USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, will host its 11th Annual Opening Night Gala in the USTA President’s Box at the U.S. Open on Aug. 29. The evening will feature honored guests including legendary Grammy and Emmy award winning performer Tony Bennett; Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and future Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; and Alec Baldwin, the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning star of NBC's “30 Rock.” The Opening Night Gala is the major fundraiser for USTA Serves and contributes more than $400,000 to help fund college scholarships and program grants to community-based tennis and education programs throughout the country.
USTA Serves has awarded more than $14 million to grassroots tennis and education programs that enhance the lives of at-risk children and those with special needs. Also, the foundation has provided more than 18 million hours of mentoring, tutoring and nutrition guidance to more than 225,000 kids. The success of this one night allows the foundation to continue supporting programs that increase students’ high school graduation rates, grade point averages, and reading grade levels. Many of these children become the first in their families to go to college.
“We’ve seen, time and again, that when you give young people a chance to succeed; they grab the opportunity and make the most of it,” says Mary Carillo, president of USTA Serves. “That’s why we support these efforts that provide kids with that chance.” Carillo will host the Gala’s dinner and the evening’s festivities.
The Gala’s auction will feature many valuable items, including a trip to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, a luncheon with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a meet-and-greet with Alec Baldwin on the set of “30 Rock,” trips to St. Barth’s and Barbados Islands, and a trip to the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. Baldwin will serve as the celebrity auctioneer.
During the evening’s festivities, USTA Serves also will celebrate Tony Bennett’s 85th birthday and serve the “Tony Bennett Cupcake” created by Bare Naked Bakery of Long Island.