Continued commitment and growth highlights USTA Foundation efforts in 2021
If 2020 was a year of rebuilding, then 2021 was a year of new and resounding growth for the USTA Foundation.
The national charitable arm of the USTA raised more than $10 million last year in support of Rally for the Future, a three-year fundraising campaign committed to supporting the tennis and education activities of under-resourced students nationwide, and its flagship National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network expanded with 35 new chapters.
Rally for the Future, announced last May, is the successor to 2020's Rally to Rebuild, an emergency effort which raised more than $5 million in support of NJTLs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Announced with a $20 million goal, Rally for the Future was successfully positioned in its first year on the strength of numerous events and contributions, including a record-breaking celebrity gala—attended by Daymond John, Mike Tyson, Anna Wintour, Vera Wang, Gayle King, Lindsey Vonn, Billie Jean King and Tiki Barber, among others—on the first night of the US Open that also facilitated donations through a spirited live auction. More than $3 million total was raised through the gala and a donation by USTA Foundation sponsor Jersey Mike’s of 20% of its nationwide sales from the first Saturday of the tournament.
“USTA Foundation sponsors, donors, board members, and the entire NJTL network rose to significant challenges in 2021 and exceeded all expectations. Most importantly, every NJTL chapter has continued to operate since the start of the pandemic two years ago,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “We are committed to building on our successes in 2022 with our Rally for the Future campaign to provide thousands of underserved children with essential support, physical activity, and academic support in communities nationwide.”
NJTL chapters are already seeing the benefits. Six million of the $10 million total has already been distributed to chapters nationwide in support of various initiatives including programming and the financing of grants and scholarships. In total, the USTA Foundation funded more than $441,000 in scholarships for 47 student-athletes last year, highlighed by a partnership with the award-winning film, "King Richard," at XS Tennis, an NJTL chapter in Chicago. Will Smith, who plays the titular Richard Williams in the film, awarded one student-athlete a year-long scholarship to XS Tennis on behalf of the USTA Foundation.
Along with brick-and-mortar growth, NJTL chapters partnered with various organizations in support of their students. With 35 new additions, or growth by 14%, the total number of NJTLs increased to more than 285 chapters in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These 35 new NJTLs service 26,238 youth participants. Thanks to the USTA’s Collegiate Community Hub programs, 12 universities around the country including Michigan State University, University of Arizona, University of South Carolina, University of Alabama and St. Thomas University, offered up their state-of-the-art facilities to host local NJTL programming; and through the inaugural National Day of Learning event presented in conjunction with the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus, Tiger Woods' TGR Foundation, KIPP charter schools and 300 additional high schools, the Foundation engaged with 50,000 additional students.
2021 also saw the influence and impact of the Foundation's work in action when Washington, D.C. native Robin Montgomery became the first player in 17 years, and first American since 1992, to win both the junior girls' singles and doubles titles at the US Open. A product of the Junior Tennis Champions' Center (JTCC), an NJTL based in College Park, Md., Montgomery thrived in her development thanks to the USTA Foundation Excellence Team and the USTA Foundation’s individual player grants. NJTL youth are chosen for the Excellence Team based on their level of tennis ability, educational outcomes and commitment to becoming student-athletes at the collegiate and professional levels.
“These NJTL chapters, along with the grants and scholarships awarded by the USTA Foundation, are life-changing for many children," added USTA Foundation president Kathleen Wu. "The growth of these NJTL chapters indicate the importance of providing physical fitness, education and leadership opportunities for the next generation. We are grateful to the sponsors and donors who share and support our mission.”
To learn more about the USTA Foundation, visit ustafoundation.com. US Open sponsors American Express, Deloitte, ESPN and JPMorgan Chase along with the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors and major supporters of the USTA Foundation, like Jersey Mike’s Subs and the Manitou Fund, continue their commitment in supporting the USTA Foundation through nationwide year-round tennis and education programming.