USTA Foundation launches Rally for the Future fundraising campaign
In 2020, the USTA Foundation coordinated an unprecedented response to an immediate crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning today, in 2021 and beyond, the national philanthropic arm of the USTA is looking ahead, by launching the Rally for the Future fundraising campaign.
Rally for the Future is the successor to Rally to Rebuild, a one-time emergency grant program which injected financial support into the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network, the flagship after- and in-school tennis and education initiative of the USTA Foundation that serves more than 160,000 under-resourced youth across the country, last year.
From its June launch through year's end, Rally to Rebuild raised more than $6.5 million in support of the more than 250 NJTL chapters in the network, all of which faced pandemic-induced hardships that included the suspension of programming and the cancellation of other fundraising events.
With the help of the grants and assistance provided by the USTA Foundation, 209 chapters provided at least four weeks of tennis programming, while 186 chapters provided at least four weeks of academic services throughout the pandemic.
With a $20 million target over the next three years, Rally for the Future is the largest single fundraising campaign in the 27-year history of the USTA Foundation.
Rally for the Future, like Rally to Rebuild, will be led by USTA Foundation chairperson and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert, who hopes to leverage the sport's resurgence in the U.S. in the aftermath of the pandemic to fortify the next generation of players at all levels.
Eager to play a naturally socially-distant sport, more than 21.6 million people hit the courts in the U.S. last year, a 22 percent increase in overall participation. Now more than ever, families are turning to NJTL chapters for the services they provide: educational enrichment, life-skills curriculum and tennis instruction.
“The Rally for the Future campaign marks an opportunity to play an important role in the lives of so many children who can find inspiration, education, and physical fitness through our sport,” said Evert.
”While more people have rediscovered tennis over the past year, we have also seen an increasing number of children who can benefit tremendously from NJTL’s tennis and leadership programs. Rally for the Future will help us close that gap in many communities.”
In addition to private donations, US Open sponsors American Express, Deloitte, ESPN and JPMorgan Chase, along with the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors and its major supporters including Jersey Mike’s Subs and the Manitou Fund, remain steadfast in their commitment to the organization's goals, objectives and services.
Along with direct financial support, the Rally for the Future campaign will assist in key USTA Foundation activations including the "Return the Serve" initiative sponsored by Chase, which provides selected NJTL chapters with educational and learning opportunities that focus on financial health; the NJTL Essay Contest presented by Deloitte, an annual showcase for the research and analytical skills honed by NJTL participants in their academic pursuits; the annual college scholarship program, which awarded deserving youth more than $300,000 to finance their education last year; and the Excellence Program supported by American Express, a high-performance initiative which helps student-athletes access the tools they need to succeed in elite tennis at the collegiate and professional levels.
“We are so grateful to all the sponsors and donors who supported the USTA Foundation through a challenging time and continue to share the passion for our mission,” said USTA Foundation president Kathleen Wu, who began a three-year tenure as leader of the organization's Board of Directors in January.
“Rally for the Future builds on that support and can exponentially increase the positive, and in some cases, life-changing, impact on thousands of under-resourced youths and their communities through NJTL programming.”