USTA New England Grants Tennis Wishes
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | December 15, 2016
WESTBOROUGH, MA- USTA New England’s mission is "To Promote and Develop the Growth of Tennis." Each and every day, the organization works to positively impact the local tennis community in a variety of ways. One of the most direct ways is through their annual grant program.
USTANE impacts around 100 youth organizations every year by giving out grants to fund new or growing programming. In 2016 alone, USTA New England gave out more than $70,000 in monetary grants over two cycles and $26,000 in equipment, assisting a total of 107 organizations.
“Giving out grants is one of the aspects of our job that we are most proud of,” said Sarah Rice, USTA New England Manager of Community Development. “We see how these organizations have such a positive effect and influence on their children, and we want to do whatever we can to enhance that experience.”ADVERTISEMENT
For the first time in 2016, USTANE modified its grant program, creating 13 unique monetary grant categories that aligned with its strategic priorities.
“The new grant categories really helped clarify our vision and helped our organizations align with our goals. They could see which categories they fit into and then apply for those. It helped them understand what we’re able to fund with our grants,” Rice said.
The two most popular grant categories in 2016 were Junior Team Tennis (JTT) and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).
New London, CT’s Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School has an 85% diverse population and applied for a D&I grant for the first time in 2016.
“Without this funding, tennis would not have come to our middle school students. We would not be able to offer such a high quality program with a professional tennis coach,” said Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School Principal Alison Burdick.
One specialized learning pathway within the school is the Leadership Academy. This program utilizes community partnerships and in-class instruction to help students develop self-awareness, personal leadership and the ability to lead others. Students in the Leadership Pathway learn skills such as: navigational skills, basic first aid and survival skills, fire making, swimming, sailing and kayaking, CPR and more.
Now, with grants from both USTA New England and USTA CT, 40 students had the opportunity to learn tennis from an inspiring tennis pro in New London as part of their curriculum starting back in September.
Led by Andre Danford, General Manager at Lyme Shores Tennis & Conditioning Center, students meet at a park in New London twice a week during school hours to learn the game he and Burdick love. The program moved indoors to Lyme Shores once the weather got too cold.
“We know that integrating tennis into the school day curriculum is unique to our program,” Burdick said. “Both Andre and I grew up playing tennis in New London. We don’t remember life without playing and believe that all students should have the opportunity to take advantage of such a great sport.”
New Haven Youth Tennis & Education (New HYTEs), USTA New England’s 2014 National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Chapter of the Year, has also greatly benefitted from grant money in 2016. The Connecticut-based Community Tennis Association received both D&I and JTT grants this year.
New HYTEs’ mission is to enrich the lives and positively affect the futures of New Haven's economically disadvantaged youth through a program that incorporates life skills curriculum and academic supports, and promotes both character building and the health benefits of participation in athletics through tennis.
Receiving both monetary and equipment grants in 2016, New HYTEs has helped fund three of its most effective programs for the better part of the year: Tennis in the Neighborhood (TIN), which focuses on tennis and literacy in two underserved neighborhoods in New Haven; JUNTA, New Haven’s advocate organization for the Latino community, which New HYTEs has partnered with; and its growing JTT program, which now offers a developmental clinic to beginners under the age of eight.
“USTA New England has taken a real interest in learning and engaging with New HYTEs and its mission to deliver tennis and education to New Haven’s underserved youth,” said New HYTEs Executive Director Mavi Sanchez-Skakle. “By nurturing this relationship, USTANE has become a true participant in the successful delivery of impactful programming.
“I’ve worked with both the Leadership Academy and New HYTEs and have seen first hand the impact they’ve had on these children’s lives, both on the court and off,” said Jenn Myatt, USTA New England Tennis Service Representative for Connecticut. “So many of these kids excel on and off the court, and it’s amazing knowing our funding is one of the first steps in their success.”
See how your organization can benefit from a 2017 USTA New England grant by visiting the grants page on our website.