Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation donates $1 million to EIFG

The gift is the second such contribution from the Melrose Foundation and will support professional development for golf course equipment managers.


Ken Melrose

The Kendrick B. Melrose Family Foundation has donated $1 million to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of GCSAA, to support the professional development of golf course equipment managers.

The official announcement of the gift was made Feb. 6 during the Opening Session of the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego.

The $1 million gift will create the Melrose Equipment Management Endowment, which will have four areas of focus: continuing education, a certificate program, growing membership in GCSAA, and the Melrose Equipment Management Experience, which will bring GCSAA-member equipment managers to GIS for leadership and education sessions.

The Melrose Family Foundation is supported by Ken Melrose (pictured), former CEO and chairman of The Toro Co. Melrose’s relationship with the golf industry is long-standing. He joined The Toro Co. in 1970 and quickly ascended the company’s ranks, culminating in his appointment as CEO in 1983 and chairman of the board of directors in 1987. He retired as CEO in 2005 and from the chairman position in 2006. That same year, he formed Leading by Serving LLC, a company whose mission is to advance the principles of servant leadership in business organizations.

“It is with great pleasure to share with you that I have contributed another $1 million to support GCSAA’s growing membership class of equipment managers to support their continuing education and career advancement,” Melrose said in a taped statement broadcast during the Opening Session. “I believe that GCSAA is the best organization to deliver the education and training that will not only benefit golf course management professionals, but their facilities and the game. I know you and your wonderful organization will do great things with this.”

This is the second such gift to GCSAA and the EIFG from the Melrose Foundation. In 2012, the original $1 million gift (the largest ever to the EIFG) endowed the Melrose Leadership Academy, which focuses on professional development for golf course superintendents through opportunities to attend GIS. Since it began, 113 superintendents have been part of the Melrose Leadership Academy.

“Ken has been a visionary leader who dedicated his career to advancing the golf course management industry, and with his latest contribution, he is ensuring it will continue to advance for years to come,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “We were deeply appreciative of his first $1 million gift and truly humbled with his latest expression of generosity. He has made a difference in the professional lives of our member superintendents and is now doing the same for our member equipment managers. In the more than nine decades of GCSAA, the association has not had a more benevolent friend than Ken Melrose.”

In addition to Melrose’s work through Leading by Serving, he actively serves on the boards of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures, Park Nicollet Health Services, the Melrose Institute for Eating Disorders, and others. He is a member of the faculty at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Melrose is a native of Orlando, Fla., and earned degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Princeton in 1962. He received his master’s degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and later an MBA from the University of Chicago.