CDGA Foundation To Administer Veterans Scholarship

This article initially appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of the"Rays of Hope" newsletter.

Programming for veterans has been at the core of the CDGA Foundation’s mission since it was established in 1944 to help returning World War II veterans. In 2019, the CDGA Foundation added another avenue with which it assists veterans, as well as the dependents of veterans, when it began administration of the Chicago Area Golf Swing Club Scholarship Foundation Program.

Since 1963, the Chicago Area Unit of the United Veterans Services (UVS) Golf Swing Club has awarded scholarships to disabled veterans and/or the dependents of deceased or disabled veterans as part of its Scholarship Foundation. In the years since, the Swing Club has aided a large number of
students in their pursuit of higher education. Fundraisers, including raffles, helped with costs and were supported by the UVS, Chicago District golf courses and local individuals. About a decade ago, however, a large sum was donated from an anonymous individual via an endowment from their will.

Although funding was no longer an issue, the Swing Club itself began to dwindle, as volunteer participation dropped. Two years ago, the organization decided to dissolve. With that came the decision as to what to do with its programming, including the Scholarship Foundation. Pam Taccona, who served as president of the Scholarship Foundation for 14
years, was familiar with the CDGA Foundation’s work from her time spent as president of the Chicago Women’s District Golf Association (CWDGA) and knew it would be the perfect fit.

“I was really interested in the way the CDGA Foundation is set up and how it funds programs,” Taccona said. “We wanted to make sure it went to deceased, disabled veterans and dependents of disabled veterans. We wanted to preserve that intent and the CDGA Foundation just seemed to be a real logical move for us because they were willing to accept the program.”

Following lengthy planning and discussions, the Swing Club agreed to pass the scholarship program over to the CDGA Foundation in late 2018, along with the Blind Veterans programs that are run in conjunction with the Hines VA Hospital’s Blind Rehabilitation Center (CBRC). With the transition, both sides made it a point to ensure that all current recipients would be grandfathered into the program. Currently, there are two students benefiting from the scholarship.

Although under a new umbrella, Taccona still serves on the CDGA Foundation’s Scholarship Committee, helping to ensure that the program thrives well into the future.

“The benefit here is the individuals who have needed it and gotten scholarships and were able to pursue their dreams,” Taccona said. “We’re very excited because it’s a bright future, as opposed to where we were before.”