Craig Kirby approaches golf as a real business for the people
Tell us about your nonprofit.
The mission of Golf. My Future. My Game. is to create and manage strategic-alliance initiatives in the areas of business, career development and education within and around the sport of golf. We are targeting our efforts at women of all ages, millennials and persons of color. GMFMG is working to increase participation in the sport from these various and diverse communities. We are committed to fostering greater diversity in both the business and sport of golf through increased awareness of the sport, mentorship programming, greater access to the game, and enhanced recognition of participant achievements. GMFMG is also encouraging the golf industry to aggressively pique interest in the sport and to engage this nation’s multicultural consumer and talent base, particularly our targets.
Why did you launch a nonprofit for golf?
Golf. My Future. My Game. was created to breathe new life into the sport of golf by increasing interest, participation and opportunities for all. Our research indicated that the golf industry was challenged by the false assumption that our targets — communities of color, women (and girls) and millennials — would respond to the traditional message of the game through traditional methods in keeping with the tradition of golf itself. However, in reality, golf needs to tailor its message, methods and traditions to this new generation of potential golfers. GMFMG can help to craft and focus the industry’s appeal, approach and message. Through our strategic alliances, we can better engage diverse communities and start the conversation of inclusion that the industry needs to have, thereby increasing awareness, heightening relevancy and boosting sustained interest.
What type of support does your nonprofit need to fulfill its mission?
It is our view that experienced golfers are needed to mentor and help prepare the next generation of golfers. Going forward, we also need organizations and philanthropic partners that will open their doors and wallets to enable us to introduce and unveil the sport to a wider, more diverse audience.
How do you get the Black community involved?
By partnering with Women of Color Golf (www.womenofcolor.org) and working with key leaders in the industry and our targeted communities, our innovative approach and thinking will allow us to implement our core strategies. To learn more about these, please visit our website at www.golfmyfuturemygame.org. I’ve heard it said — “You can’t teach what you don’t know, and you can’t lead where you don’t go.” And this is why GMFMG places such an emphasis on education and mentoring. Women of Color Golf is a prime example of how to begin educating as it relates to golf. And we are excited about our partnership with them and the yield that we hope to see from our joint efforts. Lastly, being a person of color myself helps to spread our message. My background is in politics, so I believe strongly in the ground game — the door-to-door approach to spreading your message. I am taking all that I have learned within that arena and updating it to fit the way people communicate today. To that end, our website is a great place to start learning more about GMFMG. Our weekly blog posts are a great way to get on board with us.
What type of events do you host to raise funds?
Right now, we are in discussions with several strategic partners about a major initial offering next year. It is too soon to reveal any of the details. But, rest assured, it will be well worth the wait! As soon as we are able to make the announcement, it will go out on our website. So, generally speaking, we look to sponsor golf clinics to provide training in the basic fundamentals of golf. Through our mentoring alliances, we will expose young people to the game of golf. We will use golf roundtables to further educate about the game of golf and its benefits and to promote greater inclusion on the corporate level. And, we hope to sponsor an annual National Golf Drive Day to collect gently used golf apparel, gear and equipment for youth in need. Lastly, we are building toward an annual awards reception to acknowledge and recognize those you have shown their commitment to the GMFMG. In the interim, donations can be made using our website, or anyone can feel free to reach out to me personally.
Where do you see your nonprofit in the next five years?
Simply stated, growing still. We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, but I see tremendous potential for increased opportunities and awareness. Add to that my tremendous personal energy and we have a recipe for success. In the next five years, we are aiming to have a presence in all 50 states, and, since golf is played around the world, abroad. It is conceivable that we can accomplish this goal, if we get the right synergies going. And we are certainly off to a good start in that respect.