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The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee Announces New Development Director

May 21, 2019

The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee(TFTSM), an organization founded in 2005 with the primary goal of impacting the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf, has hired golf industry veteran and good friend Andy Mears as its Development Director.

Mears, a native of Michigan, and most recently Development Director for the First Tee of Greater Chicago has spent 40 years working in different areas of the golf industry.  A  PGA member, Andy moved from the club pro ranks in 1992 and has primarily been  in the corporate and trade association side of the industry ever since.  Mears is also on the executive committee of the International Network of Golf, the industry’s premier networking organization for resorts, businesses, manufacturers and media, celebrating its 25 year anniversary.

His position will have him managing fundraising along with other duties under the leadership of Lexi McKenney, TFTSM Executive Director. With a view to the future, McKenney said, “We are thrilled to have Andy on board to provide us with his experience and knowledge of the industry and his leadership and organizational abilities to run and grow our vital fundraising program.”

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me, as I am returning to where I began my professional career and to a community I have always had a close affinity to,” said Andy. He went on emphasize, “The First Tee has such great growth potential, and serving the youth of this area is an energizing and inspirational opportunity.”

The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee will adopt a new development plan under Mears’ leadership. The plan prioritizes stewardship of current donors, as well as seeking new donors, especially at the corporate level. Andy’s responsibility will be to attract new resources to increase the opportunity to bring golf and its core values into the lives of young people ages 4 to 17 in the two counties.

The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee currently serves area youth at golf course locations and in-school programs, as well as LPGA/USGA Girls Golf of Sarasota/ Manatee, Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association and PGA Junior League. The First Tee is supported by generous donations from corporate partners, foundation grants and individual donors. To learn more, give a donation or find locations visit TheFirstTeeofSarasota/Manatee.org.