USPTA and ThanksUSA Join Forces to Thank the Troops

December 5, 2011

As part of “Tennis Thanks the Troops,” the United States Professional Tennis Association and ThanksUSA have teamed up to encourage USPTA professionals to fund scholarships for the families of military men and women.

How will USPTA members be able to help? By donating a portion of their lessons or clinic fees taught during Memorial Day Weekend 2012 (or any other weekend/date). USPTA Professionals can provide the opportunity for their students and club members to donate $5 for the cause; or they can run a simple round robin or other event with all or a portion of the proceeds being donated to ThanksUSA.

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“We encourage our teaching pros to give to important causes through tennis and Lessons for Life and I can’t think of a better way to show the troops how much we appreciate their sacrifice than providing them with the gift of education for their families,” said USPTA CEO Tim Heckler.

Through Lessons for Life, which became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999, the USPTA encourages its members to use tennis as a vehicle to help others through fundraising activities in their communities. For 2012, the collaboration with ThanksUSA is a new component of the program, and one that strives to mobilize USPTA members to raise funds to help families of military personnel, specifically by providing scholarships.

In the past year alone, ThanksUSA received 1,800 applications from the spouses and children of our armed forces. While ThanksUSA was able to provide 300 scholarships valued at $3,000 each, the organization could only meet a small portion of the need among deserving applicants. In 2012, ThanksUSA seeks to award at least 500 scholarships totaling $1.5 million.

ThanksUSA’s scholarship program is unique in that both spouses and children of active-duty men and women can apply to the same organization for support. The scholarships are need-based – enabling those who most need and deserve the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education the opportunity to do so. Since ThanksUSA’s inception in 2006, it has awarded 2,500 scholarships for a total value of almost $7.5 million.

“The generous support of USPTA’s tennis pros and their students will allow ThanksUSA to award even more scholarships,” said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA. “We applaud their contribution to a program that has benefited thousands of military families.”

Scholarship recipients represent all military branches – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve – and come from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.