Spotlight: Richard Ader

July 27, 2017 09:28 AM

By Ashley Marshall,

Despite not coming to tennis until after he graduated college with a banking and finance degree, Richard Ader quickly became an avid player and, later, a strong advocate for the work of the USTA Foundation.  He started a chapter of the National Junior Tennis and Learning network in Vermont and currently serves on the Foundation’s board of directors.

Ader is the managing partner of U.S. Realty Advisors, a company he founded in 1989. He also is a member of the University of Vermont Foundation board of trustees, the chairman of the University of Vermont’s Arts and Science advisory board and a member of the Southwestern Vermont Healthcare board of trustees. In September, he will be inducted into UVM’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

How did you first become involved in tennis?

Richard Ader: I went to college on a basketball scholarship, and after some time was looking for a sport to replace basketball. I moved into a community that had a tennis court and I began to play. I was a 30-year-old beginner. I found the transition from basketball to tennis to be pretty easy. The footwork was similar and the jump shot was like the serve. I took to tennis immediately and started competing in local tournaments. I noticed many of the older tennis players looked younger than their chronological age, so I thought it must be a good thing.

How did you learn about the Foundation’s work?

Ader: I didn’t find out about the USTA Foundation until maybe eight or 10 years ago. Patrick McEnroe and I owned a World TeamTennis team together (the New York Hamptons) and he was the president of the USTA Foundation, so that was the connection. Deborah Larkin, who became the managing director of the Foundation, got me interested after introducing me to the work it did with underserved children. Dan Faber furthered my education and eventually went on the board of directors.

Why is it important to you to make a difference in the lives of under-resourced populations?

Ader: Serving underserved children is exposing them to other options in life. It helps them evolve and become more knowledge about going to college as well as giving them lifetime sport. That combination is outstanding. At an annual meeting, I was exposed to all of the opportunities the Foundation provides for these children, from scholarships and help with schoolwork to healthy eating and what to do about drugs. As I learned about all the work that the Foundation is doing, I felt that it was something I had to be involved it.

There are a lot of philanthropic organizations out there. Why did you choose to support the USTA Foundation?

Ader: Most of the other organizations that I give support are either about medicine, medical facilities or religious organizations. This is a hands-on, real time opportunity to help developing  children to become better citizens and better people.

One year ago, I started an NJTL up in Vermont, and it’s amazing how much it means to the kids up there – getting free tennis racquets, getting tennis lessons, getting help with their learning. Over a very short period of time, it’s had a very large impact.  We started with a school where 80 percent of the students’ parents are on some form of welfare. So far, we’ve worked with 45 kids. The principal of the Molly Stark School, an elementary school in Bennington, was initially hesitant as considered tennis, golf and such as elitist activities, but now, with our success, he is one of our strongest backers.

He knows the USTA Foundation mission is critical. We’re not looking to train elite athletes; our goal is to provide after-school activities, which, in a town like Bennington, is very important.

Could you share a story about your experience partnering with the Foundation?

Ader: At the opening of the US Open, the Foundation has a dinner where they introduce the audience to some of the children that have benefited from the work the USTA has done. It is truly impressive to see the accomplishments of these individuals and their appreciation for the opportunities that were made available to them which includes college scholarships, mentoring and becoming proficient in tennis. In addition, at last year’s USTA annual meeting, the head of the Boston chapter told the story about two children at age 11 and 12. One boy is going to college and has remained active in the NJTL chapter and the other who was forced to move away could not find a similar situation and unfortunately is now in prison. The Foundation makes a difference.

What would you say to someone who is considering making a donation to the Foundation?

Ader: My message is that there are very few things in life you can do as a charitable giver that can have such dramatic impact on so many people, and for children in particular. You’re helping the parents who want their children to succeed and maybe aren’t in the position where they can do anything but work.



Print Article Email Article Newsletter Signup Share

© 2024 by USTA Foundation Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.