The 30th Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon Raises over $450,000

30th Annual Leadership Luncheon at Hyatt Hotel

On November 3, 2015, the 30th Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon was held at the Grand Hyatt New York, raising over $450,000 to support our free community tennis programs, tournament team training, after-school programming and other tennis and education activities for children and young adults across the city.

At the Luncheon, Leadership Awards were presented to three honorees: Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, photographer, author and consultant, and two-time Olympic gold medalists Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez. Emmy Award-winning sports reporter Russ Thaler emceed the event, which drew over 300 attendees.

“We are grateful to everyone who attended NYJTL’s 30th Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon to support our enduring commitment to transforming the lives of young people through tennis and education,” said Dr. Deborah Antoine, President and CEO, NYJTL. “Our honorees, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez, truly embody our values, and are so deserving of our Leadership Awards.”

Left to Right: Gigi Fernandez, Tajimarie Preddie, Mary Joe Fernandez, Eric Blackshear, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Alex Chiu and Deborah Antoine

National Junior Tennis League Founder and International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee Charlie Pasarell presented Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez, and New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden presented Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe.

“We hope that by being here today to support NYJTL, we can reinforce the importance of what NYJTL is doing to guarantee that tennis and educational opportunities for underserved youth continue to expand in the future,” said Mary Joe Fernandez.

“Our stories are only relevant in so far as they prove that achieving dreams is possible,” said Gigi Fernandez. “We hope to continue to make a difference by working with the USTA to promote Hispanic participation by speakingdirectly to the next generation of players.”

“This thriving organization is a testament not only to tennis and sport, but also an example of what it means to live in America and dream big,” said Jeanne Moutoussamy- Ashe.

The accomplishments of three of our current program participants were also recognized at the event. The student honorees were Alex Chiu, recipient of the NYJTL Achievement Award; Tajimarie Preddie, recipient of the NYJTL Character Award; and Eric Blackshear, recipient of the Irwin Askenase Sportsmanship Award.

The Luncheon’s event chairs were: Lawrence B. Benenson, Peter L. Malkin and Polly Scott, and event committee members were: Peter Bicks, Carole and Donald Dell, Benjamin Doller, Mark Ein, Lisa Askenase Konsker, Dalia Leeds, Suzanne Lengyel, Stacey Locker, Bernadette Longford, Lauren Mallon, Lawrence Mandelker, Beth and Josh Nash, Missie Rennie, Gordon Smith and Madan Suri.

Pictured left to right: Russ Thaler, Peter Malkin, Lawrence B. Benenson, Stan Smith, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ash, Charlie Pasarell, Gigi Fernandez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Deborah Antoine, Tory Kiam, Polly Scott and William C. Rhoden.

Every dollar raised at the Luncheon will go directly to support NYJTL programs thanks to the generosity of the event’s Presenting Sponsor Lawrence B. Benenson and The Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation, who have underwritten the luncheon for the past 30 years. The Arnhold Family also served as a Presenting Sponsor.

The event’s Grand Slam Sponsors were: Tory and Elena Kiam, and CourtSense, The Uehling Family and Zoellner Family. Ace Sponsors were: Caryn and Craig Effron, Deborah Slaner Larkin, May & Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Peter Malkin (The Malkin Fund), Sidney Migdon (Goldfarb & Fleece), Jill and Mark Rachesky, Polly Scott and Jim Maher, Steven Simkin (Paul, and Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP)

To view photos of the event click here.