June 16th, 2023
Restoring Florida Tennis One Penny at a Time: Hurricane Relief Update
During the 2022 Hurricane Season, many parts across the state were left destroyed by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The USTA Florida Foundation, with your help, is dedicated to restoring tennis in these communities and putting people back on the courts.
The USTA Florida Foundation launched the Hurricane Relief Fund in late 2022 and is continuing the relief efforts in 2023. The Foundation’s goal is simple but help from donors is crucial as we aim to raise $1 million to donate across the state of Florida.
“The 2022 hurricane season had destructive impacts on several areas in the state, especially in Southwest Florida, resulting in loss of play for adult and youth leagues, and community player groups,” said Elizabeth DeConti, USTA Florida Foundation President. “The USTA Florida Section Foundation is committed to helping these tennis facilities with their restoration and the Hurricane Relief Fund will contribute toward our efforts to make these courts playable again!”
USTA and USTA Florida have agreed to work together to help achieve this goal. As of now, The USTA Board of Directors donated $250,000 to the fund. The USTA Florida Board of Directors has also committed $250,000.
At the USTA Florida 2022 Annual Meeting, the Foundation had The Exchange band, led my USTA Florida Board President, Phil Girardi, come out and host a fundraiser. Thanks to generous donors in attendance, the concert raised $8,727, which was then matched by the section, for a grand total of $17,454.
Another way people have been helping contribute to the fund’s goal is from USTA Florida League players. They have donated nearly $500 through a donation option on the League Sectional Registration platform. If you are a player in the USTA Florida Adult Leagues, this feature will be active for all players to donate when they register for any event in 2023.
To this date, through the collective tennis community’s generosity, the Hurricane Relief Fund has seen $518,300 raised. These funds from kind donors have begun to be utilized to support facilities impacted by the facilities. To date, eight different facilities have submitted requests for funding. USTA Florida and the Foundation are reviewing and working on awarding these tennis centers with proper funding.
So far, $200,000 from the Hurricane Relief Fund has been committed to the city-owned Racquet Club of Cocoa Beach. The facility saw extensive court damage from the hurricane season last year and with the help of these funds, they are hopeful to restore their tennis courts to what they once were.
With $200,000 of the 518,300 committed, that has 318,300 remaining to address the remaining facilities requesting support. To continue to help Florida tennis facilities impacted in 2022 and as the 2023 Hurricane Season is here, you can make donations to this fund and help make a difference in the tennis community. Every cent helps keep tennis in Florida communities across the state.
USTA Florida President Phil Girardi is thrilled to see the tennis community contributing to a great cause in this time of need. “I’m thankful to the USTA Florida Foundation, The USTA Florida Board, USTA National, and our partners for stepping up in this time of need in our state for helping to raise funds,” he said. “Tennis facilities that have been affected by the latest hurricanes need our help and we should be there for them. We owe it to our players and providers.”
USTA Florida and the Section Foundation want to see facilities thriving in the state, and the organization is determined to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to restore tennis in their community.
To donate, visit: ustafloridafoundation.com/hurricanerelief