Tennis Grants Improve the Community

It Doesn’t Take Long to Feel the Benefits

“Fun, friendly, cool.” These are the three words 11-year-old Deoz uses to describe tennis – a sport he recently came to fall in love with. After playing lots of other sports, Deoz discovered tennis on his own. He decided to try tennis after school because – in his words – it was just fun. 

“When I first started [tennis], I liked it right away,” said Deoz. “I had to run a lot and that was fun. And the drills and exercises came quickly to me.” 

It doesn't take long to feel the benefits of tennis

When his mom noticed how much Deoz was interested in the sport she decided to get more information about it so that she could help him keep pursuing his interest. It was a fateful conversation at the hair salon that gave her all the information she needed. Another patron told her about the different opportunities available for youth tennis and about local tennis programs offered by the Park and Recreation Department near where they lived in Prince George’s County, Md. She and Deoz decided to check the programs out. 

“I was just wowed by the programs,” said Deoz’s mom. “I had never seen tennis programs to the level they were being offered – camps, individual coaching, team tennis. It was overwhelming at first but then the coach really helped to make it easy to get Deoz going.” 

Soon after a few introductory lessons, Deoz’s tennis skills were progressing and he was able to start playing with other kids, getting more competitive and comfortable. Not only that, Deoz and his mom were impressed by the community surrounding tennis, noticeable by the variety of ages and people that play, courts always in use, and caring people and coaches that paid as much attention to what was happening off the court in Deoz’s life as what was happening on the court. 

They also started to notice the many character-building skills and benefits developing within. 

“I had to do a lot of running drills and that was fun because it got my speed up to race with my friends,” Deoz shared. “Tennis also helped with my focus – you have to focus and know what you are doing in the game. It helped with school and other activities.” 

But the most important lessons he was learning on the court were life-lessons he fully embraced off the court. 

“The biggest lesson I am learning from tennis is to always be fair. You learn to call the ball in or out and that being fair is most important, even in close matches,” he shared. 

As the character-building benefits from tennis just started to shine for Deoz, the unimaginable happened. A pandemic and job loss for Deoz’s mom. She didn’t want this temporary situation to be a concern and impact his ability to continue to play tennis. Deoz’s tennis coach offered a suggestion – apply for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship. 

“It was easy to apply for the scholarship and it was so helpful,” she commented. “I wanted to make sure that I could keep Deoz in tennis and that he had something to do.” 

Thanks to generous gifts from the USTA Mid-Atlantic community, scholarships for youth players at any level of the game – even those new to the sport like Deoz – are available. Scholarships help with the cost to take lessons and help nurture the benefits the sport provides. Deoz used the scholarship to keep up with tennis and continue in the classes he was taking and now is shaping his character and future in the sport as well. 

When asked what he would say to those that donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic and support programs such as the Junior Player Scholarship he said: 

“THANK YOU for giving to kids in need. There are a lot of kids in need of scholarships, just like me, that your donations help. Donating helps kids learn tennis, and also learn leadership skills, strategies in thinking, building confidence, and overall development.”

And when asked what he would tell other kids like him about tennis and trying the sport: 

“Definitely try it out! If you are interested, tell someone that tennis is something you want to do – you never know where it will take you until you try it!” 

Can you give a gift to support young players and those children interested in tennis, just like Deoz? Your gift can help children discover something new and gain the character-building benefits only tennis can provide.

Give a gift before the end of the year or join the Serve Squad and make an automatic monthly donation. We need 50 people to join the Serve Squad before the end of 2021. If you step up to the challenge and join, you’ll also be entered into a random drawing for a one-year subscription to TopCourt! 

Give a gift or join the Serve Squad today!  

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Plan for a Brighter Future of Tennis

So more players across the region have the opportunity to love the sport as much as you. 

What is your favorite part about playing tennis? 

This question is not as simple as it sounds. One may answer with “how much time do you have” because if someone gets you started on tennis they may need to cancel their afternoon plans. 

Tennis creates well-being, help grow tennis in the Mid-Atlantic today!

One thing that we can all agree on is that there are many reasons we get out on the court. Tennis is a lifetime sport that unlocks many benefits for you physically, socially and emotionally. Playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic enables you to create friendships that will last a lifetime, gets you physically fit, and can help reduce stress

Your love for tennis is everlasting. Now you have a chance to leave an everlasting impact and plan for a future of tennis for others to enjoy and love the sport long after you are gone. You can help continue to spread the love of tennis and make the sport accessible for all by showing your support to USTA Mid-Atlantic through planned giving and other gift arrangements.

