USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the USTA, is committed to changing the lives of at-risk youth, people with disabilities and military personnel and their families through the integration of tennis and education.
To date, USTA Serves has awarded nearly $11 million in grants to 236 programs in 177 cities in 47 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., including more than $700,000 to people with disabilities and more than $4 million in college scholarships and player incentive awards to 840 middle school students and high school seniors.
USTA Serves holds fundraising events to support its programs throughout the year, and one of its most popular is the US Open Opening Night Gala, which was a huge success in 2012. The foundation celebrated the start of this year’s tournament with its 12th Annual Opening Gala inside the President’s Suite in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The evening featured Alec Baldwin, Golden Globe- and Emmy-award winning star of NBC's "30 Rock," and Stanley Tucci, the Academy Award- and Emmy-award winning actor and star of the "Hunger Games." Mary Carillo, USTA Serves president and renowned broadcaster, served as host of the evening’s festivities.
Other attendees included New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, singer-actress Jordin Sparks and her father, former New York Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks, NBA All-Star and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Gladys Knight and actors Zach Braff ("Garden State," "Scrubs") and Anna Chlumsky ("My Girl," current star of the HBO series "Veep").
"We were sold out even before we printed our invitation," Deborah Slaner Larkin, Executive Director of USTA Serves, said of the gala. "We’re always proud of the fact we do sell out, but the fact that people came to us before we even reached out, that was impressive."
Baldwin reprised his role from the 2011 US Open as the celebrity auctioneer to benefit USTA Serves, pounding the gavel and awarding winners with tennis travel packages, one-of-a-kind autographed memorabilia and more.
"I’m proud to support USTA Serves and the important work that it does in helping to enhance the lives of those who need it most," said Baldwin at the event. "To hear and see first-hand the remarkable success stories of the kids who’ve been able to realize their dreams thanks to the programs supported by USTA Serves is particularly inspiring."
The week prior to the US Open, USTA Serves hosted its inaugural USTA Serves Pro-Am in the Hamptons in Long Island, N.Y., at which six-time US Open winner Chris Evert, current and former U.S. Davis Cup captains Jim Courier and Patrick McEnroe and current American star Mardy Fish all participated to raise awareness and funds for USTA Serves and USTA Player Development efforts.
"We had a lot of success and a lot of fun. Best of all, we made a lot of friends," said Larkin. "This partnership with Player Development is another way in which we are becoming more and more integrated with the USTA in ways that are mutually beneficial. All the money we raise goes right back into the community and towards our scholarships."
"USTA Serves is thrilled to continue to support students and great organizations throughout the country to make a difference in the lives of America’s youth by using tennis as a vehicle for change," added Carillo. "Our belief is that tennis, combined with education, can have a lasting effect on the lives of children and help pave the way to a brighter future."
to find out more about the work of USTA Serves.