The International Tennis Hall of Fame is embarking on the public phase of a $12 million capital campaign to enhance connection to the local and global communities served by the organization, and to support preservation of its historic property. The campaign, Tennis Forever, is a nod to the long-range and lasting impact that its initiatives will have on the non-profit organization and those it serves.
“The next decade will bring endless possibilities for advancing the mission of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Iconic champions will be inducted, exciting new museum technologies will present themselves, and the globalization of our game and our audience will only accelerate. The resources from this campaign will enable us to meet these challenges head on,” stated Mike Goss, International Tennis Hall of Fame Chairman and Tennis Forever Capital Campaign Committee Member.
During the campaign’s leadership phase, $9.3 million has been pledged. Select initiatives have already launched and are resulting in a positive impact. This includes the implementation and sustainability of TeamFAME, a community-based youth development program, the resurfacing of the 140-year-old grass courts, and advancements on digitizing museum collection assets for use in educational and inspirational content.
“The International Tennis Hall of Fame has been through a remarkable transformation in recent years. The organization is accomplishing meaningful work that embodies the mission of celebrating tennis history and its champions globally. There is great momentum for continued growth. The Tennis Forever Capital Campaign is crucial to creating a solid foundation to support this work, and is a necessary launch pad into an impactful, digital future,” stated John Arnhold, Tennis Forever Capital Campaign Co-Chair & International Tennis Hall of Fame Chairman Emeritus.
The Tennis Forever Capital Campaign initiatives focus on two categories: connection and conservation.
Connecting with Communities
An increased emphasis on engaging tennis fans globally with the sport’s history through digital content and exhibits, and programs to envelope the local community through community-based tennis and education programming.
The capital campaign is funding the following initiatives:
- Development and implementation of TeamFAME, a local chapter of the National Junior Tennis & Learning network, which utilizes tennis as a vehicle for supporting, educating, and serving a growing population of under-resourced youth, ultimately providing them with champion-like attributes for future success. Since Fall 2018, TeamFAME has served middle school students in Newport County through tennis training, academic support, character-building programs, and health and wellness services. Additionally, TeamFAME is actively engaged in community tennis programming to reach elementary school students and will start high school leadership programs, with the eventual goal of providing services spanning K – 12.
- The digitization of the museum’s collection of tennis history including more than 25,000 tennis artifacts, and 300,000 photos, videos, and publications. Tennis Forever has also funded the development of award-winning digital exhibits available to tennis fans around the world, including Breaking Barriers, which explores the history of Black tennis, and Smash Hit: The Evolution of the Tennis Racquet.
- An extensive oral history interview project to capture the inspiring first-person stories of the Hall of Famers, which are utilized for exhibits and video content, education and research projects, and preservation purposes.
- Renovation and modernization of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Gallery to present a 21st century fan experience on par with the level of excellence represented by the Hall of Famers, and an extension of this experience to both museum visitors and online fans.
“Digitization of the museum collection is enabling the International Tennis Hall of Fame to connect with tens of millions of tennis fans across the globe at any time through innovative content,” commented Tennis Forever Capital Campaign Co-Chair David Goulden. “It is a crucial next step in the organization’s growth, and the Tennis Forever Capital Campaign will ensure that this impactful growth happens and in a manner that sets the organization up for a financially stable future.”
Conservation of an Historic and Thriving Property
Maintenance and stewardship of the 140-year-old National Historic Landmark property that houses the International Tennis Hall of Fame. This is vital to ensure long-term sustainability as a thriving venue for professional tennis, recreational tennis, and community gathering.
Campaign initiatives include:
- Complete resurfacing and long-term maintenance of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s historic grass courts to preserve the tradition of tennis in Newport. The court resurfacing was completed in 2019 and the results have been visible in positive feedback from professional tennis players on the ATP Tour, as well as an enhanced and consistent playing experience for all levels, from juniors to community members to professionals.
- Renovation of the Court Tennis facility at the Hall of Fame to ensure the sustainability of this historic version of tennis that pre-dates lawn tennis and is still actively played on less than 50 courts in the world. This renovation will also better incorporate Court Tennis into the museum visitor experience for educational purposes.
- Restoration of an external decorative frieze on the property’s main entrance on Bellevue Avenue, which was original to the 1880 design and construction of the architecturally significant property.
- Development of a master maintenance plan that will ensure long-range care of the National Historic Landmark property with insight from architects, preservationists, and engineers.
“The Hall of Fame is one of the most beautiful, historic, and special tennis facilities in the world. Grass courts are a rarity because of the significant care that is required. To keep the facility competitive and appealing to professional tournaments and recreational players, the courts must be maintained at a very high level, and this campaign has made that possible. Word about the new and improved courts will continue to spread and more and more people of all levels will want to play in at the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” stated Hall of Famer Stan Smith, who is also an Honorary Co-Chair of Tennis Forever.
He continued, “Tennis Forever is so important for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s future and the future of our sport. The new content that is being produced through digitization and oral history provides the Hall of Fame with wonderful new ways to share the stories of the Hall of Famers. They are all exceptional people whose stories are motivating and inspiring. This capital campaign will directly impact the Hall of Fame’s ability to utilize tennis history to inspire future generations of tennis players.”
The Tennis Forever Capital Campaign is co-chaired by John Arnhold, David Goulden, and Nancy von Auersperg. Hall of Famers Charlie Pasarell, Monica Seles, Pam Shriver, and Stan Smith are Honorary Co-Chairs. The Campaign Committee is comprised of Russ Fradin, Marianne Gaige, Michael F. Goss, Steve Lewinstein, Andrea Lisher, E. Ramone Segree, Dana Tananbaum, and Todd Traina.
To learn more about the Tennis Forever Capital Campaign, please visit tennisfame.com/tennisforever.