The Louisiana Tennis Association is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and pluralism as a strategic priority. We appreciate and welcome our differences and strive to create an environment that is inclusive, diverse, equally accessible and serves all members of the tennis community justly and with mutual respect and integrity. We commit ourselves to develop, promote and support efforts to grow the game of tennis within diverse communities throughout the State of Louisiana.
The Believer Grant ($500) is available to high school freshman, sophomore, and junior status students who have excelled academically and participated extensively in an organized tennis program (such as USTA National Junior Tennis League (NJTL), USTA Junior Team Tennis, high school tennis, USTA High Performance or other such qualified programs as determined by the Scholarship Committee). Applicants must demonstrate tennis achievements and aspirations, as well as sportsmanship on and off the tennis court.
These grants will be awarded annually to two (2) players from Louisiana who demonstrate financial need. : https://form.jotform.com/232924626560155
Kimberly Matison Williams $500 Grant
Matison Kimberly Williams(New Orleans)
The valuable skills of empathy and dedication have shaped my personal growth and character
development. Tennis has allowed me to engage in physical activity while serving as a platform for developing essential qualities that extend beyond the boundaries of the court. One aspect in which tennis matured my empathetic abilities is the opportunity to understand and relate to fellow players on a deeper level. By acknowledging the effort put forth by fellow players, I’ve
been able to empathize with them as we share similar struggles. Tennis has also impacted my life through the cultivation of dedication. Setting and pursuing goals is inherent to the sport, as I strive to improve my skills and achieve the desirable outcomes. Through this process, the importance of dedicating myself solidified. Apart from the skills I cultivated directly through tennis, education has played an instrumental role in broadening my perspective. When thinking of problems on the court in a similar strategic manner as I might do with a math problem, challenges become manageable. Through financial literacy, budgeting and planning for expenses is straightforward. During school hours, issues that affect my community become apparent. In conclusion, the impact of tennis on my life has been profound, enabling me to gain skills of empathy and dedication that have played a pivotal role in the evolution of myself. Looking towards the future, I plan to play college tennis at the minimum club level. Once I graduate from college, I plan on teaching tennis or joining a club team.
Baileigh McFadden $500 Grant
As a young girl I felt tennis was just a sport I would play for fun. But as I became older my skill
level improved and I began to take the game seriously. There have been times when I’ve
wanted to quit or I felt I wasn’t good enough to pursue the sport further. Not only did my play
on the court improve, but I have also grown mentally. I now understand that my mental
toughness can be attributed to the wins and the losses I have endured. Tennis has really taught
me a lot. Tennis has not only contributed to my mental and physical growth, but educationally
too. Educational wise tennis has taught me how to balance work and time management skills.
Mentally tennis has taught me to not be so hard on myself and to always keep a positive
mindset towards things, because the next play could be my best play. Because of tennis I am
able to look at things in life differently. More importantly, I plan to use what I know now and
continue to elevate myself and my potential. As of right now I am on Ursuline Academy’s varsity
tennis team and plan to continue to elevate my game throughout high school. From there on, I
plan to play tennis in college and beyond. Overall, tennis is a gift that I was blessed to have in
my life and I am grateful for everything it has taught me and built within my character.
The Legacy Scholarship ($1,500) is available to high school seniors who have excelled academically, demonstrated achievements in leadership, and participated extensively in an organized tennis program or other such qualified programs as determined by the Scholarship Committee. Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence and aspirations, as well as sportsmanship on and off the tennis court. These scholarships will be awarded annually to two (2) scholar-athletes from Louisiana. Details: https://form.jotform.com/232924612101141
James Sanders Graf $1500 Grant
1-James Sanders has an impressive high school, junior tennis and tournament background and accomplishments. He possesses a very good GPA as well. Despite planning to attend college in Texas, our next-door neighbor, he does not have any scholarships thus far. I particularly applaud his community efforts as a Junior Development Coach and volunteer for after school tennis programs in under-resourced areas of his community. Lastly, I am extremely impressed by his essay which connects his tennis to the life skills needed to succeed and the impact that his “giving back” to those from less privileged backgrounds has had on his life.
