Tiger Woods Foundation: A Closer Look

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December 1, 2010; Source: ESPN Golf | With 55 employees and $45.5 million in assets, the Tiger Woods Foundation is no small time philanthropic operation. But what does the Tiger Woods Foundation actually do? And how has it fared with Tiger in the headlights of the national press?

The mission of the foundation, as stated on its website, is treacle and general. It states, “At the TWF, we believe in a new generation of bold, courageous youth. We inspire new perspectives and limitless possibilities. We provide opportunities to Be Someone.” In practice, the foundation has created Tiger Woods Learning Centers in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, provided a “character development” educational curriculum called the Tiger’s Action Plan, offered graduating high school seniors scholarships of up to $5,000, and made grants for education and youth development programs in multiple states.

Its last publicly posted 990 (for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008) showed it with roughly $10 million in income and less than $5 million in program activities. Of the program activities $2.3 million was grants—including $817,000 to the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Irvine, Calif. and $350,000 to the International Youth Foundation in Baltimore. The foundation’s 990 shows just over $1 million going toward management and administration.

The President and CEO of the foundation earned about $100,000 in salary and benefits for a 25-hour workweek, but also pulled down another $400,000 for his job at the affiliated Tiger Woods Charity Event Corporation. The foundation’s income is generated in large measure from a couple of golf tournaments with an eclectic mix of high profile corporate sponsors such as AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and the Tavistock Group.

Woods says that the foundation was “one of the items that we were thinking about and talking about on virtually a daily basis” from the time he turned pro and started earning megabucks in tournament prizes and endorsements. Surprisingly Tiger’s troubles and subsequent rehabilitation have left the foundation, according to its well-paid CEO, “to a large degree . . . stronger than it was.”

Tiger Woods is back, he’s playing golf, and, as he notes, “with everything that’s gone on, our foundation grew.” The foundation’s partners and donors obviously get more than philanthropic bennefits from sponsoring network-televised golf tournaments with Woods on the card. How do NPQ readers feel about the role of the foundation in the rehabilitation of the image—and marketability—of the world’s greatest golfer and admittedly flawed human being?—Rick Cohen

  • CassieJ

    SOUNDS GREAT! how do nonprofits apply for funding?

  • rick cohen

    According to the foundation’s website, it makes grants four times a year. There is a detailed description of the application standards and limitations on the website. The odd one that struck me was the exclusion of applicants that devoted more than half of their revenues to salaries and personnel costs (as opposed to “functional expenses”). It would seem that for many nonprofits, personnel costs are part of the function of delivering the service or program that’s called for.

  • Pamela Grow

    [quote name=”rick cohen”]According to the foundation’s website, it makes grants four times a year. There is a detailed description of the application standards and limitations on the website. The odd one that struck me was the exclusion of applicants that devoted more than half of their revenues to salaries and personnel costs (as opposed to “functional expenses”). It would seem that for many nonprofits, personnel costs are part of the function of delivering the service or program that’s called for.[/quote]
    That is interesting – and points to a lack of knowledge about how community benefit organizations actually operate.

  • Katie Virant

    Is anyone paying attention to the fact that the foundation is not spending its money towards its social cause.. which is not specific to start with? And what about that Executive Director salary of $100,000 for a part time position of 25 hours a week? I look forward to the day when large foundations actually spend the money they claim to have set aside for a charitable cause rather than use it as a tax ride-off and excuse to give certain people a perpetual paycheck… not to mention its use as positive PR since most people are not paying attention to what is really going on.