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SAFE Grants

Leo Goertz Membership Grant

A grant established to honor longtime SAFE Board of Trustees member and SFMA member Leo Goertz is ready for nominations. Leo passed away suddenly, and SAFE and SFMA created this grant to recognize his commitment to the profession.

The grant is funded through The SAFE Foundation and is made possible by a generous gift from Pioneer Athletics for 10 years.

The Leo Goertz Membership Grant awards SAFE with up to $1,500 annually to fund new, two-year memberships in SFMA. The eligibility criteria for Nominees includes:

  • must be a Sports Field Manager or member of a crew managing sports fields
  • should not have been an SFMA member for at least 5 years

SFMA national or chapter members or a fellow employee can nominate an individual. The grant also allows for self-nomination. To apply, fill out this simple, one-page form no later than Oct. 15.

Leo served on the SAFE Board of Trustees from 2006 – 2011. After his board service, he stayed actively involved with SAFE through helping with its fundraising events. He joined SFMA in 1988. Leo was awarded one of SFMA’s highest honors in 2010, the Harry C. Gill Founders Award. This award was established to honor an individual for their hard work in the sports turf industry and to acknowledge their dedication to SFMA. SAFE and SFMA believe that Leo’s biggest contribution to the Foundation and to the association was in his ability to ‘give back’. Through this grant, we continue his legacy of ‘giving back’.

Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant

The SAFE Foundation announces the introduction and funding of the inaugural Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant. This grant honors Gary Vanden Berg, CSFM, for his contributions to the industry in promoting internships. Gary was the Director of Grounds for the Milwaukee Brewers until his death on October 10th, 2011, and his commitment to creating an excellent learning experience for interns was legendary throughout the MLB and the entire sports turf industry.

This grant will be awarded in late fall each year for an internship completed the during the spring or summer of that year. SFMA Student Members in good standing who are currently enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours or were enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours in the semester just prior to the internship are eligible to submit for the $1,000 grant. Thus, recent graduates who completed an internship after graduation are eligible. The grant will be awarded in the fall and the winner introduced at the SFMA Annual Conference in January.

The grant is intended to offset the costs a student may have incurred while interning including, but not limited to, transportation, lodging, and food, or as a subsidy to wages. In addition to receiving the $1,000 grant, the winner will also receive a full conference registration and three night’s lodging at the next SFMA National Conference and Exhibition.
The deadline to submit is Oct. 15. To apply, click here.

If you are interested in making a donation in Gary’s honor to help fund this grant for future years, contact Nora Dunnaway, 800-323-3875.

Previous winners of the Gary Vanden Berg Internship Grant:

  • 2022 – Nate Moore, Penn State University
  • 2021 – Adam Webb, Virginia Tech University
  • 2020 – Ryan Welker, Penn State University
  • 2019 – Rachael Cline, Ohio State University
  • 2018 – Conlan Burbrink, University of Tennessee
  • 2017 – Kirstin Burnett, Texas A&M University
  • 2016 – Amanda Folck, Ohio State University
  • 2015 – Tyler Carr, University of Arkansas
  • 2014 – Jeremy Langlois, University of Massachussets/Amherst
  • 2013 – Zachary Avers, Ohio State University
  • 2012 – Nik Wooldridge, Colorado State University
  • 2011 – Aaron Bryant, University of Tennessee

Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant

The SAFE Foundation will award the Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant, sponsored by Turface Athletics again this year. This $1,000 grant is intended to fund a portion of the winner’s attendance at the SFMA Conference in January. All members of SFMA or an SFMA affiliated chapter are eligible to win, and must be nominated through a letter of recommendation by a National SFMA Member.

The deadline to apply for the Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant will be October 15. SFMA will provide a complimentary conference registration to the winner, and the winner will be recognized at the Association’s annual Awards Banquet held at the conference.

The SFMA Scholarship Committee, who judges the SAFE Scholarship winners each year, will be involved in the selection of winner. Click here to download the nomination form. This form includes the criteria for eligibility and guidance for writing your nomination.

If you have any questions, please contact SFMA headquarters at 800-323-3875.

SFMA would like to thank Turface Athletics for their support of the Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant.

Previous Winners of the Terry Mellor Continuing Education Grant

  • 2019 – Chris Neeley, City of Grapevine, TX
  • 2018 – Edgar Vallejo, City of Irvine, CA
  • 2017 – Jason Puopolo, Clark University
  • 2016 – Nicholas Lievense, Purdue University
  • 2015 – Doug Watt – West Marshall High School
  • 2014 – Daniel Losito – North Carolina State University
  • 2013 – Don Scholl, CSFM – City of Tracy, CA
  • 2012 – Gabriel Mitchell – San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
  • 2011 – Weston Floyd – University of Texas/Tyler – Tyler, TX
  • 2010 – Kevin Fernandez – White Bear Lake School District – White Bear Lake, MN
  • 2009 – Eddie Atherton – City of Owensboro – Owensboro, KY