2-Know his character, he is well rounded, and has a servant heart.
3-He’s actively volunteering in local junior tennis programming as a Development Coach.
4-Outstanding athletic / academic student leader on and off the tennis court.
5-Love to help others and giving back to his community.
Jordan Dunbar $1500 Grant
-Jordan’s application shows extensive youth tennis participation and an excellent GPA. Her background exhibits dedication and commitment to her own tennis journey as evidenced by her determination to improve her skills, conditioning and competition despite the travel and other challenges she endured to do so. She also exhibits civic and community pride through her engagement in extracurricular activities. I also appreciate that she attends a public charter high school and plans to further her academic studies at LSU. She does not have any scholarships thus far.
This past summer the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Louisiana Tennis Association (LTA) launched its inaugural NJTL Art Contest to promote and highlight the artistic and creative qualities of our youth. This contest runs in association with the annual USTA Foundation’s NJTL Essay Contest. This year contestants were asked to create a piece of art responding to the following quote by legendary Althea Gibson: “No matter what accomplishments you make, someone helped you.” The contest was open to children (ages 18 & under) participating in Louisiana NJTL chapters.
The LTA’s EDI Committee is excited to announce that we have three winners and four finalists across 8s, 10s, and 12s divisions. Each winner and finalist will receive a plaque, recognition on the LTA’s website, and a package of art supplies. The quality of submissions was astounding, and judges were impressed by the creativity, originality, and artistic abilities of our children. Congratulations to all participants who engaged in this year’s competition.
The winners and finalists of the 2023 LTA NJTL Art Contest are:
12's division: 1st place Ava (A’s & Aces), 2nd place Rithish (NJTL of Baton Rouge)
10's division: 1st place Natalie, 2nd place Joseph (both A’s & Aces)
8's division: 1st place Aubrie, 2nd place Joseph and Nola (all A’s & Aces)
JAMES B. EWERS JR. ED.D. | February 14, 2024
If you are African American and were involved in tennis back in the day, there were only a few role models that you had. Now, if you fast forward to today, times have changed dramatically. Diversity initiatives have created more opportunities for African American players, coaches and volunteers.
February is Black History Month. This month honors the past and celebrates the future. African Americans have made contributions to the game of tennis at all levels.
Over time, the landscape for African Americans like me has evolved. Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson were premier players who paved the way for this current generation of players, coaches and volunteers. Tennis history will highlight the careers of players like Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil. Coaches like John Wilkerson, Dr. Walter Johnson and David Lash also left their coaching footprint on public parks and recreation centers as well.
Now, the USTA has created several programs and events for African American players, coaches and volunteers to hone their skills and abilities. Training modules and seminars have been keys that have resulted in increased numbers of African Americans engaged in tennis. Diversity and inclusion policies have further strengthened the USTA’s commitment to Black players, coaches and volunteers. Having a seat and a voice at the decision-making table have made this possible.
During the US Open for the past three years, there has been an Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Day that featured activities and bands that highlighted and punctuated the contributions of African Americans to the game of tennis. This day has become a focal point and a fan favorite of the US Open crowd. I believe the event will grow in popularity and participation.
The USTA entered a partnership a few years go with Jack and Jill of America, Inc., that provides African American boys and girls a chance to learn the game by participating in clinics taught by local club professionals. This venture has great promise and purpose to it.
James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D.
The American Tennis Association (ATA) is also collaborating with USTA and USTA Southern in sponsoring programs designed to increase the visibility and membership levels of both organizations.
USTA Southern has been a pioneering champion in providing access and entry for new ideas and new approaches. This has meant more openness and more opportunity for African Americans. New aspirants and those with dreams deferred are moving with confidence as they actualize their goals and objectives.
