James, Ponder and Scaife lend vision and support to leading junior golf program


The First Tee® of East Lake, an award-winning junior golf program based in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood, has announced three additions to its advisory board, known as the Friends of The First Tee of East Lake.


The three community leaders, selected for their dedication and commitment, include:

• Douglas D. James, Realtor, Oakwood Partners, Inc.

• Bert Ponder, Senior Vice President, CFM, Ponder, Higgins, Jowers & Associates – Merrill Lynch

• Neil Scaife, Proprietor, Old Golf Auctions Limited


“These leaders will help us further strengthen and advance our program,” said Friends Board Chairman John Frazer. “We are delighted to have them join our team, and we know they will help our program deliver even greater value to the children of East Lake.”


The First Tee of East Lake has earned a reputation as one of the strongest junior golf programs in the United States. Currently serving about 500 children ages five through 18, the innovative program develops not only strong golf skills but also critical life skills, including responsibility, integrity and confidence. First Tee of East Lake participants excel both on the golf course and in the classroom.


Other members of the Friends of The First Tee include:

• John Frazer, Friends Board Chair, Executive VP, Private Wealth Management, SunTrust Bank

• Billy Andrade, PGA TOUR Professional and Broadcaster

• Lee M. Birdsong, Manager, Account Services, Corporate Communication, Southern Company

• Mark L. Burden, Financial Representative, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

• Rick Burton, General Manager, East Lake Golf Club

• Bob Crosby, Partner, Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs• Tony Dozier, President & CEO, TDC Systems Integration

• Lillian Giornelli, Executive Director, CF Foundation

• Ira Jackson, Jr., President, Perfect Image

• J. Reese Lanier, Jr., Community Volunteer

• Douglas B. Leeson, Principal, Investment Research & Advisory Group

• Valerie Hartman-Levy, Attorney and Community Volunteer

• Chris Millard, Millard Media, LLC• Drew Reifenberger, Community Volunteer

• Tom Wamsley, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

• Cary W. Weems, Community Volunteer

• Michael A. Woocher, GenSpring Family Offices

• Comer Yates, Executive Director, Atlanta Speech School


About The First Tee of East Lake

The First Tee of East Lake ( is a year-round golf instruction and life skills program of the East Lake Foundation that uses the principles of golf – discipline, hard work and integrity – to enhance the academic achievement of children from Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood. The program helps open doors to colleges, scholarships and job opportunities. The First Tee of East Lake serves children and teens, ages 5-18, who attend East Lake’s Drew Charter School ( or live in the East Lake neighborhood. More than 1,500 East Lake children have participated in the program since 1998.


About the East Lake Foundation

Founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, the East Lake Foundation ( collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through education, affordable housing, recreational opportunities and connections with the broader community. This approach to building a strong community not only helps break the cycle of poverty, but creates a place where people of all ages and incomes choose to live. East Lake has become a model for holistic community revitalization programs across the country.


About The First Tee

The First Tee ( is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Augustine, Fla., at World Golf Village, home of the World Golf Hall of Fame.Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 2.9 million participants in 49 states and five international locations – Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand and Singapore. Former President George H. W. Bush serves as honorary chairman.