The LeBron James Family Foundation and the NBA star’s marketing company are expected to announce major support this morning that will assure continuation and expansion of Akron’s First Tee golf program for youths.
Joel D. Bailey, a First Tee board member and FirstEnergy Corp. vice president, declined to say how much money will be involved but described it as “some significant money for our group. Keep in mind we are not a big operation.”
Several prominent community leaders are expected to attend the breakfast at Firestone Country Club, which sold tickets for 28 tables.
A spokeswoman for LRMR said the marketing company will sponsor a golf outing at Firestone Country Club on Aug. 26.
The foundation is sponsoring 50 of its Wheels for Education students with summer scholarships for the First Tee in Akron.
Michelle Campbell wrote in an email that “LRMR and LJFF support First Tee because it’s important for us that our kids have plenty of educational and recreational activities to choose from in order to achieve our mission of living active and healthy lifestyles, and golf is certainly a part of that.”
First Tee was established in 1997 by the World Golf Association and has been operating at Akron’s Mud Run golf course since 2003.
Mud Run was built by the city for about $5.3 million.
In 2011, Akron First Tee officials rejected a proposal to merge three regional First Tee operations into one based in Cleveland.
Bailey said that last year the program served 184 participants and has a goal to help 250 this year and 300 in 2015.
“We are committed to executing our plans over the coming years and we’re raising money and will make improvements in the program and expand aggressively, get more young people involved, working the Akron Public Schools, AMHA and other organizations in the community,” Bailey said.
First Tee promotes nine core values and seeks to introduce golf to youths who otherwise might not experience the sport.
“We like to expose some of our young people to something they might not otherwise be exposed to, and then hopefully teach them life lessons, interpersonal skills, goal setting, self management, resiliency, things that are lifelong,” he said.
The golf outing at Firestone Country Club on Aug. 26 will include a $100,000 hole-in-one contest. Details will be posted at http://www.thefirsttee.org/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp.
Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Scott on Twitter at Davescottofakro.