Plus, now is a great time to plan for and prepare to leave your impact on Mid-Atlantic tennis because it is Estate Planning Week.

Every year, Estate Planning Week is celebrated as a way to promote financial wellness among all communities. The purpose of estate planning is to develop a strategy that will maintain the financial security of individuals throughout their lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of their property and assets to intended individuals or organizations. 

During Estate Planning Week you can review your current plans to ensure they are aligned and reflect any updates you want to make, including ways to give back to tennis through USTA Mid-Atlantic. If you haven’t started planning, this is a week you can take steps to move forward in that work and get your estate plans established. Wherever you are in the process of Estate Planning, there are ways you can leave a legacy for tennis and show your support for the sport you love through: 

  • Planned Gifts: By including USTA Mid-Atlantic in your estate plans, you can continue to have an impact on our tennis community and leave a legacy of tennis for all to enjoy. Bequests are one of the simplest and most popular methods of gift planning.
  • Donor-Advised Fund (DAF): A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a qualified public charity. Think of it as a philanthropic savings account. When you are ready, you can then recommend a grant to USTA Mid-Atlantic.
  • Gift of Stocks or Securities: Gifts of appreciated securities benefit USTA Mid-Atlantic while providing you with tangible tax benefits. Please consult your financial, tax, or legal advisor for more information.

Now that you have planned for a future of tennis, there are other ways to make an immediate impact beyond the net:

Help Grow Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic, give to tennis today.
  • Donate: Make a one-time gift or join THE SERVE SQUAD, with a recurring monthly donation online. Visit www.ustamasblog.com/donate for more information and ways to make your unrestricted gift to improve the region’s access to tennis’ unique health and social outcomes.
  • Make a tribute gift: You can make a donation in honor of someone whose love for tennis reached far beyond the court. Honor them by supporting the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic so it can leave an equally powerful impact on the next generation of players. 
  • Match Your Gift: Employee matching gift programs are a great way to double or even triple your contribution to USTA Mid-Atlantic! Check with your human resources department to see if your employer has a matching gift program or use our Matching Gift Finder Tool.
  • Join the Creators Circle: Members of the Creators Circle are dedicated donors who provide gifts of $1,000 or more per year. These individuals receive personalized updates on the impact of their giving and invitations to engage in our virtual and in-person events.

Looking to get your company involved in supporting USTA Mid-Atlantic too?

Learn how to become a Net Positive Community Partner by contacting Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development at USTA Mid-Atlantic. Partners receive year-round virtual benefits and personalized assistance from our staff to meet their philanthropic goals.

As you can see, there are many ways to plan for a future of tennis and give back to USTA Mid-Atlantic and advance the sport you know and love. Give future generations of players the opportunity to experience their own love of tennis and ensure the sport can provide lasting benefits for years to come. Show your support today or by planning for the future. Together we can make tennis available for ALL. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Tennis Court

More Ways to Succeed with Your Tennis Team

Fundraising Challenges Offer a New Way to Compete

USTA Mid-Atlantic introduced the first fundraising challenge for the tennis community – the Summer Smash – in 2021 as a way for teams to come together to raise money to support tennis in local communities and the vital work USTA Mid-Atlantic does as a non-profit to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and bring the life-long benefits of tennis to everyone.

USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis league championship

This fundraising challenge brought tennis friends together to give back and do something actionable and meaningful together for a good cause. Individuals and teams came together to rally their communities and networks to donate. As the fundraising went on top achievers earned badges and prizes both as individuals and as a team.

So who stepped up and smashed the 2021 Summer Smash Fundraising Challenege? 

Congratulations to the top THREE fundraisers: 

  • 1st Place: Robin Sanford 
  • 2nd Place: Jenny Hein
  • 3rd Place: Joshua Padgett
One prize pack that was given to the winners of the Summer Smash Challenge

Thank you to Community Event Partner, Ruger’s Wafers LLC for sponsoring the 2021 challenge! Thank you to our partners for supporting the challenge with prizes and SWAG for the top fundraisers! 

  • Doukenie Winery
  • Hit Happy
  • Marriott Newport News City Center
  • M. Price Distributing Company
  • Ruger’s Wafers LLC
  • Tennis Warehouse
  • The Spoiled Office
  • TopCourt
  • Vitalyte 
  • Wilson

The next fundraising challenge will be in spring 2022.

You may be wondering why you should participate in something like this.

