WBZ Cares: Fundraising and Adult Tennis League Help Keep STEC Doors Open For Youth

BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization, and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.

This month WBZ Cares profiles the”Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center,” an organization aimed at leveraging tennis to open doors of opportunity for youth in some of Boston’s most underserved communities.

“The city of Boston gave us an open-ended lease to have these four acres as long as we continue to provide tennis to low-income youth here in the city of Boston,” said Toni Wiley, STEC’s Executive Director.

The Center has an annual budget of $2-million dollars. Most of that money goes to pay for the upkeep of the building and the salaries of the more than two dozen staff members who work there.

“The Building is the big issue. The building and the insurance and all those sorts of things. But certainly also staff, and curriculum design, evaluation, and health insurance,” Wiley said.

60-percent of the budget comes from fundraising. Their big money maker is the annual Sportsmen’s Tennis Ball, held this year on Friday, November 17th.

“That brings 700 folks to Lombardo’s for a lovely dinner, dancing, and a huge silent auction,” said Mary Long, development director.

Long says they also receive a lot of grant money.

“We were blessed to be given a donation by the Junior League of Boston, in turn, they were blessed to receive a beautiful painting that our kids painted this summer as a thank you to them.”

According to Wiley approximately, 80 to 85-percent of the money they raise goes directly to the children they serve.

“I think again our biggest single expense is the facility and the reality is the facility is all about the people that we serve.”

The remaining 40-percent of the budget is raised through fees from the center’s robust adult tennis program.

“Fee for service revenue. We have 11 competing teams. We have about 300 members in a given year.”

For more information visit sportsmenstennis.org or WBZ Cares during the month of November.

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