Kansas City’s UNI becomes 15th Purpose Built Community

Purpose Built Communities is proud to announce that Kansas City’s Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI) is now its 15th Network Member and its first in the state of Missouri. The UNI, one of the Kansas City, MO Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5 Ideas” founded in 2011, is the community quarterback nonprofit organization established to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in a target area of the city’s urban core and will focus its Purpose Built Community efforts in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood.

By joining the Purpose Built Network, UNI is committing to a long-term revitalization plan for the neighborhood that includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness services and facilities. Purpose Built Communities President Carol Naughton joined the leadership of UNI on September 19 at a ceremony at the new Kansas City Neighborhood Academy to commemorate UNI’s Network Membership.

“Our Network Members are successful in their efforts to break the cycle of poverty when they have the right combination of leaders and partners – including the community. UNI has these ingredients,” said Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities. “With strong local leadership and the opening of the Kansas City Neighborhood Academy earlier this year, we are excited about the future of the Wendell Phillips neighborhood and all who call it home.”

“When the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Kansas City, began this initiative five years ago, the intent was to find solutions that work for low income communities. We have found the right partner in Purpose Built Communities to help us break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and we are thrilled to be part of a Network of national leaders doing similar work,” said Steve Roling, Board Chair of UNI.

UNI is leading the implementation of the Purpose Built Model in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood by introducing new mixed-income housing; creating a cradle-to-college education pipeline, which is well underway with the opening of the Kansas City Neighborhood Academy, the only  district-sponsored public charter school in Kansas City, MO; and introducing community wellness through multiple partnerships and initiatives throughout the neighborhood, including the Major League Baseball/Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Baseball Academy, Health Screenings and Resource Fairs.

Purpose Built Communities is a not-for-profit consulting firm that offers its services free of charge. It helps local leaders and organizations implement a comprehensive, long-term place-based redevelopment model with public and private partners in neighborhoods of concentrated urban poverty to create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods where all residents can reach their full potential. The Purpose Built Model includes mixed-income housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs and facilities in a defined neighborhood, coordinated by a dedicated, nonprofit community quarterback organization. There are now 15 Purpose Built Communities Network Members across the United States.


Meet Volunteer Benjamin Blackburn


I volunteer at the military outpost, which is the hospitality for the military people that visit the tournament. I’m retired from the Army and was stationed at Triple Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

You get a chance to be with some great people and spend a lot of time doing things for other people. This is certainly a great effort. Drew Charter School has been a beneficiary and this whole area. It’s about Atlanta and making the whole area better.

Tell me your favorite memory from volunteering here in the past

Well, like I said I haven’t been here an extremely long time, but I would say the final round from last year’s tournament. I went up to the 18th hole and watched the winners putt in.


PGA TOUR’s J.B. Holmes heads up “84 for 84″ effort

Thanks the generosity of PGA TOUR professional golfer J.B. Holmes, as well as select other members of the East Lake Golf Club, more than $84,000 has been pledged this week to support the ongoing, transformative work of the East Lake Foundation.

Known as the “84 for 84” campaign, the funds are being given in honor of the 84 graduating seniors at the Drew Charter Academy. This class completes the cradle-to-college educational pipeline first envisioned by Tom Cousins and other community leaders when the foundation was initially formed.

“You see all the good work they’ve done in just this area and this community,” said Holmes. “I had a U.S. Open qualifier when I was in high school down here at East Lake. Let’s just say it was a rough area around the golf course. It’s very awesome to see they’ve put a lot of work into and helping the community be able to achieve. The school has done great, great things, and being able to get kids to go to college and give them a proper education.

“Any time you see any foundation or whatever that’s getting really good results and doing all the right things, you definitely want to help them.”

The Drew Charter School Senior Academy opened in 2014 and completed the school’s “cradle-to-college” education mission. Drew Charter is ranked first among all Atlanta Public Schools elementary schools and third among its middle schools.

“We are so appreciative of the ongoing support from the East Lake Golf Club and from PGA TOUR players like J.B. Holmes,” said Danny Shoy, executive director of the East Lake Foundation. “This always is a special week for the East Lake Foundation, enabling us to share our story of community empowerment with a global audience. It’s because of the generosity of our strongest supporters that we can continue to strive to deliver hope to East Lake.”

During tournament week, please visit www.eastlakefoundation.org for updates from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and information on the work of the East Lake Foundation. Following the tournament, visitors can go to www.coursetogreatness.com to see the stories from the foundation and its many programs.

The East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its model for community revitalization which includes mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education and community wellness. Net proceeds from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola go to the foundation and the First Tee of East Lake.


A reversal of fortune

When you’re dealing with a golf course steeped in prestige and tradition like East Lake Golf Club, even the most subtle of changes can raise an eyebrow. However, to add even more drama to the pressure-packed season-ending TOUR Championship, the PGA TOUR and East Lake Golf Club paid homage to history while providing a fresh update to one of the game’s most historic venues.

This year, East Lake has reversed its nines, shifting the course to offer up a new challenge for the world’s best golfers in 2016. The new challenge also presents new opportunity, as the closing five holes now offer the chance for more lead changes and excitement down the stretch.

