Chuck Connolly (left), Carolinas GCSA secretary/treasurer and superintendent at Smithfields Country Club in Easley, S.C., accepts a $1,000 check from FMC’s Chris Pearson. The Carolinas chapter earned the funds by participating in FMC’s “Give Back to Local Chapters” kickoff event at the 2021 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show. Photos courtesy of FMC Corp.
Editor’s note: The following article was supplied by FMC Corp. All information is directly from the company.
Local GCSAA chapters on the receiving end of donations awarded through FMC’s “Give Back to Local Chapters” program are overwhelmingly focused on bettering the lives of their members — and bettering the golf industry — through education and benevolence.
In December, FMC Professional Solutions dispersed $8,000 in Give Back checks to 13 GCSAA chapters. FMC Give Back funds donated in 2021 totaled $33,000 and benefited 30 chapters. Many of the chapters that received the latest round of donations were previous recipients of Give Back donations earned after participating in activities at the 2021 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show (formerly the Golf Industry Show) that were tied to FMC’s Kalida Fungicide launch earlier in 2021.
One major observation regarding the chapters that participated in FMC’s 2021 Give Back initiative is that they’re striving to “give back” with their Give Back.
The heart of giving back
“The local chapters we support can benefit in numerous ways from the FMC ‘Give Back to Local Chapters’ program,” says Evan Parenti, FMC golf and lawn care market manager. “These are unprecedented and challenging times. To learn that our support is paid forward by a chapter to support a member facing a health or family crisis is humbling.”
Some reports indicate that donations to some charitable causes are up across the country and that attitudes toward giving to those in need have been positively impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FMC found this to be the case with the Utah GCSA, which directed its Give Back funds to its own charitable cause. “Our chapter has allocated the funds to our local Riley L. Stottern Benevolent Fund,” says Utah GCSA Chapter Executive Natalie Barker. “The goal of the fund is to do as much good as possible for all Utah GCSA members and their immediate families who may be burdened by a serious illness, a death or other hardship. The money is greatly appreciated and will help our members in need.”
FMC’s Matt Carroll (left) presents Florida GCSA President Andy Neiswender with $750 earned through the company’s “Give Back to Local Chapters” program.
According to Florida GCSA Executive Director Jennifer Bryan, “The Florida GCSA put our funds into our Benevolent Account. This year, we contributed $2,500 to support one of our members whose son is battling leukemia. We are very grateful that we have the funding available when our members are in crisis or have a need that would not otherwise be met. FMC’s contribution had an impact.”
Education for a stronger industry
In an industry with continuous advancements in management practices, plant science, regulations and even equipment, golf course superintendents need to have a broad knowledge base and multidisciplinary approach to their work. It’s thus easy to see why so many GCSAA chapters look to foster education and choose to spend any extra funds on it.
“We truly appreciate those companies that see value in the local chapters and try to help them out,” says Carolinas GCSA Executive Director Tim Kreger. The Carolinas GCSA earmarked the $1,000 FMC Give Back check it received to provide an additional scholarship in 2021.
Like the Carolinas GCSA, other local chapters that earned funds in the Give Back program overwhelmingly plan to apply the donations toward education initiatives in the form of scholarships, training, seminar hosting and workshops for their members or turf students. A few built full-scale educational events that took place in late 2021 or are in the works for the early part of 2022, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions across the country.
“Thanks to FMC’s support of the Minnesota GCSA, we used this money to support scholarships to attend the Great Lakes School of Turfgrass Science online educational courses,” says Minnesota GCSA Executive Director Jack MacKenzie. “Each year, the MGCSA sponsors up to five individuals who complete the 10-week program. It is a win-win for the industry and the student. The ‘Give Back to Local Chapters’ program helps make this opportunity possible.”
Members of the Georgia GCSA received $2,500 through FMC’s “Give Back to Local Chapters” initiative. Pictured from left are Tim Busek, superintendent at St. Ives Country Club in Duluth, Ga.; Tommy Hewitt, superintendent at Windermere Golf Club in Cumming, Ga.; Joey Brown, superintendent at Georgia National Golf Club in McDonough, Ga.; Brad Tremmier, superintendent at RiverPines Golf Course in Alpharetta, Ga.; and FMC’s Mike Kellum.
“We want our members to thrive, and education is an investment in their success,” says GCSA of New Jersey Executive Director Maureen Sharples. “Our industry is constantly evolving, and continuing education is critical to keeping current with the latest research advancements, best management practices, regulations and product releases.”
A number of GCSA chapters have set aside their Give Back donations for future participation in GCSAA’s First Green program, which connects golf courses with local schools for unique STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational opportunities for students.
Adds Parenti, “To see the FMC donations fostering educational initiatives is especially rewarding, as that knowledge only makes the industry better and stronger.”
For the love of the game
And then there’s the GCSAA chapter that allocates any extra funds simply toward the love of the game. Don Hearn, executive director of the New England GCSA, says the chapter is looking to highlight the work of superintendents and emphasizes what all of these efforts are really about: the game of golf. “We plan to use the funds to assist with the production costs of a video highlighting the work of superintendents who help make golf an enjoyable experience for those who play the game,” Hearn says.
The FMC “Give Back to Local Chapters” initiative was driven by FMC True Champions, a program launched in spring 2019. A key feature of the program is support of industry associations such as GCSAA chapters, We Are Golf and RISE. Superintendents can enroll for free, and FMC will track purchases of qualified products throughout the season and then submit their Give Back donation directly to their local GCSAA chapter. Qualified products include Fame SC, Rayora and Kalida fungicides.
FMC will kick off its 2022 Give Back initiative at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show, Feb. 5-10 in San Diego. Visitors to FMC’s booth (#1537) on Feb. 9-10 will be able to take drives on a golf simulator, and FMC will make Give Back donations to participants’ chapters based on the yardage of their drives.
FMC True Champions
The FMC True Champions program is a source for golf course superintendents and managers to access valuable Product Rewards and Product Assurances. It also has a third pillar, Industry Support, that highlights industry initiatives and associations like GCSAA, We Are Golf and RISE.