Here are a few reasons to participate in a tennis fundraising challenge: 

  • It feels good to do something good. We can all use a little bit of feeling good right now. When your team or friends (or even if you are on your own) participate in the challenge you can feel good knowing that you are helping others in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia experience tennis and the benefits of the sport. Many people don’t have access to tennis and your fundraising will help change that.
  • Your raised funds will really help. The money you raise will make it easier for someone to learn or play tennis just like you. You will be lowering the barriers to entry and will help make tennis more accessible in communities that are under-resourced. 
  • Competition. Friendly competition on the tennis courts is fun, and now fundraising for tennis gives you a chance to get competitive off the court too. There are challenge levels to hit and unlock badges, prizes to earn, and you could WIN big by going big with your efforts. Be a winner! 

Now we know you all love a good challenge and great competition (and probably want to WIN!) so to have success we’ve put together five tips for a successful fundraiser. 

  1. Make your first donation to your page, $5, $10, $25 or more is a great way to get started and show others you really care. 
  2. Invite your fellow tennis players to join your fundraising team so that together you can reach your goal.
  3. Share your fundraising page with family and friends and ask them to help you reach your goal. 
  4. Share your page in a text message, on your Facebook page or Instagram page or even send an email! Friends help friends that ask! 
  5. Send thank you notes to all who donate to your page and let them know they are helping to change lives through the sport of tennis! 

How to get started?

When we have a fundraising challenge, it is easy to join in and set up your fundraising page and/or team. Follow these steps:

USTA Mid-Atlantic League women's team photo
  1. Click the sign up button on the top right side of the fundraising challenge event page. We will provide a link when the challenge is announced.
  2. Choose whether you want to fundraise as an individual or start a team.
  3. Personalize your page with your tennis story, photos and videos.
  4. Ask your friends and tennis teammates to join your team; you can send them a custom link to sign up on your dashboard. 
  5. Share your fundraising page with friends and family asking them to support you so that more people can experience the benefits of tennis. 

Questions? Contact Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development, cvargas@mas.usta.com

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. We envision a community where tennis is accessible and available for all people to play. USTA Mid-Atlantic has wide-reaching impact. We operate leagues, tournaments and other programs and events throughout the region for over 28,000 adult and youth members. We support the community providers, facilities and coaches that directly deliver the sport. The many health and social benefits of tennis have made it more popular than ever, and USTA Mid-Atlantic’s programs and outreach are rising to meet that demand. Click here to read the additional terms and conditions for the Summer Smash Fundraising event.

Creating More Opportunities for Play

The Building of New Tennis Courts with Safe Place to Play Grant

A story published in USA Today reported that tennis participation skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article references a study by the Physical Activity Council (PAC) that found that 21.64 million people played tennis in 2020. This is roughly a 22 percent increase in creating more tennis play from the previous year.  

Tennis is one of the few sports that allows you to play while maintaining a safe, social distance. Additionally, tennis helps you stay fit both physically and mentally; one of the greatest benefits of the sport is the way it brings people together. Tennis helps build communities by bringing people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities together. And is a sport that you can enjoy your entire life.

Now, imagine not having access to tennis because your community either lacks a tennis court or the courts are not safe to play on. Not having playable tennis courts available, communities miss out on all the benefits tennis has to offer. Overall, no one should be precluded from the sport because of the lack of resources. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic’s solution is our Safe Place to Play Grant. Our grant provides funds for tennis court construction and refurbishment in the Mid-Atlantic – often to communities in areas that need economic investment.

Creating safe places to play with the Mid-Atlantic Safe Place to Play grant

The Safe Place to Play Grant is creating more tennis play and supports communities in tangible ways. In the last three years, USTA Mid-Atlantic has granted nearly $70,000. These projects also include community outreach in the form of accessible and affordable tennis programming so that more people can learn and play the sport.

One such project to benefit from grant funds is in West Virginia. The Safe Place to Play Grant helped one community gain the first four tennis courts, ever, for the county. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic checked in with Ryan Fincham of Morgan County Tennis Association, a 2020 grantee in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. to see how their grant funds are impacting their community.

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What’s the status of construction?

Construction began in June 2020 and the courts are 99 percent completed. The courts will open to the public on March 1, 2021.

What types of tennis programming are you planning?

