Opening Night Gala a smashing success

August 31, 2015 11:28 AM

By Ashley Marshall,

The USTA Foundation will continue to serve up even more dreams to those in need following the success of its annual star-studded Opening Night Gala at the US Open.

Hosted by Emmy Award- and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin and Emmy Award-winning journalist and news anchor Katie Couric, the 15th annual gala raised around $750,000.

The Foundation, the charitable arm of the USTA, supports under-resourced youth, individuals with disabilities and wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $19 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and outreach programs.

The highlight of the night was a live auction led by Baldwin and Couric. In addition, an online auction will allow supporters to bid on exclusive experiences, items, memorabilia and more. Open to the public at, the online auction will close at the end of the tournament. US Open broadcast partner and presenting sponsor ESPN donated a further $50,000 to the Foundation.

Other celebrities spotted supporting the Foundation on the Opening Night Gala Blue Carpet included opening night ceremony headliner Josh Groban, singer/actress Vanessa Williams, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and television personality Martha Stewart.

“Each year, I look forward to the US Open and especially attending the USTA Foundation's Opening Night Gala,” said Baldwin. “With one of the biggest stages in sports serving as the backdrop of this special occasion, I’m honored to play a role in the Foundation’s mission of changing lives, and congratulate them on many more years of continued success in serving up dreams for those who truly deserve it.”

The Opening Night Gala is the major fundraiser for the USTA Foundation, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support programs that prepare under-resourced youth for college and beyond. Leading that charge is National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL), a national network of more than 500 community-based tennis and education programs serving more than 225,000 youth nationwide. NJTL was co-founded in 1969 by Arthur Ashe.

"The USTA Foundation is doing amazing things year-round, serving up dreams to youth, military heroes, and people overcoming disabilities both on and off the court, so I'm honored to be co-hosting their Opening Night Gala," said Couric. "This evening is an excellent opportunity to help raise awareness for all of their efforts to continue realizing Arthur Ashe's vision."

For more information on USTA Foundation, visit



Print Article Email Article Newsletter Signup Share