DEF Tinka Golf Tourney raises big bucks for DISD kids

Denison’s unique community-school partnership has once again funded huge benefits for Denison ISD students through near-record proceeds raised by the Denison Education Foundation’s 2019 Tinka Looney Memorial Golf Tournament.

“We’re at $49,000 and counting, which is a tremendous amount of money for a golf tournament that originated more than 20 years ago,” said DEF Executive Director Lisa Crawley. “The growth and success of this tournament is a wonderful testament to the memory of longtime education advocate Tinka Looney…and to Denison’s amazing commitment to its schools and children.”

According to numerous local golfers who play in the annual Tinka tournament, the life expectancy of most charity tournaments is usually ten years or less.

“This one has taken on a life of its own,” said former DEF Board member Matt Looney, Tinka’s oldest of four son. “It’s a wonderful tribute to our mother because it keeps her memory and her strong ties to Denison education alive in all our hearts and minds. But it’s also a great tribute to our Denison people who always put children first. I’m very thankful for the many friends, golfers and sponsors who support us with their time, efforts and generosity…and proud of what we continue to accomplish for our kids.”

According to Crawley, the golf tournament has raised more than a half-million dollars over the years, contributing generously to the more than $1.5 million that DEF has funded in classroom grants.

“Our sponsors and players are incredibly loyal, and we appreciate them so much,” said Crawley. “The Smith Foundation commits $10,000 every year, with the money specifically earmarked for classrooms grants, and we’re so grateful for their continued generosity.”

Other sponsors continue to give year after year, citing the importance of excellence in education and Tinka Looney’s legacy as their main reasons for giving.

Casey and Kara Shires say they became major donors because they want all Denison children to become the best they can be.

“Denison has incredibly great schools, which is the main reason we decided to move back here permanently,” said Casey. “We have four kids in our Denison schools…who are taught by amazing teachers who work hard every day to ensure that all Denison children get everything they need to be successful in school and in life. If Kara and I can help them in those efforts with our time and our resources, by investing in education, then we’re going to do that…and we hope others will join us. Our kids are our future, and Denison is our home. It’s just the right thing to do.”

According to DISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott, the benefits are far-reaching for the thousands of students impacted by classroom enrichment grants.

“In order to help our kids master the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in today’s college and work environments, we must constantly supplement the basics of education with enhanced programs that keep our kids engaged and competitive. We are so blessed to live in a community that very generously provides everything our kids need to be successful.”

Dozens of excited young musicians gathered with Band Director Brandon Fisher in Scott Middle School’s band hall to celebrate a recent $4,663 DEF Fall Grant award for an enrichment program entitled “Intonation Lab”. “We’re grateful beyond words,” said Fisher. “These grants help our kids stay engaged and excited about learning music.”

Denison Education Foundation board members traveled to Scott Middle School to present librarian Kari Uber with a $5,000 Fall Grant award for “Growing A Passion for Reading One Book at a Time.” Proceeds from the 2019 Tinka Looney Memorial Golf Tournament provided funding for the fall grants.

Lamar teacher Kenna Brandt, back right, partnered with fellow teacher Carla Bucher to earn a $2,000 grant award for “A Recipe for Successful Reading” – and with colleague Ashley Smith, back left, to earn another $2,000 grant award for “Ladders to Literacy and Math.”

Lisa Cobble, second grade teacher at Houston Elementary, was awarded $4,964 to purchase an innovative learning program entitled “Molding the Minds of America’s Future Scientists.”

“Beebots” at Lamar Elementary School is one of hundreds of innovative learning programs funded by Denison Education Foundation grants that are currently benefitting students in classrooms throughout Denison ISD.

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