Including a $50,000 donation from the USTA Florida Section Foundation, the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation raised $250,000 at its 23rd Annual Champions for Children Gala last week, reaching an overall $5 million goal to build its new “Club 904” Teen Center.

At the gala attendees heard keynote remarks from Donovin Darius, former NFL Jacksonville Jaguars player, and the foundation honored scholarship winners and the Student Athlete of the Year.

Our 23rd Annual Merrill Lynch/Bank of America Champions for Children Gala was a huge success thanks to all of our…

Posted by MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation on Friday, October 18, 2019


It was 23 years ago that the 1996 Wimbledon finalist Washington had a dream to introduce the sport of tennis to children from low-income families in the urban core of Jacksonville, Fla. Since then, that dream has expanded to provide after-school and summer youth development programs to hundreds of Jacksonville youth each year.

The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation recognized the students and alumna who earned more than $93,000 in college scholarships earlier this year.

“The work for me was not just on the field, it was using your image, your likeness, your ability, everything for a greater cause beyond yourself,” Darius said. “One of the things I admire most about Mal Washington is that he’s doing that. Building a greater family, a greater community — he’s going to continue doing that for years to come.”

The Teen Center will offer age-appropriate services including academic assistance, college preparation, job and leadership training and recreational activities. The new 13,000+ square-foot facility will be located at Emmett Reed park, adjacent to the current Youth Center.

“We are thrilled to have received such a generous gift,” Washington said. “The unwavering support from the USTA Florida Section Foundation and this evening’s generous $50,000 gift not only helped us pass our $5 million goal for our Club 904, but it will help us continue to serve hope and change the lives of thousands of youth for decades to come.”

The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation’s mission is to develop champions in classrooms, and tennis courts, and throughout communities. The mission is being fulfilled by providing a three-hour after-school program focusing on education, life skills, and tennis for students in K-12th grade.

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