USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced that it has awarded 33 year-end grants totaling $420,650. Among the organizations recognized with grants were: Project Lovematch in Saddle River, NJ ($3,000 grant); Say Yes to Education in Syracuse, N.Y ($10,000 grant); HERO in Purchase, N.Y. ($18,630 grant); the New York Junior Tennis League in Queens, NY ($15,000 grant), and three in New York, NY – Abundant Waters ($5,000 grant), Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program ($25,000 grant), and Mentoring USA ($15,000 grant).

The number of program grants awarded in 2010 was 59, for a total amount of $855,150. Combined with scholarship awards, USTA Serves distributed more than $1 million in 2010.

The bi-annual grant process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was developed to provide disadvantaged, at-risk children in underserved communities, as well as people with disabilities, the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format, and also to help combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. To date, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $10 million in grants to a variety of programs that share those aims.

At funded program sites, children between the ages of 5-18 learn about healthy nutrition and lifestyles, responsible citizenship, study skills, and computer literacy. The grant recipients are chosen by a Grant Proposal Review Committee comprised of Foundation Board Members and USTA National staff, with important input from USTA Sections. They are awarded to programs that successfully combine tennis and education and help children pursue their goals and highest dreams by leading healthier lives, succeeding in school and becoming healthier citizens. New for 2010, USTA Serves has begun granting money to programs for children of deployed military personnel who are at particular risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties.

“USTA Serves is excited to continue investing financial and other resources to support organizations that believe in the powerful combination of tennis and education,” said Deborah Slaner Larkin, Executive Director, USTA Serves. “We are proud of each organization’s expertise, commitment and passion, and commend them for making an impact in the lives of the people they serve.”

Mentoring USA believes that the presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life increases self-esteem, strengthens relationships with peers and adults, improves academic performance and attendance, and helps combat school drop-out. Since its inception, Mentoring USA has provided mentors for more than 5,000 children. The grant from USTA Serves “Aces for Kids” will be used to help expand Mentoring USA’s Quickstart tennis/mentoring framework into five new U.S. markets, and will focus upon encouraging healthy lifestyles and academic improvement.

The following programs were awarded 2010 year-end grants by USTA Serves:

  • Abundant Waters, Inc., New York, N.Y.
  • A’s & Aces, New Orleans, La.
  • Azleway, Inc., Tyler, Texas
  • Boston Inner City Youth Tennis Program, Dorchester, Mass.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Camden County, Inc., Camden, N.J.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Martin County, Inc., Hobe Sound, Fla.
  • CREATE Tennis, Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Ethel Walker School, Inc., Simsbury, Conn.
  • Harlem Junior Tennis Program, Inc., New York, N.Y.
  • Harper for Kids, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc., Orlando, Fla.
  • HERO, Inc., Purchase, N.Y.
  • I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Boulder, Colo.
  • International Rescue Committee, Inc., San Diego, Calif.
  • KIPP Endeavor Academy, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Latin American Youth Center, Washington, D.C.
  • MACH Academy, Inc., Augusta, Ga.
  • Mentoring USA, Inc., New York, N.Y.
  • New York Junior Tennis League, Woodside, N.Y.
  • Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund, Waterloo, Iowa
  • Our Military Kids Inc., McLean, Va.
  • Portland After-School Tennis & Education, Inc., Portland, Ore.
  • Project Lovematch, Inc., Saddle River, N.J.
  • Reach for College Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association, Wilmington, Del.
  • Say Yes to Education, Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.
  • Sportsmens Tennis Club, Inc., Dorchester, Mass.
  • Tennis for Charity, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
  • United Neighbors, Inc., Davenport, Iowa
  • University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
  • Up A Break, Inc., Marietta, Ga.
  • Youth Tennis Advantage, Oakland, Calif.
  • Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy, Houston, Texas

In more USTA partnership news, Mentoring USA Executive Director, Stephen Powell, will serve as the Chairperson of the USTA Eastern Multicultural Participation Committee for the 2011-2012 term. The Multicultural Participation Committee is part of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), a volunteer-based, not-for profit membership organization that works year-round to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The Multicultural Participation Committee (MPC) was formed by the USTA to increase minority participation-particularly in the African-American, Asian, Latino, Hispanic, and Native American communities.

The goals of the USTA Eastern Multicultural Participation Committee are:

  • To identify major barriers which prohibit multicultural participation in the USTA.
  • To develop promotional, program and leadership initiatives at the national and sectional levels that will substantially increase multicultural participation in the USTA.
  • To promote inclusion of people from all backgrounds in all areas of the USTA.
  • To build linkages to tennis organizations that serve multicultural communities to better promote tennis in their community.
  • To identify methods to monitor and evaluate multicultural participation in USTA programs and on sectional and national committees.