A Weekend to Celebrate!
We are thrilled to announce more than $300,000 in donations from our annual gala, celebrating 65 years of serving Minneapolis youth. This tremendous success wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous community of corporate sponsors, individual donors, staff and volunteers, and especially our Gala Co-Chairs, Virginia de la Riva and Michele Ranger.
More than 375 guests joined in the celebration downtown, where they were treated to inspiring remarks about today's youth by legendary tennis coach and ICT Board member, Nick Bollettieri. Former tennis pro, David Wheaton, joined Nick on stage to discuss his early training days with Nick in the 1980s as well as the state of the men’s and women’s professional tours today. Guests also had the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind live auction items, including tickets to the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as well as tickets to the US Open Presidential Suite, generously donated by USTA President, Katrina Adams.
After a video showcasing some of the ways in which ICT impacts young people on and off the court, guests heard from Bao Thao and her 2 daughters, Wangmo and Pemo, who are able to participate in ICT programs, thanks to scholarship support and free-of-charge programming.
Skip Gage Pays Tribute to Wheelock Whitney
Skip Gage, InnerCity Tennis Chairman Emeritus, provided a heartfelt tribute to Wheelock Whitney, one of ICT's original founders, who passed away last year. Mr. Gage reflected on the impressive legacy Mr. Whitney created as a businessperson and philanthropist, and someone who believed in the power of sports to build community. All of us at InnerCity Tennis are proud to carry on his legacy of supporting underserved youth through the great sport of tennis.
Another highlight was the Fund a Need portion of the evening. Each year, more than 450 kids rely on scholarships to participate in our programs, including Summer Tennis in the Parks and our year-round Cities Academy programs at the Reed Sweatt Family Tennis Center. On Saturday night, our generous guests contributions reached $100,000, crushing our initial goal and ensuring that ICT can continue to provide access and opportunity to its unique programming to hundreds of children each year.
Fund a Need Generates Significant Scholarship Support
We’re expecting more than 1,200 kids in our Summer Tennis in the Parks program beginning on June 19th at 24 parks all over Minneapolis. That means our donors’ generous contributions will make a big impact, right away.
Thank You Gala Sponsors
We are grateful to all of our gala corporate sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor, Wells Fargo; Donation Match Sponsor, C.H. Robinson; and Nick Bollettieri Youth Clinic Sponsor, Best Buy. The evening ended with a presentation of a $1,000 Wells Fargo scholarship to Meynah Vang, a high school student who participates in ICT’s free-of-charge TopSpin program for teens. This generous scholarship will enable Meynah to participate in ICT’s Cities Academy training program during the school year.
Thank You USTA, USTA Foundation & USTA Northern
Among our many generous corporate and table sponsors were representatives from USTA Northern, which, along with the USTA and USTA Foundation, provides critical support to help InnerCity Tennis serve underserved youth in Minneapolis. In fact, last month, InnerCity Tennis received an $18,000 Sustainability Grant from the USTA Foundation and a $1,500 Hispanic Outreach Grant from USTA Diversity & Inclusion in furtherance of our mission to develop and unleash the potential of youth on and off the court.
New North Minneapolis Outdoor Tennis Space Draws Media
One great example of this support in action is ICT’s partnership with Hospitality House Youth Development in North Minneapolis. Last Friday, representatives from both organizations, including Board members and donors, as well as USTA Northern, were on hand as we unveiled a new outdoor tennis space where ICT staff will deliver free-of-charge programming this summer and throughout the school year. Please be sure to check out the great media coverage of ICT’s programming at Hospitality House programming in North Minneapolis, featuring legendary tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri, and former tennis pro, David Wheaton.
This year, we plan to again impact more than 5,000 youth in Minneapolis with programming to improve their health, support their education, and build character and community through meaningful relationships with ICT coaches and volunteers.
We know that our ability to do this important work with youth is made possible by all of you, our community of InnerCity Tennis players, volunteers, parents and donors.
With your help, we can continue to impact so many young lives. Thank you!
John Wheaton Ann Wordelman
Executive Director Associate Director
If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to support our mission, click here to donate.