On The Way: More Safe Places to Play Tennis

Local tennis courts – whether at a public park, school, or within a community – have the power to bring people together. The tennis court is where someone can learn the sport for the first time, where friends and neighbors meet for fun competition, and where people of all backgrounds and abilities find common ground. But not all tennis courts are equal. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic strives to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and having safe, well-maintained and inviting places to play in local communities is critical to growing the game. Yet, many communities have courts with more wear-and-tear or lack accessible tennis courts completely.

That’s why we are proud to continue to offer and award our Safe Place to Play Grants. 

Safe Place to Play grants support tennis court refurbishment and construction projects in the Mid-Atlantic region to help revitalize tennis court spaces and create more opportunities for people to experience the sport.

Morgan County Tennis Association looking to fill this area with tennis courts.

At the conclusion of 2019, we awarded two local entities with grant funding to support their tennis court projects with work to begin and continue through 2020. 

The Morgan County Tennis Association (Berkeley Springs, W.Va.) – Safe Place to Play grant funding will support the continuation of their work to construct the first regulation-sized tennis facility in their local area. Without any regulation-sized tennis courts in Morgan County, this new facility will be a welcome addition to the community and will enable more people, especially children, to have access to free tennis programming. They are working with the local government, parks and recreation department and local school board on this project and received grant funding from USTA Mid-Atlantic in 2018. This additional grant funding will support the final phases of the project including construction beginning in June 2020 and court activation in the fall of 2020.

Westleigh Recreation Club (North Potomac, Md.) and MATA Sports – MATA Sports is an organization based in the Washington, D.C. area that aims to instill healthy living habits among youth through sports, especially through tennis. The organization is working to rebuild and reinvigorate the love of tennis at the Westleigh Recreation Club in North Potomac, Md., and for the surrounding community, however, the state of the existing courts has become detrimental to the effort. Grant funding from the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section will help repair, repaint, and resurface the courts; replace the backboard; and purchase new windscreens and nets.

With improved courts at Westleigh and strong community interest in tennis, MATA Sports hopes to increase tennis participation among all ages and levels. For youth, they plan to host weekly tennis events, especially beginner and introductory Net Generation events that help introduce kids to the game in fun ways. They also hope to reinstate USTA Junior Team Tennis, host competitive events and training for those juniors looking for more and offer USTA League for adults at all levels. Free sports days, scholarship opportunities and more are planned to reach even more people with tennis. Their goal is to complete the tennis court revitalization efforts by the beginning of April 2020.

Mid-Atlantic’s Safe Place to Play Grant at work in 2019.

USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit charitable organization with a mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis, aims to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region. Quality tennis infrastructure in more Mid-Atlantic communities of all types is a key aspect of succeeding in the mission and vision of the organization.

Your tax-deductible donations support this grant program and efforts to improve and add tennis court infrastructure throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Make a donation today so that we can continue to offer even more Safe Place to Play grants to help more local tennis courts become safe, inviting places to learn and play the game. 

More information about the 2020 Safe Place to Play Grant application and process will be announced soon. 


USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Because Every Child Belongs

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is on a mission to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region by helping people and communities grow stronger, healthier, and more connected through tennis. Our goal is to bring tennis to all, especially children, in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Thanks to you and your gift your tax-deductible donation directly supports increased access to tennis in the Mid-Atlantic through our programs, such as our Youth After School and Summer Camp Tennis Program, our Safe Places to Play Facility Assistance Program and our Junior Competition Scholarship

This year we continue to invest in the next generation by teaching children the benefits of the sport. Tennis is a lifetime sport and our After School and Summer Camp Programs teach tennis to those that may not have the opportunity to play or learn the game elsewhere. We are building a foundation for children to live a healthy life and to learn character skills that they will use for years to come. Watch this video to learn about our program and how, together, we can put a racquet in the hands of more children…because every child belongs.

Make a tax-deductible donation today to support USTA Mid-Atlantic’s charitable programs. 

Happy Holidays Tennis Friends

USTA Mid-Atlantic is proud to help EVERYONE grow stronger, healthier, and more connected through tennis. We hope your holidays are full of the joyful spirit the season brings. And that the laughs, high-fives and exhilarating memories of well-played tennis matches fill you with a light that shines for all to see.  Happy Holidays!

