January 14th, 2007
BY ARTHUR UTLEY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
The favorite musical group for Eddie Swink, director of development for the Virginia State Golf Association Foundation, is a no-brainer.
The answer is The Dave Matthews Band, and one of the reasons is the charitable arm of the megastars from Charlottesville, Bama Works, has made a significant gift to the VSGA Foundation.
The three-year commitment will give young golfers the opportunity to use the sport as a way to learn and develop personal and life skills through the Robins Junior Programs at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, the statewide home for golf that is owned and operated by the foundation.
"The impact is so big by who the Dave Matthews Band is. They're somebody special, and to have their commitment means so much," Swink said.
How did the VSGA Foundation and Bama Works, which usually focuses its commitments on youth programs in the Charlottesville area, hook up?
Years ago, Swink coached Andy Rothenberg, who was a member of the golf team at St. Christopher's.
Rothenberg now manages affairs for Boyd Tinsley, the DMB's violin/fiddle player, and the band. Swink and Rothenberg renewed acquaintances about five years ago, Swink said, and Rothenberg has become a member of the VSGA Foundation board.
"Andy believed in what we're doing for at-risk children [through golf]," Swink said.
The Bama Works contribution will go to scholarships for children from the Police Athletic League, Boys and Girls Clubs and the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls who attend the programs and camps at Independence.
"If it wasn't for Andy, this wouldn't have happened," Swink said. "He has a big heart. The way he feels about kids, he really goes after it."
Since the Robins Junior Programs began a little more than five years ago, more than 8,700 children (a record 2,735 in 2006) from a variety of backgrounds have had learning opportunities.
"With the efforts and energies of organizations like Bama Works, we're moving forward in continuing to provide the resources necessary to bring children to this wonderful game while at the same time affecting their lives in a meaningful way," Swink said.