrive in the professional world.

In the Spotlight

Everything clicked when Jacob took his first accounting class in high school. “Seeing everything line up just right makes me happy,” he laughs.

With the help of the Evans Scholarship, Jacob has lined up a great career and future.

After graduating with an accounting degree from Michigan State University this spring, Jacob will assume an audit position with Plante Moran, the 11th-largest audit, accounting, tax, and wealth management firm in the United States.

In recent years, Plante Moran has stepped up significantly for the Evans Scholars Program, providing
networking and career guidance to Evans Scholars as they prepare to enter the workforce. “What I respected most about this firm was how much it respected the Scholarship,” says Jacob.

Without the Evans Scholarship, Jacob says his college path “would have been much longer with many more curves in the road.” He is thrilled to be graduating debt-free—his only obstacle now is the CPA exam, sometime in his very near future.

In the meantime, Jacob is already gearing up to start giving back to the Program as a supporter and volunteer. “It’s never too early to start helping the next person along the way,” he says.

jacob rose

Jacob Rose

Evans Scholar
Michigan State University

2022 Scorecard

A formal partnership with Plante Moran—one of the nation’s largest public accounting and business advisory firms—allows Scholars to engage with the firm’s leaders through virtual and in-person workshops focused on career training, networking, and mentoring.

We successfully matched 293 Evans Scholars with mentors from our community of WGA Directors, Alumni, and supporters. With a formalized mentoring curriculum, these pairings provide an essential foundation for guiding our Scholars.

Evans Alumni contributed over $14 million in 2022—a sure sign they are connected to the Program that changed their lives. Through their generosity and volunteerism, they continue to demonstrate the collective power and purpose of the Evans Scholarship.

The WGA had an outstanding group of seven interns in 2022, including two Evans Scholars. The internship program is helping expand the pool of promising employees for the organization while offering career exploration opportunities for talented young people.

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WGA championships keep the Evans Scholarship in full swing

WGA championships have been on the leaderboard for more than a century. We continued to make history by conducting the first PGA TOUR event in the state of Delaware at the 2022 BMW Championship. Our signature events unite rising stars and legends while raising money for golf's beloved Evans Scholars Foundation.

In the Spotlight

Michael is one of the game’s top amateur players—winning the Western Amateur in 2021 and adding a USGA championship to his resume before even stepping onto the campus of Stanford University.

With a fourth-place finish at the Travelers Championship last June, Michael became the first amateur this century to finish in the top 10 of a PGA TOUR event with a field as strong as the one he faced.

The guy is on a roll. Just ask Rory McIlroy and other professional stars who trailed the 21-year-old when he was tied for the lead halfway through the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour in January.

In 2022, the Stanford junior signed on to become an official ambassador for the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholars Foundation.

“Finances should never get in the way of your dreams,” says Michael, who acknowledges that his parents sacrificed significantly to support his competitive golf career—a major reason why the Evans Scholars Foundation’s mission resonates so powerfully for him.

With the Evans Scholars logo prominently displayed on his golf bag, Michael welcomes every opportunity to promote the cause. “I’m honored to be giving back,” says the winner by all counts.

michael thorbjornsen

Michael Thorbjornsen

2021 Western Amateur Champion
Official ESF Ambassador

2022 Scorecard

The 2022 BMW Championship—Delaware’s first PGA TOUR event—raised $4.5 million thanks to the support of BMW, Wilmington Country Club, and Delaware Valley golf fans. The BMW Championship has contributed $44.5 million to the Evans Scholars Foundation since 2007.

Evans Scholars took center stage at the 2022 BMW Championship, caddying during the Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am and attending events throughout championship week. The Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am is the largest single-day fundraiser for the Evans Scholars Foundation.

Viktor Hovland recorded a hole-in-one at the 2022 BMW Championship—resulting in BMW’s donation of a sixth BMW Championship Hole-in-One Evans Scholarship. The scholarship, worth $125,000, will be awarded to an Evans Scholar in Hovland’s name.

The Western Amateur hosted by Exmoor Country Club raised $358,000 for the Evans Scholars Foundation—a spectacular show of support for our Scholars. Since 1903, the club has hosted 19 national championships and is one of the clubs that established the WGA in 1899.

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Thank you

for putting deserving caddies on a promising fairway through your friendship and generous support.

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