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A Reason Why

We caught up with David K., an active donor to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, and talked to him about his reasons why he supports the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. 

How long have you been playing tennis? What do you love about the sport? 

David K.: I started playing tennis in my teens, then later while I was in the U.S. Air Force in Berlin, Germany.  Following my military service, I attended college and went to work as a defense contractor from which I was deployed to many locations throughout the world.  No matter where you go, no matter what country; no matter the environment, you can always find someone who plays tennis. If you cannot find a court, there is always a wall to practice on. In 2018 I decided to try refereeing. This has proven to be a great way to stay in the game and help our youth, plus the referee has the best seat in the house! You can’t get any closer to good tennis!

Why do you choose to donate to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section? 

David K.: I like to support organizations that I know will put donations to good use and I like to help the youth of today become our leaders for tomorrow. 

Do you feel you are helping make a difference? How? 

David K.: Being a referee in the Mid-Atlantic Section, one has the opportunity to see first hand where the donations go as well as watching our youth compete and improve their skills.

You can show support and directly impact and improve access to tennis for all people in the Mid-Atlantic region by making a tax-deductible donation to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. 

Already a donor? What are your reasons why you support USTA Mid-Atlantic? Get in touch and share your “why.” We’d love to feature your story too!

Give Recognition – Nominate Champions of Tennis Today

Every year, USTA Mid-Atlantic recognizes and awards individuals and organizations that are champions in the tennis community. Award season is an exciting time of the year because individuals and organizations are being nominated by peers and others who are working hand-in-hand to fulfill a common goal, which is to bring more tennis to the community.

The accomplishments being made in the community for tennis take time, passion and commitment. Being recognized for this hard work can leave a lasting impression, validate the importance of the work being done, and can inspire others as an example to emulate. That is why it is important to nominate deserving individuals and organizations today!

We turned to last years’ award winners and asked them about the significance of being nominated and awarded a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award.

When Jill Rene Steele, the Principal of Simpson Elementary School in West Virginia, was asked what it meant to her and her school to be awarded the Outstanding School Partner Award she said, “We were so honored to be chosen, and thrilled to be involved.” Simpson Elementary was a USTA Mid-Atlantic school partner and offered in-school opportunities to students eager to learn tennis in 2018. “Our school has gained increased confidence in realizing we can attain recognition for achievements at a greater level than just locally,” Jill notes further.

Not only are organizations recognized for their achievement in promoting tennis across the region, but individuals are also being celebrated as well.

When Riley King, winner of the Most Valuable Member Award, was asked why it is important for fellow members to nominate deserving individuals for awards he said, “It is nice to show recognition to those who invest in a sport and have a positive influence on others.” He further noted, “I’m never surprised how widespread and far-reaching the tennis community is, and yet it always feels like a “small world” because you are able to make so many connections to different people.” For Riley, being involved in this sport is not just about teaching tennis, it is about building relationships within the community as well.

Another individual who notes the importance of nominating people and organizations for a Mid-Atlantic Section award is Jerry Cifuentes. Jerry won the Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award in 2018 and winning this award continues to be a positive reinforcement in his life. When asked how it felt to be recognized in front of a crowd of people at the Washington Kastles match he said, “The feeling was incredible! It gave me the motivation to continue to do what I love, which is teaching tennis.” Not only did it feel great for Jerry to be awarded this honor, but it gave him the confidence to continue to move forward with his work. “I want to continue to work with those who may not be exposed to tennis, due to cultural, racial, or social boundaries; and I want to put them at the forefront of my coaching,” he said.

All award winners felt honored to be recognized by peers and motivated to continue to bring tennis to more people in the future.

Now it is your turn to leave your mark. If you know a deserving person or group to honor with a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award, nominate them today and let them know they have made a positive impact for tennis.

USTA Mid-Atlantic will be accepting nominations until July 1 and will present the winners with their awards on July 20 at USTA Family Day at The Washington Kastles. Happy nominating!

If you have any further questions, please reach out to Megan Driscoll at driscoll@mas.usta.com and we will be happy to assist.