The First Tee program receives $40,311 gift from Valspar Championship proceeds

In June, the Valspar Championship held their annual Innisbook Charity Breakfast to celebrate the success of the PGA TOUR event and disperse proceeds totaling well over $2 million. Copperhead Charities the 501(c)3 Foundation operating the event proudly announced the tournament was able to support 70 nonprofits this year in our community with these significant funds. The presentation even included a shout out to our very own CEO Cary Stiff congratulating her on her upcoming retirement at the end of the year and her 40 years of service in our community. We are fortunate in having this event in our backyard and honored to take part in the festivities every year: * The First Tee participants act as Standard Bearers on Thursday * Foundation volunteers work at the Michelob ULTRA Club Thursday through Sunday * Birdies for Charities bonus program * Both the Chi Chi Golf Club and Driving Range have event tickets for sale each year    

Program Director Karen Wise earns Recognized Coach Status

Chi Chi’s and The First Tee Home Office in St. Augustine, Florida congratulates Coach Wise for achieving Recognized Coach Status. Coaches who successfully complete all three levels of training achieve this prestigious designation. Karen spent three years training around the country in courses offered by The First Tee Home Office while coaching Academy students and over 300 community participants during weekend and summer programming. She also oversees our First Tee of Clearwater National School Program in partnership with four schools in North Pinellas county. The program introduces over 1,800 children to life-skills through golf.

The First Tee of Clearwater featured on National Television

The First Tee of Clearwater was featured in a 1/2 hour Master’s “Tee It Up” Special the Saturday prior to the Masters Tournament. Filming took place during Saturday classes and featured various students, parents and volunteers, including a feature on participant Panagioti. To watch the Masters special visit:

Student Spotlight: The First Tee participants enjoy once again the opportunity to be inside the ropes as Valspar Championship standard bearers

Valspar Championship had another great field of players from all over the world! As part of Thursday’s First Tee day, 13 of our participants were Standard Bearers for the late tee times.  Our kids got to meet golfers like Sam Saunders, K.J. Choi, Branden Grace and 2016 Champion Charl Schwartzel! Our participants enjoy the time to talk to the Pros and see the PGA TOUR event from inside the ropes, a place some of them hope to one day be playing. Thank you to Valspar Championship for providing our participants such an amazing experience year-after-year.  It is an unforgettable day and one they will cherish throughout their life.

Event Spotlight: Chi Chi surprises guests at Chi Chi Pro Am event raising a net $164,000 for educational programs

The 12th annual Chi Chi Pro Am went back to its roots with a shamble at the Feather Sound Country Club.  Sponsors and guests enjoyed a beautiful Florida day on the course with their PGA and LPGA pros, along with Chi Chi Rodriguez visiting each foursome, Long Drive and Trick Shot Artist Trevor Consavage and Dialed In Golf Solutions Trackman technology. Following play a lunch featured Chi Chi Rodriguez, Board Member Scott Curtis and a lively auction hosted by Tampa Bayshore Marketing’s own Jenn Holloway. Co-Chairs Vin Campagnoli and Mark Carron proudly announce the event netted approximately $164,000 to further our mission of hope for community families. The net funds raised will support the annual $909,000 programming budget to educate and assist at-risk children using the golf course as a living classroom. Thank you to Presenting Sponsor Raymond James and Co-Title Sponsor Envestnet!

Foundation supporters volunteer at the Valspar Championship Michelob Ultra 19th Club

As one of Valspar Championship’s Community Driver Charities, Chi Chi’s team assembled lots of groups and individuals to support the PGA TOUR event.  This year, over 30 of our supporters volunteered at the Michelob Ultra Club concession just off the 18th green.  Serving food and beer throughout the week, volunteers earned a percentage of sales plus tips, all to be donated back to the Foundation’s two educational programs: the Chi Chi Academy and The First Tee of Clearwater! A Big shout out to the below businesses and groups for helping throughout the week! Art & Frame Center BKS-Partners Bimbo Bakeries USA Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott Oldsmar CRUSH Networking Harbor Exchange Club Raymond James

The First Tee beneficiary of the annual Mary Lou Edwards Memorial Golf Tournament

