Tiger Woods Foundation: A Closer Look

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