| By Press Release


New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) celebrated 50 years of service last night at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, where individuals from across the country came together to reflect on the legacy and future of the organization’s commitment to underserved NYC youth in all five boroughs.  

Since its founding in 1971, NYJTL has provided grassroots services to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court. In its first nighttime gala, NYJTL raised a record-breaking $1.4 million in funds that will help scale and accelerate its impact.  

The star-studded night honored James Blake and Tory Kiam, and featured many distinguished guests to commemorate NYJTL’s mission such as Mary Carillo, Blair Henley, Pat Kiernan, Michelle Yu, Dennis Kenney, Frederique van der Wal, Caitlin Thompson, and more. The night also featured special appearances from John McEnroe and Wanda Sykes, and concluded with a musical performance from OneUp Duo, a pop group featured on NBC’s The Voice, that had the crowd dancing well into the night. 

“The ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic remind us of the urgency of our work,” said NYJTL President & CEO Udai Tambar. “The funds raised last night allow us to provide vital support to meet the evolving needs of our children and their families.”  

The funds raised will also help launch the Scholar Athlete Program. This inaugural flagship program will offer high quality, personalized tennis and education instruction to ensure that every student graduates high school, enrolls in college, and achieves their college degree. Core components include tennis and athletic development including 1:1 coaching and fitness training, life skills and character development, academic support through 1:1 tutoring, standardized test preparation, college essay feedback, financial aid counseling, and guidance to students and families throughout the middle school, high school, and college admission processes. 

Leading into the gala, NYJTL raised $3.4 million in gifts towards the Scholar Athlete Program, including a foundational $1 million gift from the Pershing Square Foundation, and a $1 million endowment from Stuart Weitzman.  This tremendous effort totals $4.8 million during its 50th anniversary campaign and will allow NYJTL to begin its new ambitious programmatic expansion. 

The Scholar Athlete Program is set to have a halo effect on all of NYJTL’s tennis and education program offerings. The program targets youth from low-income families.  

NYJTL continues to seek donations to support future Scholar Athletes and their long-term success. To learn more about how you can contribute to the work that transforms the lives of underserved NYC youth, please contact Joe Ceriello, Chief Marketing & Development Officer at jceriello@nyjtl.org