We’re honored to be selected as the beneficiary of a golf tournament celebrating the life of an incredibly beloved woman in our community. Thank you to Courtney Fox, Whitney Wenglasz and everyone at the Eagles Golf Club for the loyal support! This annual tournament has raised over $8,000 and the funds have paid for equipment, scholarships and programming that teaches life-skills through golf. Thank you to all the events that have chosen us as a beneficiary: * Dunedin Heritage Golf Tournament * Paradise Golf The First Tee of Greater Tampa Bay Golf Tournament * Pinellas County Office of Technology and Innovation Golf Tournament * Rotary Clubs of Dunedin Waterside & Safety Harbor Golf Tournament * Simply Event’s Beer & Burger Throwdown * Turkey Trot – West Florida Y Runners Club  

Students enjoy their Holiday Party at Celebration Station

On the last day before the Holiday break Academy students spent the afternoon with endless rides on go-karts, playing games and soaking each other on the bumper boats at Celebration Station! This annual end of the year get together allows our students, teachers and supporters a wonderful opportunity to spend time together outside of the classroom. Special thanks to Bill, Whitney and Hayden Hurter who help plan and fund the event. A big thank you to Bimbo Bakeries USA, Chi Chi Rodriguez Ladies’ Golf Association, East Lake Woodlands Women’s Golf Association and Club Members, Nielsen and all of our wonderful volunteers who give time and donations. Each student goes home with a gift and goodies following an afternoon of fun!



Event Spotlight: Music ‘n Mistletoe Holiday Fundraiser takes place at Amalie Arena

On December 19th, the Foundation celebrated the Holiday season with our 3rd Music ‘n Mistletoe event at the Amalie Arena. Board Members, sponsors and their guests enjoyed a buffet dinner, Live Auction and Program in the Firestick Grill before heading to their VIP seats in the arena for the new Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL show. Co-Chairs Phil & Melanie Powell and Bill & Mikki Wickett proudly announce the event netted approximately $110,300. Funds raised support the $909,000 yearly education budget serving our  mission to educate and assist at-risk children using the golf course as a living classroom. Thank you Tom & Mary James and Bob & Debbie Basham for co-hosting this amazing event and to our sponsors who help continue our mission of preparing students for the game of life!

Co-Chair Bill Wickett receives a holiday gift from 7th grader Katrina

Co-Hosts Tom & Mary James

Baystar Restaurant Group’s guests Foundation Board Vice Chairman Frank Chivas, Karson Chivas, Jayme Chivas, Karla Mallah, Ashley Messingschlager, Cody Chivas and Ben Mallah

  Co-Chairs Phil & Melanie Powell

Event Spotlight: November’s 39th Annual Charity Classic saluted our Veterans

Celebration of the 39th annual Chi Chi Charity Classic opened with a special red, white and blue salute to our Veterans as sponsors and guests gathered to enjoy two fun filled days of golf featuring 11 different restaurants from the on-course Cuisine King Food Village. A sit down dinner by Baystar Restaurant Group at Nielsen’s Oldsmar campus started with Posting of the Colors by Safety Harbor American Legion Post 238 and featured Alumni story Leo Schoolfield.

Event Co-Chairs Jessica Majeski, Katie Majeski and Sean Tobe proudly announce the event netted approximately $186,000. Funds raised go towards the $909,000 yearly education budget serving our mission to educate and assist at-risk children using the golf course as a living classroom. Thank you to co-title sponsors JM Family Enterprises and Raymond James! We are looking forward to celebrating 40 years of serving kids next November!



The First Tee Life Skills Experience at the Chi Chi Academy

One of the many reasons the Chi Chi Academy is unique is the use of golf as a tool to learn. Twice a week, The First Tee Program Director Karen Wise, PGA works with Academy students during the Physical Education class. The First Tee programs are designed around teaching young people the game of golf, as well as helping them understand and ultimately develop The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. The curriculum was developed by experts in the field of positive youth development through sports and is delivered by caring adults (coaches) who have been formally trained by The First Tee. Our students truly enjoy the experience of going on the golf course and visiting the Sports Complex driving range.


Event Spotlight: Inaugural Fore the Kids 5k Fun Run takes place on newly renovated Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club

On September 29th, over 125 participants enjoyed a 3.1 mile track throughout the newly renovated golf course, led by the Chick-fil-A Westfield Countryside Cow in a Pace Golf Cart.  The weekend started with a packet pick up party on Friday at the Chi Chi Sports Complex featuring food from CiCi’s Pizza and Bimbo Bakeries USA, plus corn hole, music and putting games with The First Tee of Clearwater. Following the race on Saturday, runners and walkers enjoyed more music, games and even a dance party with the Cow. We appreciate all of the sponsors, vendors, runners and volunteers who participated in our first ever run!

Huge thank you to Jeff Iosa with the Highland Running Club and Craig Davide from Nolan’s Pub for helping us put on this inaugural run!