'Growing the Game' grants continue USTA commitment to COVID relief
With an additional $3 million in "Growing the Game" grants targeted for organizations that attract and engage new and returning tennis players from May to November, the USTA is moving forward with the next phase of its funding to continue rebuilding the sport of tennis.
The initial funding effort began in April 2020 and was designed to provide immediate relief, spur the industry’s recovery and help the industry rebuild through a year severely impacted by the COVID-19 virus. That funding, coupled with the support and services of the USTA and the 17 USTA sections, amounted to a total of $50 million infused into the tennis economy by the sport’s national governing body. With this commitment, as well as the formation of Tennis Industry United in March 2020—which better allowed the sport to harness its collective power—tennis saw a surge of 6.7 million new and returning players in 2020.
In distributing the new grants, the USTA will work with its sections and Tennis Industry United to identify and reward deserving organizations. The USTA previously announced a continued commitment of $45 million in 2021 to grassroots tennis, which is funneled through the 17 USTA sections.
“Tennis starts at the local level, and therefore we must invest funds into local communities,” said USTA CEO Mike Dowse. “Our efforts in 2020 guided tennis through one of the worst crises the sport, and the world, has ever faced, and we are committed to maintaining our momentum. By investing at the local level, we can continue to attract and retain millions of players.”
To qualify for the “Growing the Game” grants, organizations will be encouraged to develop entry-level programs to engage and retain new or returning players coming to the game, regardless of age. Special emphasis will be placed on those supporting Parks & Rec programs across the country. Grants will be awarded on a sliding scale, depending on the number of new and returning players who participate in entry-level programming. Applications for the grants will be available on the Tennis Industry United website beginning in mid-May.