The Johnny Mac Tennis Project was founded by John McEnroe, a former professional tennis player and world champion.
The Mission of The Johnny Mac Tennis Project(JMTP) states that it “transforms young lives by removing the economic , racial and social barriers to success through tennis….
Young tennis players face tremendous economic barriers to success, as did Arthur Ashe, the Williams sisters and John McEnroe himself. We offer an accessible, funded Pathway for student-athletes, tournament players, and potential world champions. Pathway programs include introductory group lessons for local schools and Community Based Organizations, individual John McEnroe Tennis Academy scholarships, as well as coaching and travel support to aspiring college and tournament players.
JMTP kids are first introduced to tennis as a life-long health, fitness and social activity. For our most dedicated young athletes, JMTP provides a Pathway to success through competitive tennis, leading to college scholarships, careers in the industry, and, for a few, professional tennis careers and just perhaps… Grand Slam titles!”
The group accomplishes this mission by partnering with local schools in the area around Randall’s Island, to introduce kids in the community to tennis who may not have had such an opportunity otherwise. Kids are bused to the courts at Randall’s Island, where they are taught the sport by champion tennis players, including, of course, John McEnroe. This year, JMTP also announced their inaugural scholarship, awarded to David Clarke, a 13-year old 5-Star recruit from the Bronx, NY. The press release follows the questions.
Staten Islander News Organization was given the opportunity to ask questions of the directors of the JMTP. The questions and their answers follow below.
A Note from JMTP regarding the current status of their programs during the time of the pandemic: Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our community programs could not take place last year during the 2020-2021 season. With schools being remote and/or hybrid, along with restrictions on transportation, there were too many insurmountable challenges. We have not yet started for the 2021-2022 season, but we are hoping that once schools are back in session for a period of time and are able to resume some of these types of extracurriculars we will be able to resume our program. We look forward to not only getting community programs back on court, but also look forward to expanding the programs.
1) What does the testing for tennis aptitude involve? Are there lessons provided, and are they provided on the school site? Or are the children taken to the Randall’s Island location?
There is no tennis aptitude testing required for involvement in JMTP’s Community Program. We encourage participation by children who have never held a tennis racquet or set foot on a tennis court. JMTP’s Community Program is entirely free of cost to our community/school partners, which are primarily located in the neighborhoods surrounding Randall’s Island, specifically in the South Bronx, East Harlem, and Western Queens. The partners’ sole responsibility is to provide for transportation to/from SPORTIME Randall’s Island (typically done through DOE buses). The courts, coaching by world-class John McEnroe Tennis Academy pros, and equipment are provided by JMTP. Under normal circumstances, we could supplement the sessions at Randall’s Island with opportunities for programming onsite at schools. However, due to COVID-19 and the related evolving regulations, JMTP’s Community Program is currently on hold. JMTP remains in contact with our partner schools and plans to recommence programing as soon as practicable.
2) How many children per year, on average, from each of the schools in the area, at each grade level segment (Elementary, JHS, and HS students) participate in this program?
Our free tennis programs run for approx. 34 weeks during the school year and between 50-100 students come to SPORTIME Randall’s Island each school day to participate in our community programs, for an average total of approximately 400 students each school year. We have students from Kindergarten up through high school in the Community Program, although it skews heavily toward K-3rd grade, so as to maximize the progression opportunities into JMTP’s other programs.
3) How does your organization publicize your program in the schools? Is it through assemblies, fliers on the hallway bulletin boards, teacher announcements, other types of promotion? What do they find works the most effectively for helping to recruit students?
JMTP works directly through the Community Boards and with individual school principals and administrators. Because the Community Program occurs during the school day, sessions are typically class-based (e.g. an entire class of 1st graders will come out), and the schools and community leaders help to identify classes of students to participate, rather than recruiting individual students. We do try to publicize the program in various community and DOE bulletins, in order to make additional schools aware of it.
4) The charity is not listed on Charity Navigator, and has provided no additional information besides what is publicly available for guidestar. Do they have plans to apply for the CN rating program in the future, or the GuideStar program?
Yes, we do have plans to apply for these ratings. JMTP is a relatively new organization and is currently in a period of growth and maturation.
5) Are the JMTP courts that are on Randall’s Island for the exclusive use of the project, or are they part of the 20 that are available to paying guests at the Sportime?
The courts that JMTP uses for our community and scholarship programs are part of the 20 courts that are also available to paying guests at SPORTIME. SPORTIME allows JMTP to block off the courts to run our community programs during the school year.
6) Are there any other free tennis programs available to local residents of the area, at your center? Such as, outside of the official lessons offered by the tennis project to those who qualified, maybe on certain days and times when anyone can play on the outdoor courts/indoor courts?
From the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, 50% of the tennis courts at SPORTIME Randall’s Island are accessible to NYC Parks Permit holders, who pay NYC Parks a one-time fee of $100 for such permit (less for juniors and seniors).
