2021 in Review: End-of-Year Letter to Our Supporters

Hello friends,

We hope you and your loved ones are all healthy, happy, and enjoying the holiday season. We are thrilled to update you on Momentum. It’s been an incredibly successful year, and we are excited for what’s next. Without your support, we could not have accomplished any of this and we are so grateful. We hope you will consider renewing your support with a year-end gift to allow us to sustain and expand our program empowering youth through golf and education.

As a reminder, Momentum’s mission is to use the power of golf and education to help children reach their fullest potential. We are a nimble, collaborative group, and we feel very fortunate to be doing this important work. This year has been a great testament of our ability to deliver impactful programming that introduces young people to the game of golf and provides resources, networks and experiences that will help enrich society with a more diverse group of future leaders.

Among other developments, we are providing an update on the following:

  1. The Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows Program
  2. National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant with Columbia University
  3. Immersion Program for Eagle Academy high school students with Columbia University
  4. The Harlem Eagle Academy Capital Improvement Grant

We are fortunate to have incredible partners including, but not limited to, Columbia University, Quaker Ridge and their entire staff and membership, The Eagle Academy Foundation, and our donors. If you would like to get more involved, have interest in partnering, and/or offering potential insights, ideas, contacts, or funding and grant leads, please reach out to us at any point.

Now to the highlights of 2021 …

The Quaker Ridge Golf Club Fellows Program

We established a partnership with The Quaker Ridge Golf Club at the end of 2020 to lead their Strategic Diversity & Inclusion program. This partnership began with the opportunity for 8 students from New Rochelle High School to engage in a meaningful summer program of 35 hours per week for 8 weeks in July and August of 2021.

The selected students had internships working and learning under the guidance of the Club’s staff in Golf Operations, the Golf Shop, Golf Course Maintenance, Food, Tennis Operations, and Club Management / Business Operations. Fellows received golf and tennis instruction for 5 hours per week. The program was rounded out with “Momentum Wednesdays” where students received mentoring, networking opportunities and workshops focused on a variety of topics – financial literacy, architecture, medicine, law, engineering, philanthropy and business.

The program received positive feedback from fellows and their families, professionals at the club, and Club members. We will begin recruiting for the summer 2022 Fellows in February, and we look forward to having 2021 Fellows return for their second summer. As we move forward, we’ll be initiating several alumni activities for Fellows as they enter and complete college, including career mentoring, internship placements, and networking opportunities. We also intend to help them stay connected to golf and to all that the game can bring into their lives.

Our fellows wrote blog posts throughout the summer discussing their experience. You can read them and more news here.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant with the Columbia Water Center, the Eagle Academy Foundation and Eagle Academies of Harlem and Southeast Queens

The Columbia Water Center at Columbia University, the Eagle Academy Foundation, two of its Academies and Momentum are partners through a grant program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The program – America’s Water Education Project to Engage Young Black and Latino Men in Data Science through Water Security, or AWE – is designed to break through persistent barriers faced by Black and Latino men in STEM education and careers. Working with 8th through 11th grade students and their teachers from the Eagle Academies of Harlem and Southeast Queens, AWE will integrate data science into math and science curricula to test, among other things, the effect on STEM competency and the likelihood of students’ choosing a data science career, especially one related to water security.

Communities of color across the United States face increasing challenges with affordable access to safe drinking water, as seen in Flint, Newark, Texas and elsewhere. Using data science to explore why, where and how this is happening, and what is being done about it, provides a powerful vehicle for engaging students in STEM and helping to develop a digital workforce with appropriate representation from these communities of color.

This will be a 3-4 year program impacting roughly 400-500 high school students led by Nancy Degnan, Columbia professors, the Eagle Academy STEM and Literacy STEM, and others.

Immersion Program for Eagle Academy high school students with Columbia University

Columbia’s School of Professional Studies offers pre-college courses, taught by Columbia faculty, for high-school students during the academic year and summer semesters. In the effort to encourage greater participation from high schools whose populations comprise underrepresented groups, Columbia engages nonprofit organizations that already provide co-curricular and after-school programs. Momentum suggested that the pre-college staff work with the Eagle Academies. As a consequence, the Columbia program has awarded five, full-tuition (recurring) scholarships, to Eagle Academies’ students for each semester. Admitted students chose from courses in creative writing, to entrepreneurship, to conservation biology, to the fundamentals of blockchain, AI and machine learning. Momentum is pleased to have been able to facilitate this amazing, ongoing opportunity for Eagle scholars.

The Harlem Eagle Academy Capital Improvement Grant

In 2018 Farrell Evans applied for a capital improvement grant to support the Eagle Academy for the Young Men of Harlem’s effort to upgrade its media capabilities and auditorium. Two years later in 2020, the funding was awarded with the opportunity to re-define its use given Covid-19 teaching and learning priorities. Currently, Farrell and Nancy, along with the team of Eagle Academy STEM and Literacy teachers, are in a process to align the 2020 award more closely with needs in science labs, a hydroponics demonstration space, and a school garden. We will get back to you with news on our progress.

You can learn more about the Eagle Academies on their website.

As we’ve discussed in the past, financial literacy, or the knowledge necessary to make financially responsible decisions, is a key area of focus for Momentum. Over the summer, John Fizer, Board member and Private Wealth Advisor at Goldman Sachs, held a workshop with our fellows focused on the topic. He reviewed everything from opening a checking account to the psychology of money to the decision making of consuming vs. saving. It was a very engaging session with a unique approach that helped bring this integral topic to life.

Our fellows noted that this was one of the most valuable days of the program, and financial literacy is something that is desperately missed in the high school / middle school academic curriculum. Given our group’s unique expertise and the near-universal need among our youth, we are very hopeful that Momentum will be able to expand this programming into more public schools in the metropolitan area.

As you know, we rely on the generosity of supporters like you to pursue our mission. We have many aspirations for Momentum, including but not limited to the following:

  • An annual college scholarship
  • In-school and after-school golf programming across Metropolitan-area public schools
  • More expansive financial literacy workshops
  • Setting up intern/externships for Momentum students
  • Establishing a formal mentor-mentee network

This work requires significant resources, namely full-time staff. We believe that we are uniquely equipped to deliver this high-impact youth programming given our connectivity and experience with various NYC public schools as well as the incredible work of Nancy Degnan, PhD, our Head of Programming & Education.

If you believe in the work we are doing, we would greatly appreciate a donation of any size. With gratitude for a gift of $150 or more, we will send you a Momentum-branded hat.

Also, we are still long overdue for our event at Five Iron Golf. We hope to be able to have a safe and stress-free event sometime in the first half of 2022. We will keep you posted.

Thank you again and Happy Holidays and New Year!

All the best,

Sam, Farrell, Bill & The Momentum Team