USTA Foundation raises $12 million in 2022, sets new target for Rally for the Future
Year two of the USTA Foundation’s three-year Rally for the Future campaign was a resounding success–and the national charitable arm of the USTA is aiming higher in 2023.
The USTA Foundation raised $12 million in 2022, the second year of its Rally for the Future campaign. With more than $22 million raised in the campaign’s first two years, the USTA Foundation exceeded its original $20 million target for the campaign, which launched in 2021. USTA Foundation President Kathleen Wu says that the campaign’s goal will now be raised to a total of $30 million by the end of 2023.
The previous $20 million target was already the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the USTA Foundation’s nearly three-decade history.
“We are beyond excited to have met our original goal so soon, and I’m optimistic that this new goal will be met, and possibly exceeded, by the end of 2023,” Wu said. “I’m humbled and grateful that the tennis community has stepped up with such enthusiasm and passion to help us change lives through tennis and education.”
Contributions to the year-end total included $3 million raised at the US Open at the USTA Foundation’s annual Opening Night Gala, which honored Kevin Martinez and ESPN; and a $4 million donation from sponsor Jersey Mike’s Subs. 20 percent of the chain’s nationwide sales from one weekend in September benefitted the USTA Foundation this year. USTA Foundation chairperson Chris Evert was featured in the Jersey Mike’s commercials that touted the campaign, while ESPN, Cadillac, Chase, Rolex, Deloitte and the USTA joined Jersey Mike’s as gala sponsors.
These funds have already made an impact. More than $7 million has so far been utilized to provide support, services and funding for National Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapters, which support under-resourced youth around the United States through free or low-cost tennis and education programs. Additional funds will be utilized for ongoing programming including NJTL chapters, grants and scholarships.
In 2022, the USTA Foundation funded more than $435,000 in scholarships for 46 student leaders; and funded team grants in 19 markets totaling $385,000 for the Excellence Program, a program for the USTA Foundation's highest-achieving student-athletes. Eleven of the aforementioned college scholarships were awarded to Excellence Program participants, and individual players also received $225,000 in grants. The USTA Foundation also funded six national activations for more than 250 of these student-athletes, aged 10 to 18, with events being held in cities including San Diego, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; College Park, Md.; and New York, N.Y.
NJTL youth are chosen for the Excellence Program due to their elite level of tennis ability, educational outcomes, and commitment to the pathway to becoming student-athletes at the collegiate and professional levels.
With support like this, Excellence Program participants shined on court over the last 12 months.
Washington, D.C. native Clervie Ngounoue, 16, won the junior Australian Open doubles title in January; reached a career-high ITF world junior ranking of No. 10; and went unbeaten in the Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November, clinching the trophy for the U.S. with her singles win against the Czech Republic in the final. To close out the year, she also won her first ITF Grade 1 title in Mexico, and finished as runner-up in the girls’ 18s event at the famed Orange Bowl in December.
Eighteen-year-old Jelani Sarr reached the Top 100 in the ITF junior rankings at a career-high of No. 88; played in both junior Wimbledon and the junior US Open; and won two J3 ITF titles. The No. 1 recruit out of Georgia, he’ll join the University of South Carolina’s men’s tennis team in January.
Other USTA Foundation highlights over the last 12 months included the staging of the inaugural USTA Foundation Impact Conference, which brought together 180 NJTL chapter leaders, industry experts and renowned speakers for three days of capacity-building initiatives and how best to increase program outcomes; and further support of Lulu’s Place, a game-changing nonprofit youth center in Los Angeles, that's expected to break ground in 2023.
The USTA Foundation is proud to be a founding supporter of Lulu’s Place, which aspires to be a game-changer for L.A. youth, especially those from disadvantaged households, by offering students access to top-quality sports facilities, as well as athletic and academic programming, for little or no cost. The project is rooted in the belief that all children have the potential to achieve greatness when given the education, resources and support they need to thrive.
The USTA Foundation also made its mark on Instagram (@ustafoundation) and returned to Facebook in 2022, connecting with NJTL chapters, players, celebrities and other USTA Foundation supporters online to share the Foundation’s story.
“The impact that the USTA Foundation has made this year in local communities is incredible thanks to our sponsors, donors, Board Members, and the entire NJTL Network,” Dan Faber, USTA Foundation Chief Executive, said. “The lasting influence of the NJTL programs is visible at every level, from local communities to collegiate programs and even on the pro tours.”
For more about the USTA Foundation, visit ustafoundation.com.