Building Community

The mission of Sportsmen’s is to build leaders on the court, in the classroom, and in the greater community by providing academic, wellness, and social development programs alongside recreational and competitive tennis instruction for youth and adults. We were founded in 1961 as the first indoor, non-profit tennis club built by and for African Americans in the United States. We are committed to improving life opportunities for young people and adults in Boston’s Blue Hill Corridor, while also welcoming a diverse community from the Greater Boston area.

For the past six decades, we have supported and invested in Boston’s most vulnerable youth and families. Many  have experienced stress and trauma, including homelessness, violence, and food insecurity. We offer free and low-cost afterschool and summer academic support and enrichment programs; mentoring; athletic opportunities; and life-changing health and wellness programs through a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). We’re also proud of our cornerstone community building initiatives, including Volley Against Violence, the nationally recognized program that brings police and young people together for play, dialogue, and understanding. More than 5,000 children and teens and 1,000 adults participate in our programs and services each year.

Investing in the Community pillar of our capital campaign will allow Sportsmen’s to fund critical initiatives, such as our Summer Camp, Outdoor Playspace, and Accessibility & Safety Infrastructure.

Summer Camp, Outdoor Playspace, Accessibilty & Safety – $2M

Sportsmen’s hosts Summer Camp for more than 200 kids every year – many on full or partial scholarship – and increasing operating reserves allows us to continue funding discounted tuition. Our new Outdoor Playspace will allow us to welcome more campers, since the program is currently at capacity and has an extended waiting list. This expansion will also allow us to deepen our valued partnership with the City of Boston’s Homeless Camper initiative, offering more spots to some of Boston’s most vulnerable children.
Accessibility and Safety are also key aspects of community, allowing us to open our doors to more local constituencies and help them thrive. Our construction plan will bring the lobby entrance down to ground level, making the facility accessible to visitors of all physical abilities and ensuring that Sportsmen’s becomes one of the few destinations for wheelchair tennis in New England. The project will also add a new pedestrian – and bike-friendly entrance to the parking lot, improving traffic flow and safety for everyone entering the facility. We also plan to add a state-of-the-art sprinkler system and upgrade fire alarms.

Building Community is one of six pillars of Phase II of our Capital Campaign. Learn more about the others here.

“We work with families experiencing homelessness in the city of Boston, so something like summer camp means a lot to them, and for their kids to attend. It’s a big deal to be able to have the quintessential experience of camp to feel like a normal kid. And I don’t think the impact of that can be overstated.”
– Brittani Harris, EMPath – Economic Mobility Pathways