Make an Impact, Create a Legacy - 2018 Gala Success!

Anna Hoang & Children

Make an Impact, Create a Legacy - 2018 Gala Success!

What a night! We are so grateful to all the generous donors, sponsors, and attendees, who helped us raise more than $350,000 at our 2018 Gala presented by Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation.

Despite an unprecedented mid-April snowstorm that caused us to reschedule the event, we were thrilled to host 350 guests at the Loews Hotel on May 5th. This year’s theme was “Make an Impact, Create a Legacy”, and guests heard how ICT’s life-changing programs impact Minneapolis youth by using tennis as a vehicle to teach essential life skills and values like perseverance, integrity and teamwork. We also had the opportunity to recognize some key individuals who are making an impact and creating a legacy through their service at ICT. 

Program Highlights Included Special Guests and Awards

  • Legendary coach, Nick Bollettieri, joined the event live from Bradenton, Florida, for an interview with WCCO TV and Radio host, Mike Max, and former tennis pro, David Wheaton. Many thanks to each one of them for sharing their inspiring words about the power of tennis to create opportunities for youth to discover and develop their full potential, both on and off the court.

  • ICT Chair Emeritus, Skip Gage, presented the Wells Fargo Leadership & Excellence Award for a volunteer to our Past Chair, Bob Oberrender, in recognition of his nine years of service as ICT Board Chair. 

  • Executive Director, John Wheaton, presented the Wells Fargo Leadership & Excellence Award for a coach to Kathy Alex, ICT’s Head Coach of 12U Development, in recognition of her commitment to developing young players with the potential and passion for playing competitive tennis at the highest level.


Fund a Need Supports New Initiatives

Our generous donors contributed more than $100,000 to support some of our most exciting initiatives: namely, ICT’s USTA 14U Excellence Team and our new 10U Excellence Teams in North and South Minneapolis. The funds raised help ensure that a diverse community of youth gain early exposure to the joy of tennis through our Outreach programs and ensure that those who want to take their commitment to a higher level have the opportunity to receive increased training and development. Financial support from generous donors and the USTA Foundation allows for private, group, and travel coaching; free court time; tournament entry fees; travel expenses; and parent education. Players and their parents from all three teams were in attendance Saturday evening, and everyone enjoyed watching the Gala video that featured the kids and coaches in the program. 


Scholarships Awarded

Board Chair, Will Prest, awarded scholarships to two deserving ICT program participants:

  • The Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation Student-Athlete Scholarship was awarded to Aisha Atayeva, who participates in ICT’s Cities Academy and Southside Excellence Team programs.

  • The Wells Fargo Student-Athlete Scholarship went to Marquis Lomax from Trinity First Lutheran School, who participates in ICT’s: Schools and Partners program, Super Saturdays, Cities Academy, and the Southside Excellence Team.


InnerCity Tennis Featured in the Media

Our emcee Mike Max featured InnerCity Tennis on WCCO-Radio and TV several times, including interviews with Nick Bollettieri, David Wheaton, and ICT Executive Director, John Wheaton. Click the following links to hear and see all the coverage.

Thank You Gala Sponsors!

All of us at InnerCity Tennis Foundation are grateful to our many corporate and table sponsors this year. We are humbled by your generosity and grateful for your partnership in supporting our work with underserved youth in Minneapolis.

Thank You Gala Volunteers!

We are also thankful for our Gala Chair, Virginia de la Riva, and her team of volunteers. So much went into organizing this year’s event, and Virginia and her team did an outstanding job getting everything ready and set up, including the Silent Auction. We’d like to extend sincere thanks to our volunteer gala photographers, John Walsh and Sridhar Thayur, who captured all the fun Saturday evening, including the red carpet walk, which was a huge hit with our guests. To view all the great photos from the Annual Gala, click here.

At InnerCity Tennis we believe it’s critical to make our programs broadly accessible through no-charge programs and scholarships for our fee-based programs. Donor contributions ensure that all youth, regardless of their financial circumstances, can take advantage of these transformational opportunities. This year, we plan to again impact more than 5,000 Minneapolis youth, and we couldn’t do this important work without you, our many InnerCity Tennis players, volunteers, arents, and donors.

John Wheaton Signature                 
John Wheaton                                          Ann Wordelman
Executive Director                                    Associate Director




Michael Cox
 Laurie & Pat Erlandson
 Karen & Rick Evans
Roy Ginsburg & Anne Damon
Minnesota Vikings
The Oberrender Family
 Doug & Abby Power
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey
 David & Lisa Weigman and Andy & Dedra Weigman