Top Spot on 2021 Best Nonprofit to Work for List

April 07, 2021



This is the third consecutive year the organization makes prestigious list. 



USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS), a non-profit organization, not only made it a three-peat for earning a place among the best of the best, the organization nabbed  No. 1 overall on the annual Best Nonprofits to Work For list published by The NonProfit Times in partnership with Best Companies Group. The overall list is made up of 50 organizations and consists of small, medium, and large organizations. USTA MAS also ranked No.1 among small nonprofits.


“It is truly rewarding to be listed among other influential non-profit organizations across the country for organizational culture and workplace excellence,” says Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro CEO of USTA Mid-Atlantic. “To earn the top spot overall and among small non-profits is a testament to the employees of USTA Mid-Atlantic who have created and embraced a culture that is forward-thinking, supportive, inclusive, and fun. Moreover, this is a team that is so deeply passionate about our mission and that is something that I believe unites us and makes us stronger, especially in challenging times.”

Pride in the mission and the impact being made in communities across is palpable at the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. Culturally, there is a strong drive to succeed on the mission and vision for tennis in every community in the Mid-Atlantic region. Contributing to the success of programs and services that increase access to the sport and the healthy, lifelong benefits of tennis to more people is a significant factor for employee satisfaction. There is an emphasis on empowering employees to be creative and try new things without fear of failure. This is especially true for creating ways to help the sport reach new and under-resourced communities and this translates into employees bringing their best work and selves to the organization. 


Nonprofits from across the United States entered the two-part survey process that is used to determine The Best Nonprofits To Work For. The survey evaluates workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics, and includes an employee survey to measure the employee experience. According to The NonProfit Times, small Best Nonprofits outscored their peers that didn’t make the final 50 rankings in all eight categories of the survey and particularly outscored in: 

  • Training, Development and Resources, +11% (90% v. 79%);

  • Culture and Communications, +10% (95% v. 85%); and

  • Leadership and Planning, +9% (96% v. 87%).


These are areas USTA MAS particularly shines and especially focused on during the height of the pandemic. 


Culture and communications were essential to keeping the organization healthy as challenges from the pandemic forced a new normal - from pauses in the ability to deliver tennis programs to the entire staff abruptly working remotely to changes in operations - having strong culture and communication was the foundation to continue to focus on the mission and address challenges. 


Throughout the year, leadership held a series of all-staff town halls to openly discuss the challenges of the pandemic and the impact on operations. This dialogue kept everyone informed of decisions being made relevant to operations and the steps being taken to help the broader Mid-Atlantic tennis community. In addition to the deeper conversations, these open forums also facilitated brainstorming and idea generation for solutions to help the Mid-Atlantic tennis community and identify completely new ways to engage people safely in the sport both virtually and in person. 


“Townhall discussions were born out of how much we deeply value open and honest dialogue and how much, as a core component of our culture, we depend on each other for input on ways to grow and improve, “ adds Fitzpatrick-Navarro. “And they were a great way to connect.”


In a time when resources and development of employees could have easily gone by the wayside, the organization took strides to ensure staff could continue to grow and flourish. In 2020, USTA MAS introduced a new tuition and education reimbursement of up to a maximum of $2,500 per calendar year for employees to use toward college credit or certification programs that are job-related. This new component of an already robust professional development program allows employees to further cultivate skills so they can advance and grow, something USTA MAS CEO Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro has made a top priority


Even with as challenging and difficult a year as 2020, USTA MAS held true to the philosophy to embrace employees for the unique perspectives they lend and honor the whole person to create a stimulating and supportive work environment. 


Employees were fully supported to prioritize self-care, and personal well-being, while also mixing in the pursuit of fun. USTA MAS invested in resources such as THRIVE EAP, a free service to employees, that provides work/life balance assistants, solution-focused counseling, and more. Also put in place was a generous health and wellness reimbursement inclusive of physical fitness as well as nutrition programs and equipment needs. And to top it off, employees are encouraged to play and participate in tennis in their communities with a reimbursement that can help with fees for lessons, court time, or playing competitively. 


“We are thrilled that the results of the survey and our recognition as the No. 1 non-profit to work for indicates we are doing the right things among our employees even during a year when we were faced with the unimaginable. I know this recognition will inspire our team now and for years to come.”


The Nonprofit Times has more details about this year’s list and how organizations, including USTA MAS, made notable contributions and innovations during the year.  Plus, Beth Twomey, the chief operating officer of USTA Mid-Atlantic, joins the Nonprofit Times on their podcast, Fresh Research, to talk about how USTA Mid-Atlantic kept employees engaged, worked through challenges of the past year, and shared some successes. Listen to the full episode here.


The annual rankings list identifies nonprofit organizations where leaders have excelled in creating quality workplaces and honors the best employers in the nonprofit industry, benefiting the industry's economy, workforce and businesses.  You can learn more about the Nonprofit Times’ Best Nonprofits To Work For program, by visiting www.BestNonprofitsToWorkFor.com


For all the latest on tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section make sure you are following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Learn more about USTA Mid-Atlantic here and find out more about our workplace culture


USTA Mid-Atlantic is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps people and communities grow stronger, healthier, and more connected through tennis. Learn about our impact in the Section and how you can help bring tennis to more communities throughout the region.

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