"In 2007 I was having some conversations with people that I would consider to be in the “know” when it comes to golf. The feeling was pretty much the same across the board; junior golf in Madison, Wisconsin was suffering for numerous reasons. Upon doing more research through phone calls and emails I came to the conclusion that the answers I was getting from everybody were unacceptable. At that point I called Andy Landenberger who to this day is the still the Director of the Wisconsin PGA Junior Tour and asked him if he would have any problem if I were to start my own Junior Tour. His immediate response was go ahead and talked about how I would have no shot as the clubs in Madison were not receptive to junior golf and travel well to all the other tournaments around the state. Again, I was irritated and thought there is no reason why I couldn’t pull this Junior Tour off…..with a twist!
On the very next day I sat down with my father and went through all the names of the golf professionals in Madison and surrounding areas. I mentioned to my father that this was going to be a very different Junior Tour as we would make every tournament charitable for some cause in the community. I also knew that if adults were behind this new junior tour that it would fall flat on it’s face. So, I introduced the first ever Junior Tour Board. The only problem was, 'what am I going to call it'. Insert my wife into the conversation, and the “Bucket of Hope” Junior Tour was created. My goal was simple: Promote junior golf while raising money for the community. The key was going to be getting the golf courses donated so we could raise some meaningful money. After many phone calls, we had a Junior Tour and all the golf courses would be donated for every tournament. Our only obligation was to pay for lunch and the rest of the money was put into the “Bucket of Hope”. This Bucket of Hope is where the magic would happen. Kids that participate on the tour and Junior Tour Board members come up with the charities they are interested in helping with the “Bucket of Hope”. Those charities that were pulled out of the bucket were the ones that would be receiving the funds and the volunteers for the cause.
Since then, so many things have happened. The Bucket of Hope Junior Tour has become part of the Balance & Believe Foundation. New president Matt Hartmann has been working hard with other board members to attach their foundation to a common cause. That common cause has come in the way of helping out our very own schools right here in Madison Wisconsin. Through conversations with social workers at numerous schools we have come to the conclusion that these schools really need our help both financially and by providing mentors/volunteers for different activities. The needs of each school are specific to each school. These needs can vary from food needs, to classroom needs, to clothes, and even just paying a teacher to stay a little bit longer for an after school program. Already, the Balance & Believe Foundation has built a food pantry/service center at Falk Elementary School in Madison, and most recently got involved with the Snack Backpack program at Olson School, which provides food for those that have none during the weekends. There are 8 social workers coming up with the wish list at each school. The Balance & believe Foundation looks to keep its focus on these school for years to come. This is not a one and done Foundation, we will be there for the foreseeable future."
Founder of the Balance & Believe Foundation