USTA Southern, through the intentional and sustained efforts of Cee Jai Jones, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has sponsored events for HBCU players and coaches. One of the USTA Southern/HBCU initiatives has been to sponsor a high school day that allows junior players to showcase their talents for scholarship consideration. Coaches have benefitted greatly from this recruitment activity.
Tennis has been an important part of the athletic programs at HBCUs for many years. Schools like Jackson State University (Miss.), Johnson C. Smith University (N.C.), Morehouse College (Ga.) and Tuskegee University (Ala.) have had intercollegiate tennis programs for many years. Many of their players have participated in both USTA and ATA tournaments.
Diversity outreach events are also spawning new volunteers that are African American. We are seeing more lines people, officials and umpires each year. Friends are telling friends about this opportunity. Who knows, there may be a Grand Slam umpire in the wings just waiting to be discovered.
As the month of February unfolds and Black History Month is observed, it takes a collective effort to develop and implement new paradigms. These shifts will bring about new players, coaches and volunteers. The future of diversity is bright with the USTA.
James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a member of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame and a former chair of the USTA Southern Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Committee.
USTAF LAUNCHES TIAFOE FUND
Victoria Chiesa | July 27, 2023
The Frances Tiafoe Fund will provide philanthropic support to the more than 270 chapters in the NJTL network across the United States.
A’s and Aces is an after-school program, a curriculum that uses the game of tennis to teach life skills and character development to New Orleans public school children. Students spend half of their time in the classroom and the other half on the tennis court with the coaches. In the classroom, kids learn the rules of tennis and score keeping as well as the overall discipline of being an athlete, including proper nutrition. Younger kids begin with red foam balls and the progress to the yellow tennis ball. Outside on the courts, 6 kids are assigned to each coach where they put their classroom knowledge into practice and practice applying the life skills in a competitive, athletic environment.
“Tennis is the hook,” explains co-founder David Schumacher. “We get them in through tennis because tennis is fun, but this is A’s and Aces; we’re working to promote literacy.”
The program has been extremely successful in helping the kids in New Orleans find a love of tennis and keep them disciplined in their school work.
The Louisiana Tennis Association Diversity Committee is proud to support this amazing initiative and program along with several others throughout the state!
Among over 600 NJTL chapter organizations across the country, the United States Tennis Association honored A's & Aces as the National Junior Tennis & Learning "Chapter of the Year" for 2012-13 and 2017! Tennis Industry magazine selected A's & Aces as NJTL "Chapter of the Year" again in 2017. For more information on this amazing organization please see below.
Anna Monhartova & David Schumacher
Eugene St. Martin
The USTA Southern Advocacy effort is aimed at connecting the passion of USTA members and the larger tennis community with the public policy needs of the communities in which they live. We know that tennis is a sport that can change lives and improve communities, and this website is just one of the tools USTA Southern has developed to help make that happen.
Keep in mind that these funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is a limited amount of dollars in this budget line item. Also, you will be required to submit an accountability report later this year showing how the funds were spent and the actual results achieved.
Please check this site regularly as grants are posted as they are available.
JAMES B. EWERS, JR., ED.D. | August 26, 2023
$3M FOR COURT REFURBS
September 9, 2023
In honor of Coco Gauff’s US Open women's singles title, the USTA has committed to the refurbishment of up to 200 courts across the country, as part of the newly created US Open Legacy Initiative.
LTA Player of the Month February 2024
Player: Eadan Waters
Division: Girls 14 & U
City: New Orleans
Eadan Waters, a native of New Orleans, has been a top Louisiana player since she started competing in USTA tournaments. Already in the 10’s division, Eadan claimed the Southern Championships Doubles title and since then has been one of the highly rated players in the Southern section. Currently Eadan is the #1 player in Louisiana on Tennis Recruiting list for her graduating class of 2027. A great role-model for her peers, Eadan is an exceptional scholar-athlete and a tennis star to watch in Louisiana.
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