PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America has named Wendell Haskins as its new Senior Director of Diversity and Multi-Cultural Initiatives. Haskins, who has created and managed high-impact, charitable events, such as the Original Tee Golf Classic and the Soul Train Invitational benefitting the Don Cornelius Foundation, will be responsible for advancing the PGA's multi-cultural diversity strategy, and developing, managing and executing inclusionary programs and initiatives throughout the world’s largest sports organization.
A dynamic executive and entrepreneur within golf and entertainment, Haskins, 46, fostered charitable and diversity-minded events that have honored pioneers and icons in sports through high-profile golf outings. Among those who were either honored by the Original Tee Golf Classic or held charitable events managed by Haskins, include: groundbreaking PGA Professionals Charlie Sifford and Renee Powell; and basketball stars Julius "Dr. J." Erving, Alonzo Mourning, George Gervin and Sam Jones. The Original Tee event has benefited Golf to End Cancer, the Bill Dickey Scholarship Association and The Clearview Legacy Foundation. As well, Haskins has organized charitable events with former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks, former NBA player Rod Strickland and The National Black MBA Association.
"We’re delighted to have such an accomplished talent in the fields of diversity, multi-cultural inclusion, sports and entertainment as Wendell Haskins join the PGA of America," said PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua. "Wendell brings a background that shows the path and blueprint the game of golf must follow in order to advance our great game to people of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The PGA is excited about the opportunities that exist to partner with sports, entertainment and industry icons to make golf a game for all."
Haskins’ unique skillset and ability to converge the worlds of entertainment, fashion, golf and philanthropy have drawn new audiences to the game. Since 1999, the Original Tee has grown from Haskins' vision to leverage golf, fashion and entertainment, as a means to highlight the history and many contributions of African-Americans to the game. As well, his expertise has made him a sought-after event producer, panelist and speaker. He has appeared at the South Africa Golf Summit, The World Diversity Leadership Summit at the United Nations and spoken to numerous youth groups to advocate participation, diversity and inclusion in the game.
"I'm excited about the leadership opportunity here at the PGA to engage a more diverse, multicultural audience," said Haskins. "The PGA of America has a tremendous influence over growing the game, and there are people who are influencers in sports and entertainment who move needles. We can work with them to serve as ambassadors for golf, in order to help the game grow to new heights. These people play golf avidly, and they have so much influence on youth culture. They seek golf out as a cool alternative."
A Hampton (Va.) University graduate, Haskins started his career as a fundraising executive at the United Way of New York City in 1990, where he was division director responsible for raising $1.7 million for the health and human service agencies of New York City.
Haskins served from 1996-2000 as Director of Artist and Repertoire/Artist Development for Island Records' Def Jam Recordings label, where he worked with iconic international acts, such as LL Cool J and many others.
The 2009 Outstanding Leader in Golf Award winner from African American Golfer's Digest, Haskins has also been recognized as the 2012 Ambassador of the Year by Golf to End Cancer. Recently, he has served as a Contributing Writer for The Shadow League, a sports and popular culture website and Uptown Magazine. He has worked as a contributing Stylist for Golf Channel’s "Golf in America" show and Essence Magazine, as well as a Creative Director, Television Co-Host and Style Consultant for the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.