Evans Scholar Program

Birmingham Country Club has a long, rich history of supporting the Evans Scholar Program.   The first BCC caddies to receive Evans Scholarships were Leonard Cyr and Dennis Granger in 1952.  Since then, 52 BCC caddies have been awarded scholarships.

In the past four years, 12 Birmingham CC caddies have been awarded an Evans Scholarship.  Each scholarship is valued at $100,000 and covers the full cost of tuition and housing for four years.  BCC recipients attend either Michigan State University or the University of Michigan, and live off campus in the Evans Scholarship House for all four years. In 2017 four BCC caddies received a scholarship.

Thanks to your generosity, Birmingham Country Club ranked #6 in the state of Michigan and #44 nationally in terms of 2017 Evans Scholars Foundation contributions.  Thank you for your support!

Our newest 2017 Evans Scholars are listed below, along with their message to the membership:

Brandon Burlage

I would like to thank the members of the committee for all of their generous donations. Your contributions have allowed my dream to continue my studies at a university possible. You all have created an achievement that caddies strive for in order to change their lives in a positive manner. Thanks to your help, I one day will also be able to give back to the caddy community so another hard working kid may also fulfill his or her dream.

Thank you for making all of this possible.  I will be continuing my studies at Michigan State University. I plan to study engineering while there. I’m very excited for these next few years and studying along side my other Evans friends.

Griffin DeWitt

This is a great honor and will most definitely be of great assistance to me and my family. I cannot wait to begin my career as an Evans Scholar at Michigan State in August! 

I would also like to thank everyone for their support of Birmingham Country Club’s caddie program. Each loop for a caddie is beneficial and allows us to further develop and fine-tune our skills. Caddying isn’t easy at first, but opportunities and counsel to beginning caddies from members is influential and greatly appreciated! 

I am so grateful that I have been awarded this scholarship, and I am excited to start school at MSU as an Evans Scholar in the August. Again, none of this would have been possible without your support of BCC’s caddie program and the Western Golf Association. Thank you for everything. I couldn’t have gotten here without your help.

Garrett Sarvello

Thank you so much for all of your help over the years. The opportunity to caddy for you

has been a pleasure and has opened doors for me that I never dreamed it would. Your generous donations to the Evans Scholarship Foundation helped the Western Golf Association change my life and lives of caddies across the country. I take great pride in being able to represent Birmingham Country Club in the Evans Scholarship program and I appreciate everything you have done to help get me there.  In the Fall, I will be attending Michigan State University. Yesterday I went to New Scholar Day at the MSU house and it was a blast! I got to meet the other New Scholars from across the state and learn about the house I will be living in for the next four years. I am so excited for this next part of my life and I promise I will make BCC proud.

Grant Williams

On Monday March 27th I had the greatest moment of my life, as I received an Evans Scholarship. Being named an Evans Scholar brought overwhelming joy and excitement to my family and myself, because it has changed my life forever.   I worked as hard as I could in school, and at Birmingham Country Club, and strived everyday to be the best person I could be, but becoming an Evans Scholar involved a lot more than just myself. Without the members of Birmingham Country Club, I would not be able to say I am an Evans Scholar, which is why I am so thankful for all of you.

When I was in Middle School, I signed up to caddie at Birmingham, and that decision turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in my life. I am so thankful and appreciative to every single member at Birmingham Country Club. The generous donations that you all have given to the Western Golf Association have completely changed my world. I am able to say I am going to Michigan State University on a Full Tuition and Housing Scholarship, which is something not many people get to experience.  When I get to Michigan State, I plan on majoring in Business and the Financial Field.  

Again, thank you so much for the donations over the years. I cannot fully put into words how thankful I am for everyone at Birmingham and I will be forever grateful. Becoming an Evans Scholar is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

These four young men join our other BCC Evans Scholars currently attending college:

  • Kenneth O’Hanlon is finishing his senior year at U of M, and is studying chemical engineering.
  • Jonathon Reid and Bradley Taylor are both finishing their junior year at MSU. Johnny is a finance/marketing major and Bradley is studying marketing.
  • Lorenzo Bongiovanni and Cody McKay are also finishing their junior year, at U of M. Lorenzo is majoring in cognitive science, and Cody is studying mechanical engineering.
  • Brad Merola and Cody Sarvello (Garrett’s older brother) are completing their sophomore year at MSU. Brad is an engineering major and Cody is majoring in finance.
  • Tim Cook is finishing his freshman year at MSU, where he is a chemical engineering major.

Eligibility

To receive an Evans Scholarship, candidates go through a very competitive application and interview process.  They are evaluated on all of the following criteria:

  • Strong caddie record
  • Financial need
  • High level of academic achievement
  • Excellent level of school and community involvement
  • Outstanding character

Young adults that are awarded these scholarships are hard-working achievers.  The program has a 4-year graduation rate of 95%.  The average GPA for an Evans Scholar is 3.3, and 24% of the Scholars are female.

