| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA announced that it has awarded $75,000 in Multicultural Excellence Tennis Grants to 10 community tennis organizations across the country, among these recipients, two New York-based organizations, the Johnny Mac Tennis Project and the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program (HJTEP). These organizations will each receive a $7,500 grant towards their competitive junior development programs that train youngsters who are aspiring to achieve national and/or international rankings.

HJTEP plans to provide more scholarships and opportunities for kids and families in the New York area who are passionate about improving at an advanced level in hopes of competing in college or on the professional tennis circuit. In 2013, approximately 16 advanced junior athletes are expected to benefit from the Multicultural Excellence Grant.

Every year, HJTEP provides an accessible, positive and nurturing environment for more than 1,200 young athletes of all races and ethnicities around the Harlem community. The organization strives to bring youth from high-risk, low-income, inner-city neighborhoods into their program and offers opportunities for self-development. Since its inception in 1972, HJTEP has engaged more than 7,000 youth, resulting in hundreds of students achieving tennis and academic excellence, including full scholarships to college. Many of HJTEP’s participants have also gone on to become highly ranked, both regionally and nationally.

The recipients were selected based on the number of players with sectional and national rankings in a specific program. Grants are awarded to organizations that operate year-round and provide a high level of on-court instruction and off-court training opportunities, with a history of developing tournament-level players.

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy strives to produce world-class players who prefer to stay close to their homes and families, attend school and pursue other interests not specifically related to tennis. Even though the academy has only been in existence for two-and-a-half years, it has already produced great results. In 2012, 410 young athletes participated in the academy, with some winning regional, national and international championships, including one student who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open junior event.

“The USTA is extremely proud to honor these programs for the tremendous work they do in developing today’s young tennis players,” said D.A. Abrams, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the USTA. “We are delighted that through these grants, many up-and-coming players will continue to receive the most outstanding on-court instruction and guidance that will prepare them for the highest level of competition and successful tennis careers overall. Not only is their work great, but their impact will truly be profound.”

Multicultural Individual Player Grants for National Competition & Training, ranging from $1,000 to $4,000, were also awarded to 68 student-athletes throughout the country. The grants, totaling $150,000, provide funding to competitive junior players aspiring to achieve national and/or international rankings. Funding is based on the success level of each player from the previous year. He or she must train and compete in tournaments year-round and have a history of strong national tournament results.