FILA and USTA Foundation Collaborate to Launch “Spirit of Tennis Scholarships”
(FILA North America) - FILA announced today the launch of the “Spirit of Tennis Scholarships” in support of the USTA Foundation, a pair of scholarship opportunities available to qualified students participating in the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Network – which features nearly 300 nonprofit youth development organizations that offer free or low-cost tennis and education programming to under-resourced youth nationwide. In addition to two new annual scholarships, FILA has pledged additional funds to support the USTA Foundation’s Excellence Program through a dedicated Player Grant and additional product offerings for the NJTL program. Through these initiatives, FILA will contribute $180,000 over the course of four years.
The Spirit of Tennis Scholarships were created to provide access and opportunity to students through the NJTL Network and are named in honor of the two individuals who helped FILA establish its roots in tennis: Former President of FILA North America Jonathan G. Epstein and current Global Tennis Marketing Executive Martin Mulligan Sr.
“FILA is proud to support the USTA Foundation and continue our support of the National Junior Tennis and Learning Network (NJTL),” said Jennifer Estabrook, President of FILA North America. “The Foundation’s commitment to enabling greater access and opportunity for students across the US is a vision we share, and we are thrilled to name these scholarships in honor of two of FILA’s greatest advocates of the sport.”
“The USTA Foundation is grateful to have FILA, an outstanding mission-driven supporter which contributions will help us continue to empower under-resourced youth through the powerful combination of tennis and education,” said Dan Faber, USTA Foundation’s Chief Executive. “The Spirit of Tennis Scholarships will have a great impact in the future of our NJTL youth and we look forward to seeing all the great things these young leaders will accomplish on and off the court.”
The “Spirit of Tennis Scholarships” will be awarded on an annual basis to two high school seniors who have high academic achievements, and demonstrate good character, community leadership and sportsmanship. The students should have participated in the organized youth tennis program NJTL and be entering a four-year college or university program. Applicants must demonstrate sportsmanship on and off the court.Each scholarship recipient will receive $15,000 over the course of four years to cover costs of tuition, school-based expenses, and educational materials. The Foundation will award the scholarships annually through 2026 through FILA’s support of this program.
FILA has also pledged an additional $15,000 per year through 2026 to support NJTLs through a dedicated Player Grant and additional product offerings for the NJTL program. These funds will support individuals in the NJTL Excellence Program through lessons, tournament entry fees, and FILA product to provide opportunities for youth to pursue their passion for the sport of tennis, who may not otherwise have the financial means to advance in the sport.
The Jonathan G. Epstein Spirit of Tennis Scholarship is named in memory of Jonathan G. Epstein, former President of FILA North America and industry leader whose passion for tennis left an indelible mark on the sport and the brand. Epstein’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision led FILA to significant business successes and prominence as a leader in the athletic apparel and footwear industry.
The Martin Mulligan Sr. Spirit of Tennis Scholarship is named in honor of Martin Mulligan Sr., a former top 10 professional tennis player with 72 career titles, including three Italian Opens, Wimbledon Finalist and current Global Tennis Marketing Executive at FILA. At the end of his playing career, Mulligan transitioned to become the Italian Davis Cup coach before he began his career at FILA. Mulligan also received the Golden Racquet award from the Italian Tennis Federation for his contributions to tennis. Mulligan has been acknowledged as an extraordinary mentor throughout his career as a player, coach and executive.
FILA has a long and distinguished history in the world of tennis that includes endorsements of ATP and WTA Tour athletes, tennis tournaments and organizations. FILA is a sponsor of the BNP Paribas Open, the Infosys Hall of Fame Open, National Bank Open & Omnium Banque Nationale, the Western & Southern Open, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the Argentina Open, the Cordoba Open, the Rio Open, the Rakuten Japan Open, the China Open and the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship. In addition to event partnerships, FILA is an official supplier to Tennis Canada, the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT), Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC), Van der Meer Tennis and John Newcombe Tennis Ranch.
FILA® is now a leading sport and leisure footwear and apparel brand that is distributed worldwide. FILA has achieved world-class recognition in tennis by marketing high-design and style content products that are endorsed by professional athletes from around the world.
About USTA Foundation
USTA Foundation Incorporated (USTAF or USTA Foundation), the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association Incorporated (USTA), utilizes the powerful combination of tennis and education to enhance the lives of under-resourced youth through its support of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network. For more than 50 years, NJTL has impacted thousands of youth across the nation, and today the network features nearly 300 chapters. The USTAF supports these chapters by providing financial grants, scholarship opportunities, curricula, technical assistance, and training. USTAF raises money and public awareness through private donations, corporate sponsorships, foundations, and fundraisers, including the US Open Opening Night Gala, the US Open Paver program, and various Pro-Ams, to name just a few. To date, the USTA Foundation has awarded approximately $56 million in grants and scholarships. For more information on the USTA Foundation, visit www.ustafoundation.com, or stay connected through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok (at @USTA).
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