It’s springtime and Akoya is busy supporting nonprofits in the communities in which we live and work: The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation in Washington, DC; the Women’s Law Project in Pittsburgh; and Persad Center in Pittsburgh.
These important sponsorships come with tickets to some very cool events:
- Washington Tennis & Education Foundation Tennis Ball, May 9, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC (and a chance to play a match against James Blake)
- Women’s Law Project’s Rights to Realities Reception, May 9, The Fairmont Hotel, Pittsburgh
- Persad Center’s Art for Change Auction and Party, May 12, Wyndham Grand, Pittsburgh
Look us up if you’re there.
Because of Akoya’s presence in the Washington, DC area, we felt we should contribute to a local charity. I had heard about the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which in 55 years of operation has offered thousands of disadvantaged DC kids a rare blend of academic enrichment, athletic instruction, and a positive alternative to hanging out on the street. Given the passion that my husband, John, and I have for tennis (which, alas, usually outstrips our level of play) and our willingness to have loads of fun for a good cause, the WTEF’s annual benefit ball seemed like a real “love match.” In May 2011 we headed to the Ritz-Carlton in our nation’s capital for the WTEF Tennis Ball—aptly named not only for the double meaning with tennis equipment, but also because we really had a “ball.”
One of the activities that evening was a live auction. I had been to many before, so I felt pretty confident that I knew how to work the process. I expertly bid up one item to make the eventual winner spend more money for the kids’ benefit. Next, I made the opening bid on a beach house with absolutely no intention of winning. However, it turned out to be the only bid — John and I enjoyed a rather expensive vacation in Bethany Beach that June.
The next morning everyone convened to play tennis. Some tennis celebrities were on hand, as well as some of the kids who’ve been helped by the WTEF. John and our son Will got to whack the ball around with Zina Garrison and Gigi Fernandez. Zina nearly fell over trying to reach John’s serve, and Gigi couldn’t stop laughing at him. All told, the event raised more than $1 million for WTEF programs — the most successful fundraiser in the organization’s history.
We had such a good time last year that we returned for more. In May 2012, I played round robin and got to hit against Todd Martin (once ranked as high as #4 in the world). And, we get to cross one thing off our bucket list by going to the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Tennis tournament in March 2013 (yes, someone cleverly bid me up on this one)!