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USTA Florida "Share the Love" Initiative Offers Half Million in Grants for Community Tennis

March 9, 2010 06:00 PM
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - March 10, 2010 - The United States Tennis Association-Florida Section (USTA Florida) has launched a $500,000 "Share the Love" grants initiative to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during these challenging economic times.

The Share the Love campaign includes an additional $500,000 on top of the funding that USTA Florida annually puts back into community projects and programs. USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida.

Public tennis facilities have been one of the hardest hit by economic conditions that have seen cities cut back on parks and recreation funding, in addition to school districts dropping sports programs. Grant projects will be highlighted throughout the year and additional information will be available at www.USTASharetheLove.com.

"In my opinion, the Share the Love grant program is the single most progressive and exciting thing that we've done at USTA Florida in my 10 years with the association," said USTA Florida President Donn Davis. "For our Board of Directors to have the good judgment and foresight to approve spending $500,000 of our reserves through this program is commendable, but to do it under these economic conditions is incredible and shows the tremendous compassion inherent in our well-informed leadership."

Funding priorities include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

USTA Florida volunteer and board member Bob Pfaender was instrumental in the conception of the grant offering and heading the Share the Love Task Force.

"Our mission is to promote and develop tennis in Florida," Pfaender said. "We have been fortunate to be in a financially solid place due to the responsible leadership of our section and the support of our USTA Florida membership. We felt it was the right time to give much-needed assistance back to the communities to stimulate and support programs to grow the game."

The Share the Love grant application form, created by the task force, is a simple document designed to encourage applications from all regions and levels of the Florida tennis community.
"Too often the grant process is burdensome and lengthy," Pfaender said. "We wanted to simplify that. At the same time we require full accountability for any funds distributed. We hope to help hundreds of public park entities, QuickStart initiatives, schools, start-up programs, and other projects that will make a difference in a community to expose people of all ages to the sport of tennis."

"USTA Florida and our 50,000 members are excited to be able to provide half a million dollars in community support during these tough economic times to ensure tennis continues to thrive in Florida," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth.

Despite economic conditions, last year tennis participation in the United States topped 30 million players for the first time in more than two decades. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, tennis is the fastest-growing sport in America among individual traditional sports with an increase in participation of 43% from 2000 to 2009.

For more information go to www.USTASharetheLove.com.


About USTA Florida
Established in 1949, USTA Florida is a section of the United States Tennis Association.  It is a not-for-profit volunteer organization with more than 50,000 members, 1,000 organizational members and a $3.8 million budget. As the official governing body of tennis in Florida, USTA Florida operates from an executive office in Daytona Beach with 27 staff members and more than 600 volunteers throughout the state working towards a mission to promote and develop tennis in Florida. To learn more about USTA Florida visit www.ustaflorida.com.





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