arnie’s army, mon­terey penin­sula foun­da­tion pre­serve legacy

Golf Digest Middle East - - The Golf Life / Real Estate - BY DAVE SHEDLOSKI

The Arnie’s Army Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion has never lacked di­rec­tion. Since its in­cep­tion in 2015, the foun­da­tion has as­sumed re­spon­si­bil­ity for sup­port­ing the many phil­an­thropic in­ter­ests of the late Arnold and Win­nie Palmer.

“The reach my mom and dad had makes it hard to fo­cus nar­rowly,” says Amy Saun­ders. “They did want to touch so many things, so many lives. Over the course of the last few years, we’ve learned through ex­pe­ri­ence there needed to be a truly col­lec­tive vi­sion from some­one that was sim­i­lar to what my fa­ther had so that we can carry on that legacy.”

That’s a tall task, one that Jon Po­dany has ac­cepted as pres­i­dent of Arnie’s Army. In mid- Oc­to­ber, Po­dany be­gan serv­ing as CEO of Arnold Palmer En­ter­prises af­ter eight years at the LPGA Tour, most re­cently as its chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer.

“Jon’s back­ground and com­pe­ten­cies fit our needs on so many lev­els,” Saun­ders says, “par­tic­u­larly when it comes to ad­vanc­ing our char­i­ta­ble causes.”

“There’s still so much pas­sion out there for Mr. Palmer and what he ac­com­plished,” says Po­dany, 53, who also worked at the PGA Tour for 15 years. “My job is go­ing to be to cap­i­talise on that and chan­nel it in a way to do great things on be­half of the peo­ple that Arnold and Win­nie Palmer wanted to help.”

The three pil­lars of the mis­sion are chil­dren’s health, youth/char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment, and na­ture-based well­ness.

In recognition of Arnold Palmer’s de­vo­tion to char­i­ta­ble causes, Golf Di­gest has part­nered with the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am and Mon­terey Penin­sula Foun­da­tion to cel­e­brate Golfers Who Give Back.

“The many things that we’re able to en­gage in, it’s not nec­es­sar­ily about golf, but it’s be­cause of golf, and we’re proud of that,” Saun­ders says. “So many re­la­tion­ships have been cul­ti­vated through the game, in­clud­ing re­cip­i­ents of The Arnie Award. It’s very spe­cial to think the award is a re­flec­tion of char­ac­ter and the con­tri­bu­tions they’ve made to help­ing other peo­ple as my par­ents did.”

Steve John, CEO of Mon­terey Penin­sula Foun­da­tion, en­dorses a sim­i­lar vi­sion that is broad and am­bi­tious. Last year MPF dis­persed 278 grants to­tal­ing nearly $13 mil­lion to non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tions pri­mar­ily in Cal­i­for­nia’s Santa Cruz, San Ben­ito and Mon­terey coun­ties. Its mis­sion, sup­ported by pro­ceeds from the AT&T Peb­ble Beach Pro-Am, bol­sters ini­tia­tives in ed­u­ca­tion, health and hu­man ser­vices, arts and cul­ture, youth, and com­mu­nity en­vi­ron­ment.

“We have a place-based grant-mak­ing strat­egy that spans a broad range of com­mu­nity needs,” John says. “We are very much in align­ment with Arnie’s Army. All the dif­fer­ent ar­eas Arnold had been in­volved in, the due dili­gence is there that touches upon what he stood for.”

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