It has been a landmark month for the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation as the renowned after-school program and youth center raised more than $400,000, and announced a new teen center to be built on its campus near the downtown area in cooperation with the City of Jacksonville.

The 22nd Annual Current Sherman Group Champions for Children Gala, the foundation’s annual fundraiser held the first weekend in October this year, raised $255,000 for programming needs and $150,000 towards the newly-announced MWYF Teen Center.

More than 400 guests were at the gala to hear the first public announcement of the teen center, delivered by special guest and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

“MWYF serves such a basic need in our area by providing resources and mentors to young people, and the challenge continues to grow,” said MaliVai Washington, founder of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation and a former ATP World Tour pro and Wimbledon finalist. “The board of directors determined the time was right to launch a campaign to expand our programs and services in this area of the community.”

Washington also asked for the community’s support to reach the remaining $1.9 million needed to complete the campaign.

“We are excited by the support we have received so far,” he said of the more than $3 million already raised for the new teen center. “We hope the community will help us continue the momentum we have garnered over the past six months and get us to our final goal.”

The new 12,000-square-foot teen center will round out the MWYF campus in the Durkeeville neighborhood of Jacksonville, which currently consists of a youth center, tennis complex and the City of Jacksonville’s Emmett Reed Center and Emmett Reed Park. The new Teen Center will double the number of youth served through the foundation.

The teen center will include a high school lounge, game room and teaching kitchen, as well as expanded classroom and activity space, including a multipurpose room/theater and music technology room on the second floor. As part of the campaign, a portion of the current youth center will be renovated.

The goal is for the MWYF Teen Center to open in early 2020.

To donate or for more information go to