USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), has announced that 39-time Grand Slam Champion and International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, and host of ESPN’s morning show Get Up!, Mike Greenberg will co-host the 18th annual Opening Night Gala on Monday, Aug. 27, at the 2018 U.S. Open. For the fourth consecutive year, ESPN, the exclusive domestic telecaster of the U.S. Open, will serve as the presenting sponsor for the Opening Night Gala.
This year’s gala will mark the first time King, a member of the USTA Foundation’s Celebrity and Player Council, and Greenberg will serve as co-hosts for the Opening Night Gala. Both will also lead a live auction where supporters will have an opportunity to bid on experiences and items.
The Opening Night Gala is the major fundraiser for the USTA Foundation, generating more than $1 million. Since its inception, the USTAF has awarded more than $28 million in grants and scholarships. These funds support the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, that leverage tennis, education and life skills programming to more than 220,000 youth nationwide. The NJTL is a national network of more than 350 community-based tennis and education programs co-founded by Arthur Ashe in 1969.
This year, ESPN has donated $300,000 to the USTA Foundation in support of their mission, with $150,000 of that going towards their Capacity Building initiative for the NJTL network.
The event will honor longtime USTA Foundation supporter Richard H. Ader, founder of U.S. Realty Advisors LLC, with the “Serving Up Dreams” award. As an active member of the Board of Directors for the USTA Foundation, Ader is a member of the Disbursements Committee and plays a vital role in the planning of a new tennis and education center to be built in Los Angeles in the next two years. In 2016, he founded Bennington ACES, an NJTL that provides over 300 under-resourced youth tennis instruction, academic tutoring, and in-depth nutrition assistance. Ader will be presented with the Serving Up Dreams award for his support and dedication to the principles and ideals of the USTA Foundation.
Ader is a former co-captain of the U.S. Master Tennis Maccabi Team from 1981-1997, capturing a Bronze Medal in 1985 and a Silver Medal in 1993 in the Maccabi Games. He served on the Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation and was Co-Owner of the New York Hamptons, a World TennisTeam. Ader currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Bennington College and Southern Vermont Health Care.