2024 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

With your support, the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation had another milestone year in 2023.  
We reached a record 1,130 Scholars in school and opened two new Evans Scholars chapters. We are now changing lives and futures on 24 campuses nationwide.

We raised record-setting funds for our Evans Scholars through the BMW Championship—and were thrilled that the event was recognized by the PGA TOUR as Tournament of the Year for the fifth time.

All our tournaments, in fact, continue to be winners—setting the standards in the world of competitive golf while showcasing our mission of sending caddies to college.

In 2023, we launched additional youth caddie programs and expanded our Life Skills & Career Services initiative—because from caddie, to college, to career, we have our Scholars covered.

Thanks to the tremendous support of our Par Club members, Evans Scholars Alumni, WGA Directors and Program partners, the fairway to the future has never looked better. Thank you.

John Kaczkowski
President and CEO

Steve Colnitis
Chairman of the Board

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Youth caddie programs carry our mission forward

 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 over 13,500 scholars since 1930. Our efforts continued in 2023, building new and diverse caddie programs and empowering futures through the WGA Caddie Academy.



In the Spotlight

After completing her first loop as a caddie, Antoinette was sopping wet, freezing cold—but nonetheless exhilarated. “I was on the path to the Evans Scholarship, even though the path was muddy and soggy,” she laughs.

Antoinette was raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly to support her and her older brother, who was born with cerebral palsy. “We’re a team, and getting me into college was a 100-percent family effort,” she says.

Antoinette helped out by caddying, through which she acquired many new skills. Besides learning how to rake bunkers and tend to the pin, caddying taught her how to be responsible and professional. The time she spent on the course with her golfers made her more confident.

It was an unforgettable day for her family when Antoinette learned that she had earned the Evans Scholarship. This fall, she will enter the University of Maryland at College Park where she plans to pursue a degree in cybersecurity and run for a leadership position in her chapter.

Antoinette also hopes to continue competing in track and field and 800- and 1600-meter runs are her events. Because getting into college is not the finish line, it is only the start.

Antoinette Davis

Antoinette Davis

Evans Scholar
University of Maryland


WGA Caddie Academy Completes 12th Year

The Caddie Academy expanded to six chapters nationwide with more than 155 participants in 2023. The newest chapter opened this past summer in Ohio. More than 150 Caddie Academy graduates have gone on to earn the Evans Scholarship since the program' launch in 2012.

New Partnerships Advance Youth Caddie Programs

We are partnering with golf courses nationwide to launch new caddie programs—from newly opened Old Barnwell in Aiken, South Carolina, to a renovated Canal Shores in Evanston, ILlinois, where we'll establish a caddie training faiclity. These types of efforts will help student earn money and a shot at the Evans Scholarship.

Recruitment Program is a Game Changer

To strengthen the pool of qualified Evans Scholarship candidates, we invested in the Caddie Scholar Prep program, which is actively identifying and recruiting students with financial need and academic promise to become caddies. In 2023 alone, the program placed more than 450 students at 125 partner clubs nationwide.

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Evans Scholars thrive on campuses nationwide

The Evans Scholars program transforms caddies into college students dedicated to academic excellence, awarding scholarships to 1,130 students across 24 universities. On campus, Evans Scholars thrive, boasting a 98% graduation rate and becoming part of a lifelong network of over 12,000 alumni across virtually every professional field.

In the Spotlight

When Raul was 11 years old, his parents made the decision to flee the deteriorating political and economic conditions in Venezuela for a better life in the United States.

Things were not easy. His parents worked 12-hour shifts at a factory, earning less than minimum wage. His family’s living situation was unstable and difficult. And Raul struggled in middle school.

When he got an F in the seventh grade, Raul knew he had to turn things around. The drive was on. He started focusing more on his schoolwork and improving his English. He graduated as valedictorian of his middle school.

Raul started caddying to earn money for his family when he was 15 years old. He passed caddie training while recovering from a broken arm. He completed 100 loops in two years and earned the Evans Scholarship.

Raul is among the inaugural class of Evans Scholars at the University of Iowa. What has freshman year taught him thus far? “The responsibility that comes from being accountable for your own choices,” he says, “and the freedom.”

Raul is considering pursuing a career in marketing. “I recognize how crucial education is and how it can shape me into the best version of myself,” he says.

Raul Rincon Ortega

Raul Rincon Ortega

Evans Scholar
University of Iowa


Evans Scholars Share Highest Award

Michelle Garcia of the University of Washington and Andrew Hendren of Michigan State University were named Evans Scholars of the Year—the most prestigious recognition a Scholar can receive. Both served as president of their Evans Scholars chapter and achieved above a 3.7 GPA.

Classes at Two New Universities

Two Evans Scholars are now attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., the Program's first HBCU partner. We also sent an inaugural class of 10 Evans Scholars to the University of Iowa this past fall. Both groups are living together in university housing, and plans are underway to establish a Scholarship House in Iowa as early as 2025.

Scholar Support Throughout the Year

New Scholars participate in programming throughout the year, which covers leadership, student support and a successful transition from high school to college. They also take part in a National New Scholar Day, held at each chapter in April. Leaders from all chapters are invited to participate in a Summer Leadership Summit, held in Chicago.

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Career services tee up future success

Through our Life Skills and Career Services program, we give our Scholars a tool kit of applicable skills and experience to make the transition to the workforce seemless. We deploy our network of WGA Directors, Alumni, and other Program volunteers to serve as mentors and ensure our Scholars get the support they need to thrive in the professional world.

