USTA Foundation: Serving Up Dreams, Changing Lives
USTA Serves is now the USTA Foundation.
By E.J. Crawford
The national charitable foundation of the USTA has long focused on utilizing tennis and education to change lives, exercising the power of tennis to build brighter futures and more vital communities.
Now it is doing so like never before.
USTA Serves is now the USTA Foundation, expanding to embrace the National Junior Tennis & Learning network, Military Heroes and Adaptive Tennis. This increase in scope gives the Foundation the power to reach more people and to effect positive change in communities throughout the country.
“The USTA Foundation is all about serving up dreams and changing lives,” says USTA Foundation Chairwoman Mary Carillo. “And we now have the opportunity to do that on an unprecedented scale.”
The goal of the USTA Foundation is to work with programs throughout the country that leverage tennis and education to help those in need. That includes preparing under-resourced youth for college and beyond, helping with reintegration efforts for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans, and working with the physically and developmentally disabled to provide opportunities in tennis and society as a whole.
To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $17 million, including $1.2 million in 2013 alone, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs as well as college scholarships — with the hope of awarding millions more in the years to come.
“A donation to the USTA Foundation is an investment in children, in veterans and in those who can use tennis to build better lives,” says USTA Foundation Executive Director Dan Faber. “The programs we support provide those in underserved and under-resourced communities with safe and welcoming places to develop as players, people and leaders.”
Perhaps nowhere is this better evidenced than through NJTL, a nationwide network that cumulatively raises $29 million each year. NJTL programs are 65 percent diverse and reach more than 300,000 children annually at more than 5,000 sites across the U.S., providing free or low-cost tennis, education and life skills programming. Add in the efforts to assist wounded, ill and injured service members and their families, and those with physical, developmental and situational challenges, and the Foundation’s power to do good is immense.
In fact, since 2000 the Foundation has awarded grants and scholarships to 270 programs in 187 cities and 47 states, with more than 90 percent of scholarship recipients enrolled in USTA Foundation-affiliated programs attending college for four years. Those numbers bolster a 2013 study undertaken by the Foundation that found kids who play tennis excel across the board: 82 percent volunteer in their communities, 81 percent plan to attend college and 48 percent maintain an “A” average.
“The programs and facilities we support are making a real difference in thousands of lives across the country,” says Carillo. “We’ve seen, time and again, how tennis can be a powerful tool in helping shape lives for the better. To be part of that is incredibly rewarding, and to see it in action is truly remarkable.”
Helping the USTA Foundation continue its efforts is as easy as it is rewarding. Donations can be made any time at USTAFoundation.com or through one of the Foundation’s many fundraisers. Those related to the US Open include purchasing a personalized paver on the Avenue of Aces leading up to Arthur Ashe Stadium and participating in the Foundation’s Opening Night Gala or Pro-Am.
“You can be part of the US Open and support a great cause,” says USTA President Dave Haggerty, a member of the USTA Foundation Board of Directors. “The meaningful assistance of our donors and supporters gives those with real need a chance to achieve, succeed and thrive — and realize their dreams. There is no greater goal than that.”
To support the USTA Foundation and its mission to promote programs that enhance lives through tennis and education, visit USTAFoundation.com.