Birmingham Country Club uses “opt out” billing for processing our club’s “Par Club” annual donations.  Par Club has several giving levels: base Par Club is $250; Birdie level is $500; Eagle level is $750; Hole-in-One level is $1,000; and Match Play level is $2,500.  Unless you designate otherwise, a basic level Par Club donation of $250 will be charged on your May BCC statement.  If you want to increase your donation amount, or opt out entirely, simplify notify Jill Sabiston prior to May 31.

100% of your donation is tax-deductible, and your tax receipt will be mailed directly to your home by the Evans Scholars Foundation.  All Par Club donors will receive Par Club bag tags and will be listed in the Foundation’s Annual Donor Report.

Thank you for your continued support of the Evans Scholars Program, which provides a life-changing, college education for deserving caddies.  If you have any questions about the Program, please speak with BCC Members and WGA Directors Martin French, Pam Ruthven, or Jeff Sadowski.

History and Background

The Evans Scholars Foundation is a charitable trust that provides full, four-year tuition and housing college scholarships to deserving caddies. The Foundation is overseen by the Western Golf Association, which also runs three prestigious golf tournaments, including the BMW Championship.

In 1929, famed golfer Chick Evans Jr., asked the Western Golf Association (WGA) to administer the fund he had established some years earlier to send deserving caddies to college. He could think of no finer organization to entrust his legacy and grow his vision.

In 1930, the WGA awarded its first two scholarships to caddies Harold Fink and Jim McGinnis. They would attend Northwestern University, the same school where Chick Evans had studied.  Until World War II, all Evans Scholars continued to attend Northwestern, and it was here that the first Evans Scholars Chapter House was established. The first Evans Scholarship House was established at Northwestern University in 1940. The Scholarship House concept— Evans Scholars living and learning together — is one of the attributes that makes the program unique, and continues to his day.

Tuition to Northwestern in 1930 was $150 per year, and plenty of Chick’s money was left over. Naturally, he wanted to do more.  The WGA had to find more caddies. The WGA board established three requirements for selection: scholarship, fellowship and leadership. Using this criteria, they selected a dozen more caddie scholarship winners. The WGA Directors participating in the selection process came to realize the impact of Chick’s dream on the lives of young men with limited access to a college education.

When Chick’s original investment was exhausted, the WGA Directors perpetuated the caddie scholarship program by leaving money on the boardroom table after a day of interviews and selections. This “collection plate” process was the sole means of revenue through the early 1940s, when WGA began to solicit funds outside the Association.

In 1949, Roland F. “Mac” McGuigan, Dean of Men at Northwestern and Faculty Advisor to the Northwestern Chapter of Evans Scholars, was appointed WGA’s Educational Director. During his nearly 40-year tenure, 13 new Scholarship Houses were founded, bringing today’s total to 14. In order of their founding, Evans Scholarship Houses can be found at: Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Marquette, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Miami and Oregon.

Today, the Evans Scholars Foundation has become golf’s favorite charity. More than 30,600 Par Club members contribute annually in Chick’s honor to the Evans Scholars Program so the WGA can continue to meet tuition and housing costs that exceed $20 million each year.

More than 640 men and women from the many golf clubs affiliated with WGA served as Directors of WGA. These Directors, nicknamed “Greencoats” for the green blazers they wear, are involved in the activities of the Foundation, giving generously of their time, attention and financial resources. Birmingham Country Club currently has three directors: Martin French, Pam Ruthven, and Jeff Sadowski.

Importantly, The Evans Scholars Foundation is a well-managed charity, having earned a four star rating (highest) from Charity Navigator, an independent rating agency that evaluates charities.

Evans Scholarship Facts and Figures

  • 270 full tuition and housing awards in 2017
  • 965 Evans Scholars enrolled at 20 universities for the 2016-17 academic year
  • Evans Scholarship Houses at 14 universities
  • Comprehensive selection criteria includes academics, financial need, caddie record and strong character and leadership
  • Evans Scholars are campus leaders in academic and extracurricular activities
  • Cumulative GPA is 3.3
  • Graduation rate is 95%
  • 24% of the participants in the  Evans Scholar Program are women
  • 10,617 Evans Scholars Alumni
  • Nation’s largest scholarship program for golf caddies
  • Golf’s favorite charity with over 30,600 annual Par Club members
  • Program ambassadors include more than 500 WGA Directors nationwide
  • More than $365 million in tuition and housing scholarships awarded all-time
  • Average total value of an Evans Scholarship is more than $100,000 over four years
  • Alumni contributed $10 million in 2016 and $114 million cumulatively
  • $20 million in annual scholarship costs to be paid in 2016-17 academic year
  • Program funding: Par Club contributions and major gifts, 72%; tournament and events, 18%; other contributions such as bag tag membership, memorials and bequests, 10%.