As a part of the WTA4Love campaign and in support of WTA Charities’ youth empowerment and COVID relief initiatives, Lilly Pulitzer has donated $50,000 for grassroots organizations which have positively impacted their communities in 2020. These donations will benefit youth programs created and led by WTA players and alumnae, as well as select WTA tournament cities through Feeding America, which continues to provide meals for hungry families across the United States.
Each week leading up to Giving Tuesday on December 1, WTA Charities and Lilly Pulitzer will announce a recipient of the “Community Hero” grants. Read below to find out more about each organization.
FIRST BREAK ACADEMY
First Break Academy empowers Southern California youth to excel in tennis, academics and life by ensuring their access to safe, affordable, quality tennis instruction, multi-sport play and academic enrichment.
“I love seeing kids get engaged in the sport of tennis,” said Pam Shriver, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and First Break benefactor. “One of our goals is to make it accessible for anyone that wants to come play. We want to add stability, structure and to be able to provide opportunities and a pathway.”
Read more: Shriver, Austin, Gibbs and Rogers on First Break success
Setting a path toward inclusion and excellence, First Break is centered on sports activity, physical literacy, and healthy futures for every player. They deliver after-school and summer programs, free play days, early excellence tennis training, education enrichment, and life skills lessons to elementary and middle school youth.
'Love, Love Compton' - Sloane Stephens
'Love, Love Compton' is the flagship program of the Sloane Stephens Foundation, which provides the at-risk youth of Compton the opportunity to play and learn. They provide assistance on and off the tennis court with both tennis coaching and academic tutoring in 25 schools throughout Compton.
“[Our] vision is to help empower children around the world, to dream big and achieve, on and off the court,” says the 2017 US Open champion.
Founded in 2015, 'Love, Love Compton’ "was created in conjunction with Compton school administrators, principals and teachers to provide an ongoing model that builds on the educational foundation of the school district, with a unique athletic component, and is active in a number of elementary schools and growing every month."
Read more: Stephens up for Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award
Kindness Wins - Madison Keys
Founded by US Open finalist Madison Keys, Kindness Wins is a global platform for kindness. From creating grants to fund kindness-driven programs to celebrating kind acts on social media, the organization puts a special emphasis on kindness to self, kindness to youth and kindness to others in times of struggle.
During the lockdowns caused by the spread of COVID-19, Keys mobilized and rallied behind ‘Kindness In Crisis’ to provide financial relief for those struggling economically during the pandemic.
“I want to help show the world the power of kindness, and the difference we can make when we take action. It can start with us.” Keys told wtatennis.com.
Read more: Madison Keys to champion new Kindness Wins initiative
LOVE & LOVE TENNIS FOUNDATION, Rosie Casals
Original 9 trailblazer Rosie Casals co-founded the Love & Love Tennis Foundation to help promote junior tennis in the Coachella Valley. Since 2015, the organization has supported youth tennis organizations, academies, foundations, schools and individuals who promote the growth of youth tennis in the California desert.
“Our foundation works hard to provide tennis opportunities to all the kids who live in the diverse, underserved communities of the Coachella Valley,” Casals said. “We are dedicated to spreading tennis to every child who wants to learn how to play.”
The Foundation also assists in developing juniors who participate in tennis tournaments and aspire to become collegiate or professional tennis players.
HARPER FOR KIDS, Peanut Harper
Founded by former WTA Top 20 player Peanut Harper and husband Tim in 2008, Harper For Kids’ mission is to teach children important life skills and ethical values that will empower them to achieve their personal best in life. HFK brings character development tools for children in elementary and middle schools based on the philosophy of famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
"John Wooden defines success as a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming,” Harper told wtatennis.com in July. “At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask, did you do your best?”
Even as schools closed amid coronavirus pandemic, the Harpers have brought together WTA players like Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka, Vania King and CiCi Bellis, to take part in virtual assemblies alongside Legends including Tracy Austin, Zina Garrison, Mary Carillo, Kathy Rinaldi and Mary Pierce, to chat with teachers and grade school students about success, life skills and the importance of building good character.
Read more: How Peanut Harper empowers children to redefine success
Each week leading up to Giving Tuesday on December 1, WTA Charities and Lilly Pulitzer will announce a recipient of the “Community Hero” grants. Stay tuned to find out more about each organization.