Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey kept the packed audience laughing during a fun-filled celebrity auction, highlighting the 13th annual USTA Serves Opening Night Gala this evening at the US Open, an event that raises more than $500,000 in funds to help fund college scholarships and program grants to community-based tennis and education programs throughout the country.
“I am looking forward to joining USTA Serves and being part of a successful Opening Night event,” said Spacey before the festivities began inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. “I commend the foundation’s commitment to supporting youth and organizations around the nation who strive for greatness through tennis and education.”
USTA Serves President Mary Carillo hosted the event, which coincided with the stadium’s evening session led off by a musical performance from Lenny Kravitz, followed by matches featuring defending US Open champion Serena Williams and five-time US Open men’s singles champion Roger Federer.
“USTA Serves is committed to helping young people improve their lives through the powerful combination of tennis and education,” said Carillo. “The Opening Night Gala helps us to fund our mission, thanks to our many supporters and guests. We are thrilled that they can join us for what will be another outstanding occasion.”
The attendees included a “who’s who” crowd of tennis greats, none bigger than four-time US Open women’s singles champion Billie Jean King and the world No. 1-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. The program began with a reception in the stadium’s President’s Suite, followed by a celebratory toast recognizing the evening’s honored guests—King for her outstanding legacy and trailblazing accomplishments and the Bryans as the most successful doubles team in the Open era.
Other guests of honor included ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier and photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, wife of the late Arthur Ashe.
Spacey, star of the new TV series “House of Cards,” then led the live auction, which featured prizes up for bid, including a private dinner party with King, a Vogue Fashion Week package with a meet-and-greet with Wintour and a bottle of champagne autographed by five-time US Open winner Roger Federer. In addition, a silent auction allowed supporters to bid on exclusive, one-of-a-kind packages, experiences, memorabilia and more.
To date, USTA Serves has awarded $16 million in grants and scholarships to people and programs throughout the country in order to provide at-risk and underserved youth with greater opportunities to realize success. That total includes more than $12 million to fund 247 programs in 47 states, including $900,000 to adaptive tennis programs for people with special needs and more than $4.5 million in college scholarships and player incentive awards to more than 900 middle school students and high school seniors.
“We’ve had a tremendous week in the New York area, starting with our second annual USTA Serves Pro-Am in the Hamptons last Thursday and leading right up to tonight’s festivities,” said Daniel Faber, Executive Director of USTA Serves. “For me, in my first year in this post, it has been quite humbling to learn first-hand how many people support the USTA Serves foundation and the impact it’s having on underserved children and people with disabilities across the country. I'm excited and honored to be a part of this organization.”
For more information about USTA Serves, please visit USTAServes.com.