USTA Celebrates Historically Black Colleges and Universities

September 2, 2021

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY, September 1, 2021 – A celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) will be center stage at the 2021 US Open on Thursday, September 2, as the United States Tennis Association (USTA) honors the history and contributions of HBCUs to the sport of tennis and society.

The first “HBCU Live” event will bring music and food as well as a fun, celebratory atmosphere to the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Much of the celebration is being produced by Black-owned businesses and many of those owners are also HBCU alums.

Coinciding with the HBCU celebration, the USTA, with support from Tennis Industry United and the USTA Foundation, is introducing the USTA David N. Dinkins HBCU Coaching Grant to support the 38 HBCUs that currently have varsity tennis programs. The late Hon. David N. Dinkins, a former New York City mayor, former USTA Board Member and Howard University alumnus, will be honored for his contributions to the US Open and the sport of tennis.

“Tennis welcomes everyone, and our celebration of the impact of HBCUs on our sport is a further example of our call to ‘Be Open,” said Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Mayor Dinkins was a great man, who did so much for so many, and this new coaching grant is a fitting tribute to his legacy.”

The USTA David N. Dinkins HBCU Coaching Grant is aimed at encouraging and enabling HBCU players (and current uncertified coaches) to become certified coaches, providing a valuable personal and professional development opportunity and an important step to a potential career path in tennis or other sports. This grant reinforces and expands the tennis industry’s commitment to supporting HBCU collegiate tennis and increasing diversity among certified coaching professionals.

Funding from the grants can be used towards expenses to support the HBCU tennis program such as team travel expenses, recruitment costs, uniforms and equipment.

The initial grant will be jointly funded by the USTA Diversity & Inclusion Department and the USTA Foundation. Individual grant amounts will be tiered based on the number of participants (players and coaches) at each school, up to a maximum of $2,500 per eligible program. The grant process will be administered by the USTA Foundation, the official charity of the US Open.

As part of the grant application, student-athletes are also asked to commit hours volunteering with their local NJTL either while in college or within the first year after graduation.

“We are privileged to support this grant which recognizes the integral role that HBCU coaches play in the tennis and leadership development of young players,” said USTA Foundation president Kathleen Wu. “It’s an honor to provide a pathway of opportunity in the name of David Dinkins who was an HBCU graduate and championed the advancement of youth through tennis and education.”

“It’s important to celebrate the diversity and excellence of the tennis community at every level, as well as support future growth of the sport,” said USTA Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Marisa Grimes. “HBCU Live and the new coaching grant are great ways to recognize the impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, create greater diverse representation within tennis, and honor the extraordinary legacy of Mayor Dinkins.” Grimes also noted that both programs align with the USTA’s social responsibility campaign, “Be Open” which highlights the commitment to promote and amplify important messages of progress, positivity and equality.”