7) Does the scholarship program take income level into account, or is it awarded solely on the basis of demonstrated aptitude?
All of our scholarship recipients are means tested in addition to being evaluated based on tennis aptitude. Income level is most definitely taken into account and is a major factor when we award scholarships into our program.
John McEnroe launches the Johnny Mac Tennis Project’s Sponsored Scholarship Program with inaugural scholarship
Scholarships to increase access to high-level tennis training for low-income players
NEW YORK, New York September 9, 2021– The Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) announced today that John McEnroe has donated the inaugural scholarship to officially launch the JMTP Sponsored Scholarship Program. Through the program, individual or institutional donors sponsor a young tennis aspirant who would otherwise lack the financial capability to fully develop his or her tennis potential. Donors work with JMTP leadership to set the selection criteria for their named scholarship, and receive regular updates on their player’s progress.
Scholarship recipients will train exclusively with world-class coaches at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA). All Sponsored Scholarships provide for the year-round on-court training necessary for a child to compete at a sectional level. Additionally, Grand Slam-level scholarships fund the tournament travel, equipment, and off-court training required for a player to compete at a national or international level. A 4-year sponsorship commitment is requested to ensure continuity in the child’s training.
“Participating in sports transforms lives, and we’re committed to removing the financial barriers that prevent so many kids from playing tennis,” said John McEnroe. “I am thrilled to be personally kicking off this program because these scholarships will help some very deserving kids pursue their dreams of playing tennis at a high level, and will let donors see firsthand how their contributions directly impact the recipients.” McEnroe’s call to action has already been answered by another donor, who has committed to immediately sponsoring a player.
The inaugural John McEnroe Tennis Scholarship has been awarded to David Clarke, a 13-year old 5-Star recruit from the Bronx, NY. The 8th-grader was born on the same day as his favorite tennis player, Rafael Nadal, and received his first tennis racquet when he was just 8 months old. With the support of JMTP, David has been training at JMTA since 2018, and finished his last year of Boys 12s with a national ranking of number 3 in the United States.
“David was selected for this scholarship because we are impressed with his ambition and his undeniable potential,” said McEnroe. “I know what a game changer tennis can be and our goal is to continue to support David’s dreams as he develops his game and benefits from the great sport of tennis on and off the court.”
“It is an honor to receive this scholarship and recognition from someone I truly admire,” said David. “I am so grateful for the support I have received from JMTP, and my coaches at JMTA, as well as my family and friends. I look forward to continuing to work hard and making everyone proud. Thank you John!”
For more information on the JMTP Sponsored Scholarship Program, please visit: https://www.jmtpny.org/donate–support.html.
About the Johnny Mac Tennis Project
The Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) changes young lives by removing the racial, economic and social barriers to success through tennis. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by tennis legend John McEnroe, JMTP introduces the sport of tennis as a life-long health, fitness and social activity to thousands of under-resourced New York City area children. For a smaller group of dedicated young athletes, JMTP provides a pathway to success through competitive tennis, leading to college scholarships, careers in the industry, and, for a few, professional tennis careers and, perhaps, Grand Slam titles. Learn more: jmtpny.org.
About the John McEnroe Tennis Academy
In September 2010, tennis legend John McEnroe and Sportime Clubs partnered to launch the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, in John’s hometown of New York City, at the Sportime Randall’s Island Tennis Center in Manhattan. Sportime Randall’s Island is the Company’s flagship location, and the flagship location of the Academy. In September 2012, JMTA expanded to Sportime Lake Isle, an 8-court, state-of-the art, year-round facility in lower Westchester, and to Sportime Syosset in central Long Island, an 11-court indoor facility that has long served as Sportime’s high performance training center on Long Island. In 2015, JMTA Summer Tennis Training was added in the Hamptons, at Sportime Amagansett, Sportime’s 34-court, seasonal, outdoor tennis facility in the Town of East Hampton. With the satellite locations, the JMTA brand currently covers 4 sites with a total of 73 tennis courts, serving approximately 1,500 players annually. Learn more: www.SportimeNY.com/JMTA.
John’s passion and belief is that great players can be developed in urban settings, while still having the opportunity to live at home, pursue their educational goals, and participate in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. The Academy works to recruit the most talented and the most highly motivated young athletes in the New York Metropolitan area and beyond. Inspired by the vision and daily presence of Johnny Mac, under the guidance of JMTA Managing Director, Bennett Schlansky, executed daily by Co-Directors Patrick McEnroe and Lawrence Kleger, and featuring an international staff of tennis, athletic training and performance directors and coaches, JMTA delivers a complete on and off-court training program, including mental toughness, sports vision training, video analytics and more, designed to assure the best possible outcome for serious junior players. JMTA’s youngest students, who train with red and orange balls on 36’ and 60’ courts, participate in cutting-edge Mac Red and Mac Orange programs designed by world-renowned U-10 visionary Mike Barrell of Evolve 9, and executed by Sportime/JMTA’s expert U-10 directors and coaches.