WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 25, 2019 – The USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association, announced that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network by launching an NJTL 50th Anniversary campaign.
Arthur Ashe cofounded the NJTL network in 1969 along with longtime tennis greats Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. The three founders envisioned the NJTL as a way to reach young people in inner cities and to use tennis as a platform to teach them important life lessons. The goals at the NJTL’s founding remain the same: instilling in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence; and giving all kids (regardless of income, race, or gender) the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a life time of enjoyment from the sport and experience its myriad benefits.
In 2014, the NJTL network combined with the USTA Foundation. NJTL chapters are supported by the USTA Foundation through grants such as the Program and Capacity Building grants. There are multiple tennis and educational initiatives and opportunities for NJTL participants, including scholarships, Excellence Teams, ACE Curriculum, USTA Foundation Essay Contest, and participation in Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the US Open. Today, the NJTL network features nearly 300 chapters that reach approximately 180,000 youth on an annual basis, providing free or low-cost tennis and education programming to the 50 largest markets in the U.S. – nurturing future leaders and providing opportunities for kids in need to succeed on the court, in the classroom and in life.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the NJTL network, the USTA Foundation has created a new USTA Foundation logo to be used for 2019 to celebrate 50 Years of the NJTL. It will launch a series of stories titled “NJTL 50 for 50,” highlighting a combination of 50 NJTL participants, leaders, pioneers and alumni. These captivating stories will shed light on the positive impact their programs have had on their lives, and will be featured on USTA.com and ustafoundation.com, as well as USTA and US Open social media channels using #NJTL50.
The campaign will also include the release of a new public service announcement, narrated by longtime USTA Foundation supporter and its Past President, Mary Carillo. The PSA entitled "When They Grow Up," focuses on five typical NJTL participants imagining a successful future through their on-court and in classroom experiences. Click here to watch.
For its fundraising efforts, the USTA Foundation will implement a new text-to-donate option and unveil a new Avenue of Aces® 50th Anniversary Celebration Court at the 2019 US Open. This will feature 50 bricks and pavers in the Celebration Court area on the east end of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Fifty percent of the net proceeds from the 50th Anniversary Celebration Court will support Arthur Ashe’s legacy at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) through the Arthur Ashe Jr. Scholarship Fund, and the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund. For more information, fans and supporters should visit https://www.ustafoundation.com/avenue-of-aces-50/.
“The USTA Foundation has a lot to celebrate this year, and we’re especially excited to highlight 50 years of the NJTL network,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director, USTA Foundation. “We are proud of how this powerful network continues to uplift and impact under-resourced youth through tennis and education programs, as well as instill the ideals and values demonstrated and taught by its founders, Arthur Ashe, Sheridan Snyder and Charlie Pasarell. Through story-telling and digital platforms, this campaign will shed light on the incredible impact the NJTL network has had on many. It will also bring awareness of the USTA Foundation’s continued efforts to strengthen the network and its programs so that chapters remain as strong and positive entities in the lives of our youth.”