For the first time, junior squash high school graduates and their families have united to create the US Squash Senior Class Gift Initiative. The Class of 2020 Gift campaign exceeded initial expectations by raising more than $100,000 and as a result establishing a precedent for graduating classes to come together to celebrate of the entire class’s achievements, on and off the court, and in support of US Squash’s junior development programs. This generosity provided to the sport cements the Class of 2020’s legacy, which is only appropriate in these extraordinary times.
This truly inspired campaign was led by nearly twenty “class ambassadors” willing to contribute generously, as well as reach out to others in the community to encourage them do the same. Families of more than 90 players contributed, representing all levels of play, regions of the country and many donors were new to giving to the US Squash Annual Fund. Early on, a family contributed $2,020, creating a leadership level of giving imitated by more than a dozen other families. The willingness of the junior squash community to support the organization delivering the benefits of the sport to their kids has translated into momentum for US Squash’s ability to effectively plan for the restart of play and competition safely.
Thousands of junior squash players of all levels across the country compete and enjoy squash as a regular part of their lives. Each year, hundreds graduate from junior squash while retaining the values practiced in the sport, the close and enduring friendships they have formed, and with an enduring love for squash as a lifelong sport. Through giving to the Class Gift, families showcased their appreciation for the opportunities, relationships, and experiences that junior squash has provided. The support allows the US Squash to remain active through the current crisis: scoping potentials for a return to play, assisting clubs and pros with their planning, and optimizing technology and online tools in order to continue to provide a high-quality junior squash experience.
“The response was nothing short of remarkable – particularly during a time that was so chaotic and uncertain. We were truly amazed and heartened by the support of the Senior Class families,” said Jen Mackesy, a US Squash Board Member and a Co-Chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee. “Their thoughtfulness and generosity at a critical and very challenging time for US Squash has been a real inspiration. They have set such a great example for future classes in paying it forward. The staff’s ability to continue its work to bring the sport back from this pandemic relies on the support of the entire squash community. I see this as a testament to their appreciation for US Squash and what it has given their children and their families, the commitment of the staff, and recognition of the significant impact the junior squash journey has had in their lives.”
US Squash extends is special thanks to the Class of 2020 Gift Initiative Ambassadors: Punitha Arockiasamy, Elizabeth Carney, Amy Charlton, Christina Evans, Jodie Fink, Ellen Gildea, Ruchira Glaser, Bruce Huberman, Katharine Joyce, Tina Lee, Brian Leonard, Elisa Malani, Jamie McIntyre, Anand Raman, Linda Robinson, Peter Santry, and Winnie Wen; the effort was supported by US Squash Board Members Andrew Fink, Jennifer Mackesy, Linda Robinson and Chairman of the Board Soo Venkatesan.
Subsequent to the launch of this effort, US Squash offered the opportunity to the junior community at large to match the Class of 2020 giving, and many families have supported the Junior Class Gift campaign, which will remain ongoing as planning continues for the coming season.
The leadership exhibited by families who gave in support of the Class Gift will be honored with a permanent plaque recognizing the Class of 2020 at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, set to be completed in December 2020. In addition, graduating seniors whose families gave in their honor will be recognized on a dedicated plaque for all of next season. To give in honor of a graduating senior, please click here.
In following this extraordinary example, and to build on this concept US Squash is actively recruiting class ambassadors for the Class of 2021 as well as other junior classes for the Junior Gift Campaign. To express your interest in serving as a class ambassador, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
US Squash extends its deepest gratitude to the entire Class of 2020 for all they have brought to the sport during their time in the junior squash community and wishes them the best as they move on to the next phase in squash and in their lives.
Thank you to the families who gave to the Class Gift in honor of the following graduating seniors:
Andrew T. Barr
Joey Raskin Lantos