Chuck Gardner with Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation
By Matt Cannizzaro and Josh Blanchard
In September, we continue our monthly spotlights with Chuck Gardner and the Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation.
Gardner has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years and served many roles.
Most recently, scaling back his time as a ball representative for the brands of Brunswick has allowed him and his wife, Deborah, to ramp up their efforts with the Chuck Gardner Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation, which was created in 2013.
Besides being an ambassador for the now seven brands of Brunswick, Gardner also has been a part of the IBSPIA family for 10 years. He currently serves as a member of the IBSPIA Board of Directors and provides valuable feedback about how the organization can strengthen its brand for its members.
Often, behind every great man stands a supportive and caring spouse or support network. In Gardner’s case, it is Deborah.
Along with working her normal job, she works tirelessly behind the scenes of the Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation handling all the day-to-day paperwork. This year, the couple will be celebrating 37 years of marriage.
We sat down with the Gardner’s this month to discuss how they got involved in bowling and how this scholarship foundation got its roots.
Q: Why was the Bowl4Life Foundation founded and in what year??
G: In 2013, the Chuck Gardner Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation was established.
The foundation originally was designed to run team travel events over nine months to help the youth bowlers prepare for the annual Junior Gold Championships.
Chuck desired to create more of a legacy with Bowl4Life and to touch a greater number of junior bowlers throughout the United States. Therefore, the Bowl4Life mission moved in the direction of growing the sport of bowling and assisting young people in their quest of paying for college.
Q: Who benefits from the foundation, and how can someone help support it?
G: Any bowler who is USBC Smart Fund-eligible may apply for a Bowl4Life scholarship.
There are numerous ways to help support Bowl4Life.
We want to get the B4L name out there by people wearing our logo! If you bowl, have the Bowl4Life logo on your shirts.
Support in the way of sponsorships. We have $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500 and $5,000 annual levels. These details may be found on our website or by contacting email@example.com.
We are a registered non-profit, so the donations are tax deductible.
Anyone can be a sponsor, so if you know of a business or person wanting to be involved, this is a great way. *The $250 level is not available to businesses.
We try to do a monthly contest or raffle of some sort. Tickets may be purchased online, and helping to promote this and encouraging people to participate – even helping to sell tickets in your area – would be helpful.
If you wish to sell tickets to our events in your area, just let us know, and we will supply you with the information.
Q: What are your five- and 10-year goals for the foundation?
G: Our five-year goal would be to fund one full year of tuition for a single recipient. How cool would that be?
We’d also love to hit the $1 million in scholarship awards!!!
Our 10-year goal would be to expand our offerings to more clinics and seminars to help young people navigate the sport. We have recently begun partnering with the Brunswick Youth Experience as a test of this market.
Q: When you started the foundation, did you ever imagine it would be where it is today?
G: That is a two-sided question.
On one hand, absolutely not. We never thought we could award over $100k in a single year.
On the other hand, it is hard to imagine that every single professional bowler, every bowling center and pro shop, every bowling business of any kind, every junior league, and every bowling tournament is not a part of Bowl4Life, even if in a small way.
Q: What got you into bowling, and what drives you to stay so involved in the sport for so many years?
G: I had a lot of friends who bowled, and I had a desire to compete. My competitive nature is stronger than most people realize. Winning never gets old.
Bowling has given me a wonderful platform to make a difference. I feel an obligation to the sport since it has enabled me to live the life I have. Bowling has provided me and my family a life for which we are all extremely grateful.
Giving back to the bowling community is easy and very fulfilling.
Q: After your years coaching and being a ball representative on the PBA Tour and PWBA Tour, what would be one change to the game you feel would help it grow and flourish?
G: My vision is actually a bit different.
I think the game itself is fine. Our sport would benefit from less negativity. I think if the influencers and the difference/decision makers would work together, our sport would be in a better place.
When people in these positions have personal agendas and cannot find a way to be cohesive, the sport remains stagnant.
We would like to thank both Chuck and Deb Gardner for their time in answering this month’s questions during a very busy time for both of them.
To find out more information about the Bowl4Life Scholarship Foundation, or to help donate, head to bowl4life.com or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are proud of our members and encourage them all to work together to share knowledge. It will help make their businesses AND the industry stronger.