Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Tiger Woods and Upper Deck Team Up for Labor Day Weekend

Online Event to Benefit TGR Foundation

 

September 3, 2020

TGR Foundation

TGR Foundation and Upper Deck: a partnership that continues to grow

Officially, Labor Day is a time to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. Like apple pie, Labor Day sales have become an institution in the United States. This weekend, sports fans and memorabilia collectors can take advantage of a unique 20-year partnership and help support education at the same time. And as a sign of the times, all one needs is a mobile device, home computer or online accessibility.

Labor Day Weekend is also the unofficial end of summer, a time when students across the United States have just started their new school year. Due to the current pandemic fewer students will be in physical school classrooms this fall. They're more likely to be studying from home, where instruction, homework and tests are conducted predominantly online.

TGR Foundation, a Tiger Woods Charity for the advancement of education, and Upper Deck, a leading seller of trading cards, autographed sports memorabilia and collectibles, are selling Tiger Woods autographed items to raise funds for TGR Foundation through Tuesday, September 8. Upper Deck is donating 25% of those sales from upperdeckstore.com directly to the TGR Foundation to support their critical educational programs.

"We empower students to pursue their passions through education" is the mission statement emblazoned on the tgrfoundation.org website. The organization promotes positive youth development while encouraging self-advocacy skills. Their programs are designed to foster growth, instill strength and skills to persevere and define each student's own path.

Established on November 18, 1996, TGR Foundation is excited about the future and its upcoming 25th anniversary next year. Keeping a peripheral eye on the ball, the organization is currently focused on meeting the needs of students, families and teachers as they navigate remote learning caused by the pandemic.

"We support the TGR Foundation in a variety of ways every year," said Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck for the past 7 1/2 years. "But, they're doing some additional fundraising to really help with the education inequality that we have in the United States. In particular, right now with all the distance learning, that gap is even bigger."

Kathy Bihr, Vice President, Programs and Education at TGR Foundation replied: "Upper Deck recognized a terrific opportunity to direct a portion of sales from Tiger memorabilia toward supporting the work of the Foundation, and the timing couldn't be better with how strong the interest has been in memorabilia recently."

The fundraiser's impact on TGR Foundation will help support the free online STEM and college resources that help students, families and teachers engage in distance learning. "These tools for students and teachers have always been important, but with many schools operating remotely during the pandemic, the resources found at TGREDUExplore.org are even more useful as we work to support these educators in new ways," said Bihr.

Guaranteeing the validity of the items is a crucial part of the established bond between Woods and Upper Deck. "Tiger Woods and Upper Deck have enjoyed a great partnership for more than 20 years, and since that relationship began, Upper Deck has been the only company to offer authenticated autographed memorabilia from Tiger."

"If you're considering going out and buying a Tiger Woods piece, buy it now," said Masherah, laying out a number of reasons for sports fans and collectors to participate in the sale. "Help a great cause. Support the Foundation. And be happy that you got a chance to redecorate and put some things up in your house. Or put something real cool in the background of your Zoom meeting."

What's available are authenticated Tiger Woods autographs and memorabilia, including photos, prints, framed pieces, polo shirts and hats. The online event isn't an auction so the prices are set. There are Tiger pieces that start from $99 and go up to as high as $35,000 for a special one of one piece. That's Masharah's favorite item, which he called absolutely incredible. It's a large framed-piece, triple-signed by Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

Bihr elaborated: "They have worked with Tiger and TGR to create some beautiful and truly unique memorabilia pieces that allow Tiger to share some of his biggest moments with his fans, everything from signed pin flags to large-format autographed images from his most notable career achievements to autographed tournament-worn items."

Upper Deck has been a supporter of organizations like TGR Foundation and the LeBron James Family Foundation, including the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. Masharah revealed that Tiger and LeBron are heavily involved in their charitable efforts: "Quite frankly, they don't get enough credit for the work that they do outside of sports, giving back in communities. It's something that they do spend a lot of time on. People just don't see it."

Jevone Moore

Tiger Woods, 20-plus year relationship with Upper Deck

"It is impressive to see the amount of work, effort and time that both of these guys put in to really making sure that they're making a difference. Very similar to Tiger, we feel a sense of responsibility to give back as well. We feel like we're in a very fortunate position to work with the greatest athletes and the greatest sports and entertainment properties in the world."

Grateful to Upper Deck for generating support for the TGR Foundation, Bihr emphasized that there's also a visibility component that can't be overlooked. "While Tiger and his parents established the foundation nearly 25 years ago and it has grown into an organization that has positively impacted 1.6 million students, many of them in Southern California, our work in supporting more kids and spreading the word about TGR Foundation never stops."

 

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