In the Spotlight

"Know how to tell your story and know how to tell it well." Brook first heard this piece of advice on the golf course—and now every time she speaks with a Scholar, she echoes these words of wisdom.

Brooke's story begins at The Beverly Country Club, where she caddied her way to the Evans Scholarship. "I learned so many valuable soft skills on the course that can't be taught in a classroom," she says.

Today, she is a private wealth analyst for Goldman Sachs & Co.

Brooke is already giving back to the Program that changed her life. She is a volunteer with the Life Skills & Career Services Program—mentoring Scholars and serving on panels focused on job readiness and career exploration.

She also co-hosted a Scholar Roundtable at Golfman Sachs with Evans Scholar Alum and WGA Director Joe Ferraro, a vice president with the firm. "I'm in touch with every Scholar who applies for a position here," Brook says. "I'm their biggest coach and fan."

In her leisure time, Brooke is taking golf lessons. How is her game coming along? "With everything I know about golf, I should be better," she laughs.


Brooke Gawel

University of Notre Dame, Class of 2021
The Beverly Country Club


BMW Global Executive Shares Career Pointers

During the BMW Championship last August, we hosted BMW Executive Ilka Horstmeier at the Northwestern University Evans Scholarship House, where she participated in a Q&A and met with Scholars. Horstmeier focused her remarks on career exploration, the power of effective leadership and BMW's partnership with the WGA.

WGA Caddie Academy Career Exploration Night

The first Caddie Academy Career Exploration Night welcomed 50 Caddie Academy participants. The program icnluded industry-specific breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Participants were provided with expert insight and personalized guidance offered by Evans Scholars Alumni and Leadership Council members.

The Power of Role Models

We had another year of record pairings in our Mentoring Program, matching 318 Evans Scholars with 281 mentors from among WGA Directors, Evans Scholars Alumni and Program supporters. Throughout the academic year, mentors provide guidance, career advice and networking contacts for our Evans Scholars.

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WGA championships keep the Evans Scholarship in full swing

WGA championships bring out the best in the game. The BMW Championship at Olympia Fields was named "Tournament of the Year" for a fifth time. Our signature events are a proving ground for rising stars and living legends, drawing thousands of supporters to golf's beloved Evans Scholars Foundation.

In the Spotlight

After putting in more than 700 loops, Diego knows the course well at Olmypia Fields Country Club. Really well. Just ask golf superstar Scottie Scheffler, who had Diego on his bag at the Gardner Heidrick Pro-Am before the BMW Championship.

"Working the BMW Championship is the pinnacle of caddying," Diego says. "I still can't believe I got to walk the course with the best of the best." 

Diego started caddying in high school to pursue the Evans Scholarship. Saving for a college education was not possible for his parents—particularly after his father suffered grievous injuries in a car accident when Diego was 16 years old.

Today, Diego is a junior majoring in urban planning. He is hoping to build on his passion for flying by pursuing a career in environmental sustainability within the aviation field. Hence Diego's nickname, "High-Flyer."

What was the best part of the BMW Championship? Besides seeing his parents smiling ear to ear in the gallery, it was an unforgettable encounter with a 7-year-old fan who asked Diego to sign his hat.

"As an Evans Scholar, I was so incredibly proud to see my name next to autographs from all the top players," says Diego. "Best hat ever."

Diego Origel

Diego Origel

University of Illinois Chicago
Olympia Fields Country Club


BMW Championship a Winning Event

The BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois, raised $5.5 million, a record-setting contribution for a BMW Championship in the Chicago area. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has contributed $50 million to the Evans Scholars Foundation.

Newest Hole-in-One Scholar

Diana Llamas was named the newest BMW Hole-in-One Scholar—the result of Viktor Hovland's ace during the 2022 BMW Championship. Diana must be a lucky charm as Hovland came back in 2023 to win the tournament. Diana is studying agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Illinois.

Korn Ferry Tour Event Opens Path to PGA TOUR

The NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank moved to July in 2023—positioning it in the critical closing stretch of the Korn Ferry Tour season. This amped up the action as players fought for a coveted spot on the PGA TOUR. Proceeds topped $200,000 for the Evans Scholars Foundation.

In the Spotlight

Mike was 10 years old when he picked up his first golf club. He and four buddies would bike to a local course and play around. Before long, they were caddying five days a week, earning $1.50 for a nine-hole loop.

Today, Mike is one of the most influential golf course developers in the world. He is the founder of America's premier golf destination, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, among an ever-growing list of top-ranked courses.

It is no surprise that Mike is a strong defender of golf as a walking game. He is also a steadfast advocate of youth caddies and passionate about education.

As founder and honorary chairman of the Match Play Challenge, Mike has helped raise millions for caddie scholarships. He and his wife Lindy also served as co-chairs of The Promise Campaign, the Evans Scholars Foundation's $370 million fundraising effort that ended triumphantly in 2023.

At the 2023 Green Coat Gala, the couple was named the inaugural recipients of The Keiser Leadership Award—a new WGA award established in their honor.

Friends and supporters contributed $7.3 million to recognize the Keisers' long-standing dedication to the Evans Scholars Foundation.

"Just watching the program grow and matrue is my legacy," Mike says.

Mike Keiser

Mike Keiser

WGA Director & Former Caddie

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Let's continue to walk the course together.

As we set our sights on continued organizational growth, we rely on the ongoing support of the golf
community to invest in our mission.

Together, we can bring the life-changing Evans Scholarship to more caddies across the nation and continue to host championships that keep the WGA at the top of the leaderboard.

With more opportunities for our Evans Scholars, youth caddies, partner clubs and communities, we are excited about the future. And we are thrilled for you to be a part of it.