The new closing stretch kicks off with the par four, 500-plus-yard 14th hole which has long been one of the most challenging holes on the course. That’s followed up with a peninsula green on the par three 15th that will require a steely demeanor and sure tee shot.

From there, players will be greeted with a final trio of holes that boast plenty of birdie opportunities, but also the risk of steep penalties for poor tee shots with a thick Bermuda rough that can completely swallow up errant shots.

This year you’re going to have volatility; there’s just no way not to,” said Brandt Snedeker, the winner of the 2012 TOUR Championship. “You’ve got 15, somebody around the league will hit one in the water on Sunday. It’s just going to happen. It’s a tough hole. Somebody will make an eagle on Sunday or a birdie-birdie finish to finish up there, and that just wasn’t really possible with the old 17 and 18, which were so tough.

“That’s why it makes sense TV-wise, and to be honest with you, guys are all excited about it because we know we’ve got a chance come Sunday afternoon. Even from four back, we have a legitimate chance of winning the golf tournament.”

One of the most dramatic implications of the flip is how it impacts the final hole. Where the field used to have to close with a par three, which is quite unusual on most PGA TOUR layouts, now the players will have to confront a 600-yard par five.

The payoff should be remarkable, as No. 18 will revert from a hole that has yielded no eagles and only 153 birdies since 1998 to one that allowed 16 eagles and 700 birdies during the same stretch.

Count Jason Day, the world’s No. 1 player, as a fan of the new ending.

It’s a little tough to force anything on a 240-yard par three, hitting 3 irons and 2 irons, and it’s very rare do you ever see a shot go smack bang right next to the hole under the circumstances,” Day said. “I think, finishing on a par five, I’m hoping what will happen is give us a little bit more fireworks at the end, and I’m hoping that we don’t play all the way back. I’m hoping that everyone can get to the green, be able to hit the green in two, and give it a good shot at either eagling or birdieing or something like that. Nobody likes a three-shot par five, especially at the finish. Hitting a wedge shot is very boring. Being able to hit a second shot on the green and make it more exciting like that or having the chance to hole an eagle putt is very exciting.”

Part of the new wrinkle of the new No. 18 is that it previously served as a springboard for many players heading into the back nine. Jordan Speith, for instance, made a birdie at the former No. 9 in the final round that ultimately put him firmly in control of the TOUR Championship.

“I made a really cool left-to-right slider for birdie, where I think I got a stroke on Henrik (Stenson) when he had the advantage on the hole and continued that into 10 and 11, with 11 being a dagger as well,” said Speith. “So it was a big momentum shift in the round. So I can look back at that as some good memories on what is now the 18th hole.

Patrick Reed, one of the hottest players on the PGA TOUR as of late, said the change has fundamentally transformed East Lake.

“It feels like a completely different place, which is good to me,” Reed said. “I didn’t play that well the past couple of years. But 365 days in between events there’s a huge change, not only in yourself, but also an actual event.”


Meet Volunteer Charles Anderson

Years Volunteering: 11

Position: Parking

What drives you to volunteer each year?

It’s my way of giving back. Things have been pretty good for me, and giving back by volunteering in the community, especially here at East Lake, is something that I can do to make a difference.

What’s your favorite part of being a volunteer?

Seeing all the people come to East Lake from all over the world, and just seeing how excited they are for this special golf tournament.

What’s your favorite memory as a volunteer?

We had a flood with all this rain a few years ago, and we had to move our volunteer reception inside that year. But we still had a really special time, and we didn’t let the weather get us down.

Tim Finchem on East Lake: “It’s a game changer.”

On Tuesday morning, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem addressed the media gathered at East Lake Golf Club for his annual State of the PGA TOUR conversation. He touched on several points related to the tournament and the game of golf, as well as sharing his thoughts on the progress and work done by the East Lake Foundation:

Of course, I think everybody knows the story when Tom Cousins reached out to us about possibly playing a competition here. Part of our team came up, looked around the property, called me and said, The golf course is pretty good but not sure we want to play here. We had a couple whiskey bottles thrown at us, a couple gunshots went off. Those were the early days before this whole area became transformed with the genius of Tom Cousins.

So we decided to try to play something special here just to really take advantage of the golf course, but communicate what has happened here. And, of course, the rest is history. Now, East Lake Foundation has fueled what is Purpose-Built Communities, which is in one way or the other now in 40 different cities getting going. It’s a game changer.

One of the single most difficult things in our country is to change the intransigency of inner city poverty and lack of education. It’s disheartening we’re not hearing that subject discussed in the presidential election. That ought to be one of the top ten things these candidates are talking about. How do you deal with this problem? I think, if they were talking about it, this would be an example of the kind of thing that can be done. We’re very proud of our partnership with Tom and the foundation. We look forward to many more years of being here.


The quest for the HOPE shot

One of the unique traditions at the TOUR Championship are the HOPE and TRADITION shots that open up the PGA TOUR’s season-ending event at East Lake Golf Club. While the TRADITION shot is taken by a legend of the game, the HOPE shot puts the spotlight on the next generation of golfers.

Through the First Tee of East Lake, young golfers vie for the opportunity to hit the ceremonial HOPE shot prior to the first round of the TOUR Championship. Go behind the scenes of this unique tradition and see who will tee it up Thursday morning.