Four Courts, Create Community

Community. It isn’t just a word in the name of Rappahannock Community College (RCC). It literally and figuratively is the center and central focus for this higher education institution in the rural area of Warsaw, Va. 

Founded in 1970, Rappahannock Community College [RCC] is more than just a school, it is a beacon for community vitality always at the ready to spur growth and continually meet the needs of the people, businesses, and industries in the areas they serve. RCC especially values being a catalyst and partner for opportunities to improve and revitalize the local area so that not only their students benefit, the community benefits as well. 

One such benefit to the community is the four tennis courts prominently located on the RCC campus, open and available for all to use. 

Although the community college does not have a designated tennis team, the tennis courts have been a fixture in the area and a place where you could always find an activity, meet up with a neighbor, and just have some fun. They are the only public tennis courts for the rural and economically challenged counties of Richmond, Westmoreland, Essex, and Northumberland with a collective population of just under 50,000.

“It was well-known that all were welcome on the courts and in-turn the courts were respected – people knew to turn the lights on, they turned them off and just fully enjoyed the space,” shared Dr. Shannon Kennedy, President of the Rappahannock Community College since 2019. 

Though having open access to the courts was an amazing opportunity for the community to play tennis and gain the benefits of the sport, the courts were coming to a point where they were worn down and in serious need of repair. In addition, there were two courts that were deemed completely off limits due to safety concerns. It was time to rebuild. 

Revitalizing the tennis courts fit into a larger vision for the economic redevelopment of downtown Warsaw. RCC and their partners recognized that updated tennis courts would offer a multi-generational gathering place and give people the opportunity for healthy living and community engagement. All people – retirees, youth, students and all in between – would have an improved and open place for tennis and daily activity. These tennis courts would also become the new home for the Rappahannock High School Tennis Teams.   

Many stakeholders got involved and championed the project. 

“I believe in working closely with the local school system, other higher education institutions, and industries in order to create and grow programs,” said Kennedy. “The best way possible to do something like this is to keep it as economically feasible for all partners. We want to show a collaborative spirit.

The collaborative spirit proved itself with the stakeholders, including RCC, pooling resources for the project. Everyone agreed that the tennis courts should be refurbished to the highest standards and done in a way that would preserve the maintenance of the courts long-term. 

But funding ran short.  That’s when the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Court Refurbishment Grant created an additional pathway for RCC and their partners to push forward and finalize the project. 

With a grant for $10,000, they were able to use higher-quality materials, install a better surface and elevate the project to a new level, which ultimately could see big returns for the school and the community. In fact, some of the returns have started already.   

This past spring, the Rappahannock High School Girls Tennis team hosted District Championships on the new courts during which they came out victorious and made a run at the state championships. 

Kennedy shared that the new tennis courts are very active with people playing as early as 6 a.m. All-day long, individuals are soaking in the newness of the refurbished tennis courts, which were officially reopened in July. 

“Every time I pass by the courts, people are there – they are in constant use,” says Kennedy. “Our courts are bringing the community together, creating comradery, and instilling a sense of pride. They came at a good time.”

Moving forward, Richmond County is managing the use of the courts and implementing a variety of tennis programs, camps, and classes. There will even be an educational program for community college students interested in pursuing a career teaching physical education.   

“Tennis brings a lot of families and people together,” said Kennedy. “We’re hoping to have tournaments and bring people from outside the community to our courts. This is good for the college, the economy, and the community. The tennis courts are worth the investment and are looking at years of enjoyment to come.”  

Having four newly refurbished tennis courts open and available for public use has delivered on a promise to infuse vibrancy and spur community revitalization. With your support, the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis court refurbishment grant helped bring the courts and community to life. 

Make a gift to support our ongoing work helping more communities build and rebuild tennis courts, especially in under-resourced communities, so that more people can easily access the sport and all the benefits it provides. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mikeal Carpenter Scholarship Recipient

Junior Scholarship Helps Players Reach Goals

A Testimonial to the Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship Program, from Mikeal C.

As a youth tennis player, Mikeal Carpenter had a vision for where he wanted to be and where he wanted his tennis game to go. He knew he wanted to eventually take his tennis talents into the collegiate level and hopefully progress from there. That is when he knew his route to get there involved tennis tournaments.

Mikeal Carpenter, Junior Player Scholarship recipient, Playing Tennis

Carpenter was successful in what he set out to do. His journey as a junior in the Mid-Atlantic Section was notable. Carpenter ranked within the top 5 in the Section and the top 100 Nationally. In 2019, he won the B18s June Sectional and was a finalist in B18s at the 2019 Zimmerman/Johnson USTA National Tournament. Currently, his tennis journey continues as a freshman on the men’s tennis team at Morgan State University. 

For Mikeal, being able to play in a variety of youth tennis tournaments was important for his path to success. So was being a 2018 USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship recipient.

Read How Below:

First, when asked how receiving a scholarship helped further his tennis game, Carpenter responded, “receiving a scholarship from USTA Mid-Atlantic helped me a lot because I was able to play more tournaments and improve my game to go to the next level.”

Since 2013, the USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship has helped young tennis players and families cover expenses related to tennis. It helps take away some of the financial worries that some families have when it comes to buying tennis equipment and shoes or adding in a few more lessons to the schedule.

Above all, it is because of generous donations from you that the scholarship program can help more children continue to play or start playing. 

“My two main goals for the future of my tennis game is to graduate from college while playing tennis, and I also want to play on the professional level at Wimbledon someday,” Carpenter said.

Read below to learn why he believes it important for you to support the Scholarship program.

Show Your Support:

Mikeal Carpenter, Junior Player Scholarship recipient, Playing Tennis at Orange Bowl

By supporting the Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship you can help more juniors in the Section achieve big goals like Mikeal. Expenses and access to tennis should not hinder any junior from being able to play the game they love. 

“People should support the scholarship program because it helps players who didn’t have the opportunity to play [in] certain tournaments the ability to play,” Carpenter said. “It really helps someone in need.”

Overall, at USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe that neither background, location, resources, nor ability should limit any child from learning the lifetime sport of tennis. That is why the USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship was developed. It provides solutions that help all children get physically active through tennis. 

How to Donate:

Help bring the love of tennis to more juniors in the Mid-Atlantic and help them reach big tennis goals. Support the Junior Player Scholarship by making a generous donation today. You can help the next junior player achieve big, just like Mikeal Carpenter. 

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.