Notah Begay is used to garnering trophies. The 39-year old Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta professional golfer won four of them on the PGA Tour, the first American Indian to do so. On April 4, however, Begay will be presented with arguably the most important award of his life, the Golf Writers Association of America’s Charlie Bartlett Award (GWAA) at the Annual Awards Dinner in Augusta, Gerogia. Begay’s being honored for his tireless efforts with his namesake NB3 Foundation, which he began in 2005 to help promote healthy living and battle Type-2 diabetes and obesity among American Indian youth. The award is named for the first secretary of the GWAA, and is given each year to a professional golfer for his or her unselfish contributions to the betterment of society.
Begay’s NB3 Foundation has raised $3.23 million in three years through the annual NB3 Foundation Challenge Golf Event, a star-studded golf tournament drawing some of the biggest names in the sport in an effort to raise money for the Foundation.
The NB3 Foundation’s reach has grown exponentially in the last few years, touching more than 10,000 American Indian children in 11 states through grant and health and wellness programs. The Foundation has promoted activity through golf and soccer, and have recently launched a two-year study this year to evaluate the impact of holistic interventions at the San Felipe Pueblo to reduce the rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Begay has also built partnerships with the Oneida Indian Nation and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to sponsor the NB3 Challenge, the largest one-day fundraiser benefiting American Indian youth in the country.