Community Building with the Community Engagement Grant

May 31, 2022

Since the start of the pandemic, even more people have discovered the physical, social, emotional and other health benefits of tennis. According to the 2022 Tennis Participation study, the number of players increased by 27% over the last two years. In the Mid-Atlantic region, 1.3 million people indicated playing tennis at least once during 2021. Conversely, there is an estimated 1.1 million people in the region who do not play tennis but express a high level of interest in playing. USTA Mid-Atlantic - a nonprofit organization - wants to make sure that those who are interested in playing or returning to tennis have the opportunity to participate in programs that will help them connect to their community as well as gain the healthy benefits the sport uniquely provides. And critical to that, is making sure there are tennis programs that are easily accessible, open and available in communities that are under-resourced. 


In 2021, USTA Mid-Atlantic launched the Community Engagement Grant which is supported by generous donations. This new grant program provided up to $2,500 to support organizations that offered tennis programming to the community at-large.


Through the generosity of the community, USTA Mid-Atlantic is excited to offer the Community Engagement Grant once again for 2022. The application for Cycle 2 opens on July 1, 2022 and is available for any non-profit organization that offers tennis programming to their constituents. The Community Engagement Grants can be used for program expenses such as tennis equipment, coaching, and marketing materials. This is an excellent opportunity for organizations to receive support for programs that grow the sport and especially reach people and communities that may not otherwise have access to tennis.

The 2021 grant program was a success. USTA Mid-Atlantic distributed a total of $15,000 to almost a dozen organizations. These organizations reached 800 players through events such as free weekly clinics for wheelchair and adaptive players; after school tennis programs, and intro to tennis clinics. 


According to Ava Todd, Community Outreach Manager at the Junior Training Champion Center in College Park, M.d., “This grant made a big difference introducing community members to tennis and growing the sport throughout the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section.” 


The benefits of the grant were able to impact a variety of communities. Sheryl Raulston from Western Tidewater Tennis Association remarked that “Being in a rural, low-socioeconomic region of Virginia (based in Franklin), we need all the help we can get to grow tennis.”


Gordon McGill from Love Serving Autism noted that his program created “a small, tight knit supportive ‘community’ of parents/participants (with disabilities) who just loved being together. The participants loved getting exercise and playing games and just seeing their 'new' friends each weekend.”


With seeing such remarkable success from the grants, USTA Mid-Atlantic is looking forward to seeing many more organizations and communities become healthier through tennis. However, we can extend our reach and support more programs with your help. Donate to the Community Engagement Grant and join us in increasing access to tennis for all people. 


For all the latest on tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section make sure you are following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and by subscribing to USTA Mid-Atlantic’s YouTube Channel


USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being. Make an impact beyond the net and donate today.

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