Mercedes-Benz USA announced their “Ace the US Open” program alongside 2017 US Open winner and Mercedes-Benz Ambassador Sloane Stephens to give back as the nation continues to face the global COVID-19 pandemic. For every ‘Ace’ that is served during the US Open, Mercedes-Benz USA will make a fifty-dollar donation to the USTA Foundation’s “Rally to Rebuild” initiative. Last year alone, there were over 3,000 aces recorded. The final donation will be equally distributed to three National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters supported by the USTA Foundation: the Sloane Stephens Foundation chapter, a local Atlanta NJTL chapter, which is the home of the Mercedes-Benz HQ, and an NJTL chapter in the Northeast.
The USTA Foundation supports the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning network, which is a nation-wide group of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education. They offer a variety of on-court programming and educational and life-skills designed to enhance a player’s overall development. With the pandemic suspending activities, the youth tennis network is currently facing unprecedented adversity. The USTA Foundation’s “Rally to Rebuild” fundraising campaign is playing a crucial role in helping the lives of over 160,000 underserved youth in 250 diverse communities across the country.
Stephens decided to take part in the “Ace the US Open” program to give back to the youth community, which has always been a long-time passion for her. Stephens started the Sloane Stephens Foundation in 2013 with a goal of enhancing the quality of life for youth through exposure to tennis as a basis for life-long learning and healthy lifestyle choices. Last year, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Sloane took time out of her busy US Open schedule to host a clinic where she provided mentorship and pro-advice to 11 young aspiring tennis stars from the National Junior Tennis and Learning’s local chapter.
“With so many of our nation’s youth facing extreme hardships, I felt compelled to offer support and hope during this difficult time,” said Stephens, Mercedes-Benz Ambassador. “Tennis gives kids the chance to move, run and play, but also to connect with their peers. I’m thrilled to be able to play the game I love, while also supporting this foundation.”
“Due to the current health crisis, it is more important than ever for Mercedes-Benz to give back to our community. As a continued sponsor of the US Open, we wanted to create an opportunity to support the youth that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Monique Harrison, Head of Brand Experience Marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA. “Our goal is to give back to these organizations so that both education and tennis programming can continue and thrive.”
While they were kept off the courts in recent months, NJTL chapters still played a vital role in their communities during the pandemic. These initiatives partnered with local food banks and hand-delivered meals to those in need, as well as sent tennis equipment to homes for coaches to conduct online training sessions. They continued to host virtual gatherings to help provide students the opportunity to keep connected, while staying mentally strong and academically engaged.
“As a result of the pandemic, NJTL chapters throughout the nation are facing significant financial challenges due to a loss of funding from traditional community-based events and sources that have been impacted by the economic shutdown,” stated Dan Faber, Executive Director for the USTA Foundation. “Through the support of Mercedes-Benz USA and the Ace the US Open philanthropic initiative which supports our Rally to Rebuild campaign, we can provide much-needed financial resources to get these NJTL chapters back open so they can deliver programs to student-athletes in local communities throughout the network.”
Mercedes-Benz is calling on fans to rally and cheer for as many Aces as possible during the US Open. Fans can track the amount of Aces along with the donation amount in real time in the ‘Ace Tracker’, @MercedesBenzUSA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.