Bielawski’s journey combined his passions for golf and charity work. The 3L from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law raised funds by hitting golf balls across nine states in a 110-day mission. He made his way from California to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and, finally, South Carolina. “The goal [was] to raise $100,000 for 12 student scholarships,” Bielawski said. The scholarships will allow poor students to attend Providence Cristo Rey High School, a private school in Indianapolis.
Individuals and businesses made donations in flat amounts. His golf outing was designed to raise awareness and draw publicity to his goal. At his journey’s mid-point, he was almost halfway to his goal.
This year, approximately 90 percent of the 140 students at Providence Cristo Rey are living in poverty. The school’s mission is to give impoverished children a high-quality college-preparatory education. The school has an innovative program where students participate in a corporate work-study program that allows them to work in professional, entry-level jobs while still in school. Corporate partners include several Indianapolis law firms and large companies like Eli Lilly and Company and Fifth Third Bank.
Bielawski took about 500 swings per day, bumbling along the nation’s many roads in a donated John Deere Gator and camper with his cousin and two videographers. This wasn’t a summer spent bumming from one country club to the next. He hit golf balls across the country—over hills, desert, and swamp. He liked to call it playing it as it lies. Much of his venture from just south of Ventura, California to Charleston, South Carolina, was a well-planned trail that utilized many of Bielawski’s law school skills.
“From this, I received a lot of first-hand experience in IT, media marketing, and social media,” Bielawski said “Even tax, nonprofit tax, insurance, and resource management.”
His nonprofit organization, Get on the Green, is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity. Getting an organization tax-exempt status is paperwork intensive. Often, an organization seeking tax-exempt status must hire an attorney to guide it through the process. It also takes a long to time obtain. Bielawski handled it himself and got valuable training in regulatory compliance. He has also been fortunate to have several businesses sponsor his trip. He got transactional experience negotiating and drafting sponsor contracts. As a multistate journey, various state and federal regulations had to be complied with, including insurance and real property laws.
Each swish of the golf club helped this law student impact those who need it most. This 3L plans to serve his community as he undertakes his legal career.
“I’ve been working a lot in state government. I would like to serve my community, whether that be [as] an attorney for a city or state government in Indiana or volunteer in some nature.”