First Tee of Greater New Orleans awarded grant from Gia Maione Prima Foundation

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NEW ORLEANS – Gia Maione Prima Foundation announced that First Tee of Greater New Orleans was awarded a three-year, $50,000 grant to help provide after-school and summer camp transportation for local youth.

Gia was a singer and widow of famous New Orleans jazz musician, Louis Prima. Gia was also an artist and a devotee of the fine arts. The Foundation makes donations that serve religious, charitable, scientific, literary and educational purposes.

Louis Prima, born in New Orleans in 1910, made a name for himself as a trumpeter, singer and bandleader in New York, Hollywood and Las Vegas. Prima purchased a home and large tract of land in Covington off Highway 190 that originally had a quarter-mile horse track and Prima later added a golf course. The development, called Pretty Acres, also featured miniature golf, horseback riding and swimming.

First Tee of Greater New Orleans provides educational programs for young people ages 5-18 that teach character education, life skills and healthy habits, through the game of golf. First Tee’s goal is for youth who complete their program to develop a plan for college or careers upon graduating from high school, with the skills needed to successfully transition to adulthood and the desire to give back and positively transform their communities.

First Tee will use the grant funds to purchase a passenger van and provide transportation for students from schools across New Orleans to participate in their Life Skills Experience after-school program they provide at twelve local golf facilities.

“Our Foundation is proud to support First Tee of Greater New Orleans with a grant that will provide assistance for the transportation needs of local youth in the after-school and summer camp programs” said Anthony Sylvester, Trustee to the Gia Maione Prima Foundation. “Louis and Gia Prima loved golf, and this grant will help provide young people with the opportunity to learn the game of golf while making a difference in the lives of those students.”

“We greatly appreciate Gia Maione Prima Foundation’s support for First Tee. This grant will allow us to overcome one of our greatest obstacles we’ve encountered over the past several years – getting students to and from our golf courses during after-school hours” said Chip Patterson, Executive Director of First Tee of Greater New Orleans.

First Tee of Greater New Orleans currently impacts over 30,000 young people in the community through its life skills, character education and healthy habits programs provided at local golf facilities, elementary schools and youth serving facilities. First Tee currently is offering its Winter Life Skills Experience program, which starts January 11th, at multiple golf facilities and registration is open at

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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