2022 Community Champions: Richard Ader honored with NJTL Founders’ Service Award

March 22, 2022

On March 20, six advocates for the sport of tennis at the grassroots and local levels were honored as Community Champions at the 2022 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference. The “Celebration of Community Champions” luncheon was held at the Disney Beach and Yacht Club in Orlando, Fla.


WATCH: Richard Ader wins the 2022 NJTL Founders’ Service Award

Richard Ader of Bennington, Vt. was presented with the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Founders’ Service Award at the 2022 USTA Annual Meeting and Conference for a decade-long dedication to serving under-resourced youth in his community.


Blessed with a life-long passion for sports, Ader was an All-Conference basketball player at the University of Vermont and was inducted into the university's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. After his playing days ended, his quickness and footwork gained as a basketball player soon translated well to the tennis court in his adult life. Hooked on tennis, he soon started entering tournaments and was a member and co-captain of the U.S. Master Tennis Maccabi Team from 1981-1997. Representing the U.S., he took home a bronze medal in 1985 and a silver medal in 1993 from the Maccabi Games.

As his love of tennis deepened, so too did his commitment to creating opportunities for others to get in the game. Working with the USTA Foundation's Board of Directors in the past decade, he’s been a particularly strong advocate for the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, the USTA Foundation’s flagship youth tennis and education program of nearly 300 non-profit organizations that serve thousands of under-resourced youth each year.


In 2016, Ader started the NJTL of Bennington (VT) – the Bennington ACES, which is dedicated to providing tennis, fitness, nutrition, learning and academic support to under-resourced youth in the area. Through its partnership with local schools, Bennington ACES offers high-quality, age-specific tennis instruction, academic tutoring, and in-depth nutrition programming. Headquartered at the Bennington Tennis Center, the program has thus far provided more than 1,700 hours of programming to participants from six school areas. It offers instruction five times per week, and also hosts a tennis and enrichment program for four weeks in the summer at Bennington College.

Photo credit: Cameraworks USA/USTA

Ader also makes a difference in his community by currently serving on the UVM Foundation Board and the Southwestern Vermont Healthcare Board. He previously served on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation.


“Richard is a local hero for the hundreds of kids who have been impacted by his passion, dedication, and resounding care for others to make tennis and education accessible to people of all backgrounds,” said Dan Faber, Chief Executive, USTA Foundation. “As a successful NJTL chapter supported by the USTA Foundation, Bennington ACES will continue to thrive as a result of Richard's leadership, and we are thrilled to honor him with this recognition.”


Established in 2010, the NJTL Founders’ Service Award was created to recognize an individual who has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to positive youth development through tennis and education, delivers outstanding service to under-resourced children with free or low-cost tennis and provides education and life-skills programming. The NJTL network was co-founded by Arthur Ashe, Charles Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder in 1969, and the award is given to those best reflecting their values.

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