Fore Hope, an innovative therapeutic golf program founded by Mindy Derr, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year – February 1, 1989!
This organization has grown to a phenomenal history in utilizing the game of golf for such therapies as improving balance, social interaction, cognitive processes and an enhanced sense of well-being. Fore Hope is the only such protocol of its kind in America to be absorbed into a healthcare system. This creative and undisputed program began as a dream and a set of ideas laid on a card table. Today, Fore Hope is a complementary therapy program within OhioHealth’s Wellness Neuroscience Department absorbed in January of 2017. These medical leaders understand the powerful potential of Fore Hope to enhance lives. Fore Hope will now live on in perpetuity, thanks to OhioHealth. Mindy remains as Advisor and Ambassador to OhioHealth.
Guy Derr, Mindy’s father, was the catalyst for Fore Hope. As an accomplished golfer who became abruptly ill upon his retirement, Guy’s hope for possible recovery and quality of life, was Fore Hope. What started as a small grass-roots program in 1989 for Mindy’s father, blossomed into a well- known therapeutic golf program for those aging, those with neurological conditions and those experiencing isolation and depression.
Mindy’s imminent vision is to share her life experiences revolving around the building of a nationally recognized nonprofit organization, how therapeutic golf impacts lives and her message of hope as she now lives the life of Fore Hope’s “posterchild” and “walking the walk” as a person living with a chronic illness.
Her journey recently took an unexpected turn as she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which compromised her ability to walk. This most recent difficulty served to fortify Mindy’s resolve to make the most of each day and to share the story of adversity and hope through the greatness of golf. She recently returned to the game of golf she loves, and plays a few times a month, as her energy and schedule allow. Last fall she played in the Guy Derr/Fore Hope tournament. Mindy and golf teammates finished first place.
Mindy’s expertise, public speaking and life lessons as a social entrepreneur, offer hope and knowledge to individuals and organizations through the following:
- The spirit of hope and promise for those living with chronic illness.
- The spirit of social entrepreneurship and organization development for mission building, collaboration and implementation
- The spirit of participation in the game of life which parallels the game of golf…and the positive impact on not only lives, but the growth of the game
- The spirit of education, so that those in healthcare and golf communities, may witness and gain knowledge on the goodness of golf therapy and understand from Mindy’s perspective, the health recovery process, challenges and management
Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, his family, and The Memorial Tournament have been committed supporters of Fore Hope, as many other donors, participants, and grantors. One special donor bequeathed a timely legacy gift and kept Fore Hope alive and onward to OhioHealth. Miracles abound and surround this fine program!
- May 1, 2019, Ohio State University Alumni Spotlight Feature – Mindy’s journey
- March 3, 2019, Columbus Dispatch Article covering Fore Hope’s 30th anniversary
- November 2018, OhioHealth Foundation released a donor giving piece highlighting Fore Hope and Wellness Center, future home of Fore Hope fall of 2019
- Facebook and ohiohealth.com/forehope
Mindy’s and Fore Hope’s Accomplishments:
- Strategic and succession planning were developed and negotiations ensued with OhioHealth – end result, absorption into their health care system. OhioHealth Fore Hope programs began in spring of 2017
- OhioHealth Wellness Center 2019 – future home of Fore Hope Adaptive Golf Programs, Delay the Disease for Parkinson’s and MS Wellness
- Advisor to OhioHealth Fore Hope, developed in 2017, the team for program implementation, best practices and donor/investor chronicles
- Revenue of $5 million plus in-kind services
- Has served more than 5,000 persons with disabilities
- Supported in part by The Memorial Tournament and the Jack Nicklaus family
- Developed and implemented well known FH Annual Champagne breakfast fundraiser with PGA TOUR stars, as host and public speaker to a large audience
- Supported in part by the PGA TOUR and its players
- Supported in part by the United States Golf Association
- Advisor to the United State Golf Association Resource Center for accessible/adaptive golf
- Secured long time world renowned golf trick shot artist, Dennis Walters, a wonderful friend of Fore Hope who promotes golf for anyone of all life challenges, denniswalters.com
- Created Rose Scheeff Planned Legacy Gift program.
- Secured legacy gift of $525,000 from The Rose Scheeff Legacy Program
- The Guy Derr Leadership Society program was developed and gateway to the Rose Scheeff Legacy Program. Guy Derr Leadership Program provided one-fourth of Fore Hope’s annual budget with committed annual memberships.
- Accredited by Better Business of Central Ohio
- Formed partnership with Ohio State University’s Professional Golf Management Program
- Secured Founding Sponsor, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
- Supported by Dr. Michael Hurdzan of Hurdzan Golf LLC, providing consulting services for course design, environmental golf, and adaptive program development
- Secured the donation of a large natural putting green for participants at Red Roof Inns Corporate Course in Columbus, designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan involving turf experts, construction & equipment vendors
Developed golf training manual for persons with disabilities
- Designed adaptive golf glove/mitt
Honors and Awards – Fore Hope:
- Columbus CEO Magazine’s Healthcare Achievement Awards – Mindy Derr nominated for Lifetime Achievement Award 2015
- Honored as one of the “100 Buckeyes You Should Know” by The Ohio State University Alumni Association, at the “Horseshoe” football field escorted by Archie Griffin along with other Buckeyes honorees, spring game 2012
- Alma mater speaker for Loudonville High School, chosen to present on life and success for student body, 2011
- Chosen as one of 8 women featured in Columbus CEO May 2011
- Extra Mile America, honoring people who go the Extra Mile, chose Mindy as one of ten honorees in 2010
- Named by Columbus radio station Sunny 95 as one of the top “20 Women You Should Know” in 2009
- Received Individual Honorable Mention in Business First Health Care Heroes Award for Community Outreach 2009
- Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs – nominated in Lifetime Achievement Award category and honored in New York City 2004
Boy Scouts of America, Firelands Area Council, Exploring Executive – 1984-1989 Vermilion, Ohio
- Pioneered and implemented high school career awareness Exploring Program in three northern Ohio counties serving 1,000-plus students.
- Received National Boy Scouts of America Professional Pacemaker Award for bringing Scouting to more youth
- Bachelor of Arts, Communications
- The Ohio State University, 1981