MCTA Board approving new courts with the Safe Place to Play grant

For almost a decade, the Morgan County Tennis Association has offered year-round youth tennis clinics for ages 4 to 14 either on two local courts in poor shape or in high school and church gyms. With the new courts, we are planning on continuing and expanding those programs.  Secondly, the courts will be used by the middle school and the intermediate school PE classes and the Berkeley Springs High School Boys and Girls Tennis Teams (that have been in existence for more than 15 years and have never held a home tennis match).  Finally, we plan to promote USTA Adult League play, as well as start Junior Team Tennis and host USTA sanctioned tournaments.

What do these courts mean to the community?

The courts have been a dream to many in the community for nearly 20 years. The community rallied around the project, and we feel the entire community is proud of the achievement. We think that many people will try tennis for the first time on these new courts.  

Creating safe places to play in Berkley Springs W Va.

For 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USTA Mid-Atlantic was able to continue its work supporting communities. We awarded three organizations Safe Place to Play grant funding. 

Charles City County Parks and Recreation, Charles City County, Va

The goal of rural Charles City County is to grow tennis by improving the tennis infrastructure. They recognize that tennis is an individual sport that is ideal for our current times. Their award will fund refurbishing and restoring the Parks and Recreation tennis courts. Kimberly Barrow of the Charles City County Parks and Recreation states that through this project “we would be able to affect both the physical and mental well being of the community on a large scale.” The project is scheduled to start in spring 2021.

Lindale Middle School, Anne Arundel County, Md.

Lindale Middle recognized that tennis should be accessible to all – including those who have a disability. They received state grant funding to resurface their courts but will use the Safe Place to Play grant to create more accessible tennis courts. “Our school is a community school where many organizations utilize our facilities. We want to make it another option to gather and learn the game of tennis,” says Elena Thomas of Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Their plan is to complete the entire project by fall 2021.

Rappahannock Community College Education Foundation, Warsaw, Va.

According to Kerry Wiersma of the Rappahannock Community College Education Foundation, their community’s vision is to create “a multi-generational gathering place that provides opportunities for healthy living and community engagement.” With that goal in mind, they built a joint initiative with the town of Warsaw, Richmond County, Richmond County Public Schools, and individual community donors to renovate and rebuild the tennis courts at the Rappahannock Community College. These tennis courts are the only tennis courts for the counties of Richmond, Westmoreland, Essex, and Northumberland and will be available for use by the community college, public school system, and the general population. Construction started in September 2020.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mission is to promote the growth of tennis. Quality tennis infrastructure in more communities is a key aspect of succeeding in the mission and vision of the organization. With more courts and by creating more tennis play, that means more lives and communities improve.

Your tax-deductible donations support this grant program. And supports changing lives by adding valuable tennis court infrastructure throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Make a donation today so that we can continue to offer Safe Place to Play grants.

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.

Five Ways to Give to Tennis on Giving Tuesday

On Giving Tuesday, it can feel hectic trying to figure out the best ways to give back. You want to make the most of the day and ensure you are contributing in a meaningful way and know that your contribution will really make a difference. Now is a great time to think about how you want to celebrate Giving Tuesday and prepare to get involved, especially to support your passion – tennis! 

5 Ways to Give to Tennis on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a popular day to give back to many types of charities and organizations. While most associate this day with making a monetary donation, there are other actions, in addition to making a gift, you can take to show your support to the causes you are passionate about.

We’ve rounded up a list of five ideas for you to help make giving back to tennis easy:

  •  Make a Gift! On Giving Tuesday, you’ll feel great giving a gift to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section knowing it will support the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic and help increase access to the sport for all people. Simply go online and make a tax-deductible donation. Need some motivation? Check out why this local tennis player chooses to donate.
  • Help Teach Tennis. USTA Mid-Atlantic delivers high-quality after school and summer camp tennis programs in our region. Our programs help kids learn tennis skills, build character, and give kids a healthy activity they can do for life!  We’ve helped thousands of children learn tennis in these programs! Learn more about working with us and open opportunities.
  • Register for virtual BINGO with USTA Mid-Atlantic. Play for a chance to win BIG prizes and enjoy some friendly competition.
  • Spread the Word about Tennis. You follow us on all the major social media platforms, right? If not, then plan to give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Giving Tuesday, an easy way you can show support is to share a social media post from us with your friends and encourage others to follow along! 

Give a gift today!

Your support may mean that one more child gets the chance to learn tennis for the very first time. Your gift will directly impact the growth of tennis in the Section

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is a 501c3 non-profit on a mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. We aim to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region. How will you show support on Giving Tuesday? 

Find out more about our mission and why you should support USTA Mid-Atlantic this Giving Tuesday.


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.