Reed Park Learn-to-Play program, 2013

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Oklahoma has a vibrant disc golf community with a long history. There are a number of golf clubs with active membership rolls throughout the state. In 2009, a small group of community-minded disc golfers set out to create a disc golf foundation, not a club, but a public charity whose function would be to facilitate fund-raising for disc golf related activities. We wanted to be able to approach businesses and individuals for donations which would be tax deductible. We didn’t want to duplicate the activities of existing disc golf clubs, but to help facilitate their goals through fundraising. There was quite a bit of legal groundwork and paperwork that had to be done to get there, but by 2010 we were recognized by the IRS as a tax exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

In order to be recognized as a tax exempt charity, we had to develop bylaws and articles of incorporation that spelled out our charitable activities. The original board of directors included me, a retired physician, Kyle Wilkes, central district executive director overseeing 3 local YMCAs, and Paul Dorries, an accountant. We are all avid disc golfers. We each threw in a little money towards our cause and hired a lawyer who had previously set up non-profits to guide us through the legal hoops. The following is the structure that we came up with:

The Oklahoma Disc Golf Foundation is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit Oklahoma corporation whose purpose is to support amateur and recreational disc golf in the state of Oklahoma.

Programs:

  • Learn to Play: The sport of disc golf is introduced to school groups, youth groups, community center youth programs, church groups, etc. 
  • Amateur Development: Junior players aged 18 and under are supported with tournament entry fee grants, PDGA membership grants, and promising players may receive travel grants to attend major competitions. 
  • Course Development and Maintenance: New courses are developed and existing courses are maintained to provide the opportunity for the public to participate in disc golf recreational activities. 

Almost as an afterthought, Kyle Wilkes suggested that we add wording in our organizing documents saying that the OKDGF could also donate money to other tax-exempt organizations. Even though this is not listed in our literature as one of our 3 “core” programs, it has become one of the most important functions of our organization.

We are now in our fourth year of existence, and we have really changed a lot. The original board members were all Tulsa-based, but we found that the Oklahoma City disc golf community often used the OKDGF to facilitate fund-raising, so this year we added two new members to our Board of Directors, Chuck Bayless and Matt Nevius, who are both from the OKC area. Our board is set up to change over time, and the maximum length of service is 7 years. Paul Dorries married Liz Lopez and moved off to San Antonio, thereby leaving the Board. He was replaced by Dough Duff.

In 2012 we raised $8,304 and spent $7,942 of that on our programs. This year, with the addition of our new board members and a with a higher profile in our community, things have really exploded and so far in 2013, not yet a full 6 months into the year, and we have had $20,854 in fundraising income and have spent $18,412 on our programs.

Where is all this money coming from? Well, a big part of it was infused through the activities of Dough Duff, one of the premier TD’s in the Tulsa area. He has run the Tulsa Ice Bowl in 2012 and in 2013, and has topped the nation in fundraising for ice bowls in 2012 and was second in 2013. In 2012 he took the $12,000 or so in proceeds to his local bank, much of this in cash, and had a cashier’s check made out to the Community Food Bank of Northeastern Oklahoma. A few months later he received a call from the bank demanding more info about where all this money came from. It made him nervous, thinking that he might have to declare this money as income on his own taxes or even worse, get reported to the DEA or FBI as a potential money-launderer. So, in 2013, he ran the $11,099 that he raised in the Ice Bowl though the OKDGF bank account. We wrote the check to the food bank - a neat, perfectly legal and above-board paper trail using the bank account of a public charity, the OKDGF.

We have also had over $5000 go through our bank account last year which was raised by a local golfer (Duane Sellers) and his pals in a fire relief tournament to help the victims of a large wildfire that left many people homeless in Northeastern Oklahoma.

My thanks to Kyle for getting us to put re-gifting into our articles of incorporation, because the disc golf community really wants to help the community at large by “giving back” through charitable activities. Recently we have received a lot of donations to help with tornado relief to the folks in Moore, Oklahoma who experienced the devastating tornado last month. These donations are not just from within our state either, we have individuals like Fernando Brown from California raffling off collectible discs to raise money, and far flung clubs like the Rocket City Disc Golf Club in Huntsville, Alabama raising money for this cause, and using us as a trustworthy mechanism for getting the money used in the right way.

Visit www.okdgf.org for more information or to contact us. 

By: James Geurin, MD - “Dr. Jim” 30986