Evert rings Opening Bell at Nasdaq Stock Market

April 10, 2019 10:00 AM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA Foundation

In her first official public appearance since being named chair of the USTA Foundation’s board of directors, 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert rang the Opening Bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York City on Wednesday.

Evert was joined by USTA Foundation Board of Directors Vice Presidents Benjamin Doller and Kathleen Wu, treasurer Robert Oberrender and officers James Majeski and Missie Rennie.

USTA Foundation Advisory Board members Michael Borkowsky, Marcy Maguire, Neeraj Mehta and Thomas Shen were also in attendance, as were USTA Foundation Executive Director Dan Faber, USTA CEO and Executive Director Gordon Smith, USTA staff members and children from New York Junior Tennis and Learning (NYJTL).

Evert said it was an honor to serve as chairperson of the Foundation's board, and she spoke about her commitment to making tennis more fun and accessible to children across the country. 

Evert partnered with the USTA Foundation in 2016 to establish the Jimmy Evert Fund scholarship as a way to honor her father, who was a coach and mentor to aspiring tennis players. She welcomed the NYJTL children and said the USTA Foundation is proud to support NJTL students and programs like the one in the Bronx from where these children visited.

"I'm so excited to be part of this USTA Foundation," Evert said. "I'm so excited. It is really interesting when you and I think about the USTA, we think about the US Open, we think about equality in prize money, we think about developing juniors, but one facet that we don't think about is the charitable side of the USTA Foundation and that is why I'm here.

"Giving underserved youths opportunities through tennis and academics is basically what it is all about. We are all committed to making tennis more accessible to youths around the country."

Throughout 2019, the USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the USTA, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network.

Arthur Ashe co-founded NJTL in 1969 with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. Their vision was to utilize tennis to teach children valuable life skills and promote the importance of education.

The goals at the NJTL’s founding remain the same: instill in youngsters the values of leadership and academic excellence and give all children the opportunity to fully develop their tennis skills so they can derive a lifetime of enjoyment from the sport and experience its myriad benefits.

The USTA Foundation provides programs nationwide that leverage tennis and education to help those in need, primarily through NJTL, which features nearly 300 chapters that reach approximately 180,000 youth on an annual basis.

Karen Snow, senior vice president and head of East Coast Listings at Nasdaq, welcomed the USTA Foundation to the Nasdaq MarketSite, praising the work of the USTA Foundation for serving under-resourced youth across America.

"The NJTL provides free or low-cost tennis and educational programming that nurtures the future leaders and, simple put, enabling kids in need to succeed on the court, in the classroom and in life," Snow said. 

"We are thrilled to have Chris Evert, the chair of the USTA Foundation and noted television commentator here today. ... Chris, we are so proud to have you with us today and look forward to celebrating the USTA Foundation's future successes."

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, the USTA Foundation Essay Contest and participation in Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the US Open.

As part of the celebration of 50 years of NJTL, a new public-service announcement will also be released. Narrated by longtime USTA Foundation supporter and 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. 

After the Opening Bell, Evert posed for photos with the NYJTL participants before taking a photo outside the Nasdaq MarketSite, where the USTA Foundation's PSA played on the giant screen for all of Times Square to see.




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