When Jimmy Stanger was just 6 years old, his family adopted his sister from China. As he grew up, he continued to see his family serve and partner with organizations like the International Cooperating Ministries.
It fostered in him a heart of giving, and he’s now using his platform as a professional golfer to help build churches in Colombia.
Stanger is currently playing on the Korn Ferry Tour, just one level below the PGA Tour, and is donating $10 for every birdie he made in 2020, and will make in 2021 and beyond, through a new ministry he created called Birdies For Hope.
“It’s this idea I had where I’ve had a lot of people who have been following me on kind of a day-to-day basis over the last few years,” he recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “It’s blown me away to see friends, strangers, guys that I meet in pro-ams on Wednesdays, guys that I meet back home in Tampa, people that I meet on the road for non-golf reasons, just texting me after every round just saying, ‘Hey, great job on these few holes.’
“I thought, ‘This could be a great way to get people interested in my career and use their interest in my career to give back to the community.'”
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) June 11, 2021
Stanger, a native of Tampa, Florida, is partnering with ICM and the Community Foundation for Tampa Bay for this venture. The first project for Birdies For Hope was to build a church building in a small village in rural Colombia. After raising $16,000 to build the church, they see an estimated 650 people at services each week.
The next plan is to build the San Vincente Hope Center near Medellín, Colombia.
Stanger credits the example his parents set for him and the experience of picking up his sister in China for planting the seed of helping people experience the Gospel.
“It was pretty amazing to go and visit her and pick her up,” Stanger told CBN. “Even at a young age — 6, 7 years old — I remember the church opening [in China]. We were there for the dedication — this big, pink building. Seeing the hundreds of people packed in there hearing about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that definitely leaves a mark on a young kid’s life. Just to know that ICM is willing to do that and to be able to see first-hand the impact that they have in third-world countries at a young age really impacted me.”
After a stellar career at the University of Virginia where he was named an All-American, Stanger turned pro in 2017 and in 2019 joined the Korn Ferry Tour, on which he’s been competing to earn his PGA card. He has one second-place finish, one third-place finish and 11 top-10 finishes in his professional career.
In the 2020-21 season, Stanger has tallied 488 birdies, which means $4,880 toward his goal. All the while, others have joined in to pledge money for every birdie he makes as well.
“It’s been remarkable for me to see how taking this step in faith, God has been very good to bring people around me to help donate to this cause that means so much to me and is helping and impacting so many people,” Stanger said.
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