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NB3 Foundation
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 12/19/2013
The New Mexican - Notah Begay III recognizes he’s been given opportunities: He went to a good high school in Albuquerque, and he received a college education at Stanford University — where he was a three-time All-American golfer and Tiger Woods’ teammate. In 1995, he became a professional golfer.

Begay, who was born in Albuquerque, is the only full-blooded American Indian to play in the PGA Tour, the most recognized golf tournament in North America, and he has won it four times in his career between 1999 and 2000.

In 1999, he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about his own success and how it can be replicated among other Native people. That same year, an ESPN profile quoted Begay saying: “When I look back 50 years and I’m taking my last breaths, I won’t be thinking about golf scores and trophies. I’ll be looking at the generation behind me and whether I was an inspiration to them to improve their lives. That’s what I want my legacy to be.”

Begay has been trying to improve the lives of others through the NB3 Foundation, based at Santa Ana Pueblo, which addresses Type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. The disease has not only plagued Begay’s family, but also is an epidemic in tribes across the nation, he said.

One out of two Native American children born since 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, according to the foundation’s website.

Begay started the foundation in 2005. Its goal is to not only bring awareness to the issue but also to prevent the disease by educating American Indian youth on eating healthy and exercising through the foundation’s soccer and golf clinics.

Because of Begay’s pursuit, he has been chosen by The New Mexican as one of the 10 Who Made a Difference for 2013.

“What we are really trying to do is act like a catalyst for change,” said Begay, who recently took a job as an analyst for the Golf Channel.

According to the foundation’s website, more than 15,000 Native Americans across 13 states have participated in NB3 Foundation programs, including soccer and golf clinics, and workshops on healthy eating. In New Mexico, the foundation helped San Felipe Pueblo build a soccer field.

“This work couldn’t have happened 15 years ago, because the people on our board, the people working for us … we weren’t in the right place in our lives,” Begay said. “Those certain individuals who have gone into the world and have done well in their professions now feel that it’s appropriate to give back.”

He said most of the foundation’s staff and directors grew up in Native American communities, some from New Mexico pueblos, and have dedicated themselves to causes that have affected them personally.

Casey Lozar, the chief marketing and development officer for the foundation, said Begay has been active with the foundation.

“He’s 100 percent invested in the foundation,” said Lozar, who is part of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana. “The mission is very personal, and he’s a pioneer and knows this is so important for all Indians.”

Lozar pointed out that Begay was at a recent University of New Mexico basketball game where the Lobos wore turquoise-colored jerseys that were later auctioned off in a benefit for the foundation. Begay attended the game to serve as a spokesman for the foundation, Lozar said.

Begay said one of the lessons he learned while growing up as a Native American is that his decisions will impact his community’s future.

“Take a look and have a clear understanding [that] what we do now will have a ripple effect in future generations,” Begay said. “And I want to make that effect as positive as possible, so that my children and their children and their grandchildren will be able to look back and say, ‘wow.’ ”
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