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Executives with Regions Bank and the PGA TOUR Discuss Equity and Community Engagement at the Regions Tradition

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From left: Marsha Oliver, vice president of Community & Inclusion for the PGA TOUR; Clara Green, head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with Regions Bank and Leroy Abrahams head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank and president of the Regions Foundation. (PROVIDED PHOTO)
By Evelyn Mitchell
Doing More Today

The Regions Tradition, a PGA TOUR Champions major sponsored by Regions Bank, brings players, fans, and businesses together for five days of golf benefitting Children’s of Alabama and a variety of other local charities. The tournament also brings together two organizations that are investing time and financial resources to create greater equity in their industries and the communities where they work and play – Regions and the PGA TOUR.

At the 2021 Regions Tradition, Marsha Oliver, vice president of Community & Inclusion for the PGA TOUR, and Leroy Abrahams head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank and president of the Regions Foundation, joined Clara Green, head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with Regions Bank, for a wide-ranging discussion tied to their organizations’ shared interest in lifting communities and their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion journeys.

“It’s really one of those rare moments where we get the chance to talk with one of our partners about the work that they are doing in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Green. “I just love to see how the dots continue to connect across the efforts of both organizations.”

Takeaways from the discussion

Oliver – on PGA TOUR initiatives to increase access and diversify the sport of golf:

“The image of golf has long been deemed a homogenous sport—access, cost, customs. Those are the barriers that are contributing to that reality. The PGA TOUR began a relationship with an organization called the APGA. It’s the Advocates Tour. Their sole mission is designed to bring greater diversity to the game of golf, to introduce minority golfers to the ability to play at the professional level,” said Oliver. “We will identify the top five Black collegiate players across the NCAA Division I, II and III Programs, and we will give them the opportunity, scholarship them on to play on the Advocates Tour, in the APGA Tour. And then, from there, they will get stipends to go on to our Korn Ferry qualifying tour, which is our elite preparatory tour. Those are the efforts that we believe can help change and increase the access and the opportunity for more diverse golfers.”

Abrahams – on Regions’ vision to advance racial equity through philanthropy

“There are groups of individuals that have not been able to participate to the same level in the economic prosperity of our country. How do we target those individuals? Because, by lifting the group that’s not participating, we lift everyone,” said Abrahams. “If you think of the ways wealth is created in this country, it’s home ownership, business ownership, and then over the past — call it 20 years or so — it’s really been access to broadband, access to things that enable people to have more digital connectivity. So, by again focusing in these places (through the Regions Foundation), we believe we’re helping to advance the cause of equity overall in our community.”

The Tradition Continues

Over the history of the Regions Tradition and its predecessors, the event has raised more than $19 million for charity. Today, the tournament’s primary beneficiary remains Children’s of Alabama, a hospital serving the needs of children and young people across the Southeast. Visit regionstradition.com for more news on this year’s Regions Tradition.