Giving Tuesday is a global movement, celebrated now in more than 150 nations to encourage giving, volunteering and acts of kindness, and no one embodies the spirit of giving back quite like WTA founder and Legend Billie Jean King.
A champion on the court and a warrior for social justice and women’s equality off of it, King is also a tireless philanthropist. Through the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, her goal is to empower youth to improve their lives and communities through the power of sport.
So in celebration of Giving Tuesday, we’re looking back at some of King’s most charitable moments in 2019:
The Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award
This summer, King partnered with ESPN to create the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award to celebrate youth who are using the power of sport as a catalyst for change and to improve their community. Presented by King at the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards, it also awarded academic scholarships of $10,000 to each winner.
“These awards are about using sports to help your community: to change it, to convene, and all the good things that can happen through sport,” King said in the video. “And also you have a platform to change the world.”
In King’s episode of Inspired by Women Series presented by WTA+MoroccanOil, we learn the inspiring story of Yasmine Sanchez, a rising sophomore at CUNY and one of the winners of the Youth Leadership Award. Sanchez grew up in and out of foster care before she started playing soccer at an NYCFC community program. Now, she’s spearheading a summer soccer program for kids and expanding a violence prevention and youth development program.
“[Yasmine’s] had a very unstable situation growing up, but yet she’s very stable,” King said. “She’s got such heart and she’s smart. I don’t know if I inspired her or not, but she’s inspired me!”
Eye exams and glasses for elementary school students
In February, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative partnered with Pearle Vision and One Sight to deliver eye exams and glasses for students at Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary in New York City. Billie Jean King is a namesake of the school’s first grade classroom.
Bringing “Pride” to Wimbledon and US Open
At the Grand Slams, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative partnered with Pride Sports UK and the US Open to host two of the first ever "Pride" Events in advance of Wimbledon and the US Open championships.
These forums, which in New York also featured active players and couple Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen, provided a platform for a discussion on LGBTQ+ rights, inclusion and equity for all.
Child literacy in Long Beach with the LA Dodgers
The Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, in partnership with the LA Dodgers Foundation, donated over 5,000 copies of "I am Billie Jean King" to 5th graders all across Long Beach in September 2019.
“I hope these children enjoy reading this story and are inspired to live their dreams and create their own groundbreaking path,” King said. The Long Beach Main Library was also later renamed in King’s honor.