Board of Directors
Joy Albi, President
Christian Bart Bronk, Vice President
Ryan Ruzziconi, Treasurer
Timothy Ross, Secretary
Neil Harris, Delegate at Large
Curt Bender, Director
Don Newport, Director
Jim Hendrix, Director
Paul Farah, Director
Don Harris, Director
Jonelle Smith, Director
Lynn Callahan, Director
Susan Klumpner, Director
Fay Peters, Director
Jeffrey Stassen, Director
Founded in 1992 as the charitable arm of the USTA/Midwest Section, the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation (formerly Midwest Youth Tennis & Education Foundation) has been supporting communities, programs and individuals to provide greater educational opportunities for youth. The Foundation places emphasis on programs and activities that provide youth with a positive, fun and disciplined environment to learn the game of tennis - and create alternatives to negative recreation. It also assists young players who have demonstrated talent, and are in need of financial support to compete at higher levels.
We make a difference by providing tennis opportunities to diverse youth from many cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We also award scholarships and grants, in doing so, USTA/MTEF enhances individuals’ personal growth, brings tennis to children who might never otherwise experience it. We enhance communities within the USTA/Midwest Section, and promote the sport of tennis as an enjoyable, lifetime sport that contributes to good health, leadership, education, discipline, and self-esteem. In 2017 to include specific adult populations including Adaptive Tennis, Wheelchair Tennis, and Wounded Warriors.
Learn More About Our Board
Joy Albi, President
Thinking of when you first encountered MTEF, who or what attracted you to the organization and what led to you becoming involved as a Board Member? When did that happen?
I went to a tennis tournament with my 8 year old son and one of the representatives came up to me and told me that I was a good tennis parent and that I should volunteer. I did, and the rest is history.
What do you believe is the purpose of MTEF?
MTEF’s purpose is to raise funds to support the Midwest Section’s programs. I got involved in tennis and donate to MTEF because I want every kid to have a chance to hold a racquet in their hand to see if it is a sport for them. My family and I donate because we want to make a difference in our world while we are still around to see it.
What do you believe are the values that MTEF holds dear?
Love of the sport and the opportunity that it provides for everyone. It is not just about the sport – the tie in is the education piece. The sport is the lure that brings people in but it is the education and the opportunities that grow out of that which is important to us. Hopefully, MTEF is putting kids on the path to graduating from high school and moving on to higher education.
What are the 3 or 4 things MTEF does best?
MTEF does a good job of being able to take donations and push them out into the community; I feel good about the pivot made with COVID where we changed from putting kids on the courts to providing tablets for them to use and programming that they could access electronically. These services were fed directly from MTEF to people who needed our help. 2)They are also fortunate to have staff help without paying a dime for it or having to make in-kind contributions; 3) There is a lot of passion around the staff and the new Board that connects with MTEF – one can see that everyone is on the same page. I believe that this is a strong point.
What does the future of the MTEF Foundation look like? What’s the best way to build MTEF?
MTEF has the Board talent and the administrative management. We should look to expand what we do by connecting a bit more closely with our Section as they do all the programming. All we need is the money to get into more diverse and underserved communities where equipment and teaching pros are needed. Unlike sports like basketball and football a lot of dads think they can provide coaching but that is not the case with tennis. This is one of the reasons why we are doing this strategic plan i.e., to determine what the future of the Foundation should look like and where money is needed in our communities.