We are happy to announce the Robert P & Barbara D Harris Fund is now open for 2020. We would like to recognize that this year has brought challenges to not only the tennis community but change to our everyday life. As we open the Robert P & Barbara D Harris Community Tennis Grant this year, we want to focus on the effort to keep our community safe and minimize risk. Applicants can apply for funding that will assist with bringing players back on the courts in a safe, compliant way. Funding not included payroll or loss of overhead. During the current environment there needs to be a shift for longer term programming, a multi-year effort and an effort to minimize risk to players and staff. There has been an additional question added regarding safety measures and how you plan to minimize risk on court in light of COVID-19.
This grant was established by the Harris family to honor and recognize Robert P and Barbara D Harris for a lifetime of charitable activities, community service and a love of tennis. They were both graduates of Michigan State University (MSU) - Robert in Chemical Engineering and Barbara in Medical Technology. They met in Cadillac, Michigan after Robert returned from Naval service in the Pacific in WWII. After a brief courtship they married and returned to Robert's hometown of Flint, Michigan, where all three of their children were born.
Robert embarked on a 45-year career as a co-owner and then owner of SKS Heat Treating. Robert and Barbara actively gave back to the community during this time through Robert's service on the Flint School board culminating in his appointment of President. Barbara was consistently active in the Junior League as well as with the Flint college and cultural association and PEO, an organization which supports women in education. These activities along with innumerable less visible acts of community related kindness made a deep impression on their children and all that knew them. Robert learned tennis while growing up during the depression in a local public park. He played 1st singles for Flint Central High School, and then played four years at MSU lettering in his last three years.
Raising a family and owning a business kept Robert from playing again until his mid-50's when he played at the Genesee Valley Tennis Club in Flint, playing competitively in Florida into his 70's after retiring. Barbara and Robert embodied respect and concern for others and the community in general. They established this community tennis grant to continue to help the people served by the USTA/ Midwest Section benefit from their legacy in a lasting way.
The deadline to apply for this grant for 2020 is August 31. This program grant is for organizations seeking funds up to $2,500 to start or expand tennis programming in their community. Funding can be used to develop instructional programs, organize league play for all ages, abilities and populations, to create tournament play, and/or anything that encourages long term growth of tennis in the community. All applications may be submitted under the grant link titled the Robert P & Barbara D Harris Community Tennis Grant.