The Forecaddie recently slipped on a virtual reality headset to watch a young girl named Beatrice haul water back to her rural Zambian village. It wasn’t lost on The Man Out Front that he was watching Beatrice toil from the comfort of a cushy chair at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Fla., only a handful of days away from Thanksgiving.
The passion that Betsy King poured into an LPGA Hall of Fame career has been directed toward charitable giving now for more than a decade through her Golf Fore Africa initiative.
This year alone King is closing in on $2.5 million.
At the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, King watched with interest as Amy Olson played in the final group over the weekend. Every time Olson gets in contention, like she did in two majors this season, donations surge. Olson, who is now working on funding a second mechanized well in Zambia, wears a hat with Golf Fore Africa’s logo inside the ropes.
King has been to Africa 22 times and raised more than $9 million since 2007. Her high-end events yield an average donation of $1,000, but she’s ready for a new challenge in 2019 through the 10×10 for $10 Million Campaign.
“This is our first time to try to reach a mass audience,” King told TMOF.
With World Water Day taking place March 22, King’s charity has decided to sponsor the second round of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix. King’s logo would be seen on event tickets, on tee boxes and scoreboards and the virtual reality headsets would be on hand so that players and fans can see what clean water can do to empower women and save lives.
King hopes to enlist players from both the LPGA and PGA Tour, as well as college golf teams, social media influencers and juniors from the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program to help spread the word of donating $10 and recruiting 10 others to do the same. The pro who raises the most money for the campaign will be able to join King on a trip to Africa next December. Juli Inkster, Stacy Lewis, Mo Martin and Cheyenne Woods are among those who have traveled with King to Africa over the years.
The 63-year-old King is two years into a five-year pledge to raise $10 million for World Vision to help end the Global Water Crisis. There are 844 million people who lack access to basic drinking water. And the crisis disproportionately impacts women and girls who collectively spend an estimated 200 million hours hauling water each day.
“Fifty dollars brings clean water to one person for a lifetime,” King said.
‘Tis the season to give. Gwk