The Board of Directors for the USTA Florida Section Foundation made the collective decision this week to keep the current 2020 grant cycle open through Oct. 31, 2020. The decision was made due to the heightened concerns surrounding COVID-19, which has impacted providers, facilities, and programs across the state.
The Board also approved a motion to lift a restriction stating that organizations could only apply for new or expanding programs if they had applied in the past.
“This is a giant step in a positive direction,” said Alexis Johnson, Executive Director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “Our Board understands that just being able to maintain any program once the dust settles around COVID-19 will be difficult.”
This move will merge the two yearly grant cycles offered by the Foundation. The first, which opened Feb. 1 and was due to close on Apr. 30, will now span through the summer months and close Oct. 31.
“These are uncertain times and we’re here to help,” said Johnson. “Our hope is to provide any grassroots community tennis organizations struggling with summer and fall programming the relief they need.”
Grants from the USTA Florida Section Foundation, the giving arm of USTA Florida, offer funding for youth tennis programs, adaptive tennis programs, community tennis programs in economically challenged areas, along with facility assistance in the renovation, refurbishment and building of quality public tennis facilities.
This year, the USTA Florida Section Foundation also introduced wheelchair grants to eligible wheelchair tennis programs that have a current USTA organizational membership, a broad base of community support, meet a compelling need in the community, and align with the Foundation’s priority funding areas. Grants can go toward supporting on-court instruction, wheelchair focused instruction/training for providers, tennis equipment, tennis wheelchairs, and general program support.
In total, the USTA Florida Section Foundation’s community impact in 2019 was $165,386. $62,755 in funding was awarded to community tennis organizations across the state to provide equipment and programming, $29,071 went toward hurricane relief efforts in the Florida panhandle, and a generous $50,000 went to backing the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation’s brand-new teen center.
“Our mission is to ‘Change Lives Through Tennis’ and we know our support will be needed once programs normalize,” said Johnson. “We encourage organizations who help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through tennis to apply for our grants now, in order to plan for the near future.”
Besides making an impact investment, you can support Florida recreational grassroots tennis with the purchase of a “Play Tennis!” license plate or by signing-up for the RoundUp App, where 100 percent of the change received from rounding-up your purchases goes straight back into the communities needing it the most through grant award opportunities.
ABOUT THE USTA FLORIDA SECTION FOUNDATION
With a mission of “Changing Lives through Tennis,” the USTA Florida Section Foundation provides financial support to organizations that help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through the great game of tennis. Since 2005, The USTA Florida Section Foundation has had a community impact of more than $1,600,000 through equipment and financial support for community tennis programs throughout Florida.