Be The Change Golf Tournament: September 11, 2021
Event/Initiative Description: Against the backdrop of persistent trauma and turmoil in the Twin Cities, North Minneapolis entrepreneurs Houston White and John Baker are using an unlikely tool to bridge communities and create connections: Golf tournaments.
In September 2020, the duo launched the Be The Change Golf Tournament, bringing nearly 115 golfers to Theodore Wirth Golf Course for a first-of-its-kind format. The tournament brought together people, whose paths would not typically cross, for a game of golf and to talk about important issues, brainstorm new ideas, and have fun. Unlike traditional four-person tournaments, the format paired a community leader with three players who may or may not already be familiar with each other. The players ranged in skill level, background, demographics, and experience, but they all were there for one reason, to build relationships.
Purpose/Mission: To create space for cross-cultural conversation and understanding while raising money to support North Minneapolis youth programs often overlooked by corporate philanthropy. These street-level programs don’t necessarily fit into giving guidelines but are essential to the youth of North Minneapolis. While each year the beneficiaries may differ (they need to apply annually), the 2020 beneficiaries are as follows:
• Heritage Youth Sports Foundation
• North High Photography
• Patrick Henry High School
Fiscal Partner: Minneapolis Foundation
Be The Change Golf Vision: To grow this event into a weekend-long celebration of diversity and a new form of patriotism. The weekend could feature music, food, dance as well as meaningful cross-cultural dialogue. Ultimately, Be The Change Golf is the start of what the founders hope is a national weekend celebration of diversity. Much like Pride or South by Southwest, Be The Change Golf is part celebration, part education, and part collaborative thinking. And the true vision includes opportunities for connection throughout the year. This could be in the form of leadership lunches/breakfasts, mentorship programming, or just a casual game of golf.