Philpott Children’s Tennis Fund – one of Canada’s only charities dedicated to children and tennis
The Doug Philpott Inner-City Children’s Tennis Fund exists to promote health, physical and moral well-being among needy or disadvantaged inner-city children by providing skills development programs.
The Philpott Children’s Fund was established in 1985, in honour of Doug Philpott, one of Canada’s most enthusiastic promoters of tennis, who dedicated his life to helping others enjoy tennis as much as he did. Since the early 1990’s, the Philpott Children’s Fund has brought tennis to the lives of children living in Toronto’s inner city communities. Philpott children learn more than tennis – they learn important lessons about discipline, cooperation, physical fitness and self-confidence.
Past and Present
The Doug Philpott Inner City Children’s Tennis Fund was formed in 1985 by friends of Doug Philpott, who was an avid tennis player, philanthropist and supporter of tennis and, in particular, junior tennis in Canada. It is the only tennis charity in Canada dedicated exclusively to children in priority needs neighbourhoods. Since 1991, the Philpott Children’s Fund has helped to introduce inner city children to the game of tennis and to the valuable life lessons to be learned through the sport. Starting with a single program at John Innes (Queen and Sherbourne), over the past 20 years we have grown to 19 camp sites across Toronto, serving over 8,500 children.
Our summer tennis camps are free of charge and operate in locations that are designated by the City of Toronto as high priority needs neighbourhoods. We offer children in these neighbourhoods a fun, active, instructive alternative to summer inactivity and the problems associated with such inactivity, including obesity and crime. The physical fitness benefits are direct and immediate. We believe that the key to strong, healthy communities is having children involved in physical fitness and skills-building activities at an early age. Children in our programs not only learn the sport of tennis, they learn interpersonal skills, problem-solving and team work.
The program also offers a venue for youth to learn leadership skills by apprenticing as volunteer coaches for the children’s activities. As well, we partner with the Toronto Sports Leadership Program which enables successful Philpott youth to receive additional leadership training and Tennis Canada Level 1 Certification.
Our funding partners include Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a number of Toronto Tennis Clubs and tennis players who love the game and want an opportunity to give back. Our program partners include Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cabbagetown and San Romanoway Youth Centres. Our major sponsors are Tennis Canada, Ontario Tennis Association, Head Canada and Wilson Sports, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, Merchant of Tennis and the Daniel Nestor Foundation. Philpott is also supported by a tireless hardworking Board of Directors, a devoted Tennis Committee who guides the strong tennis instructional program and countless volunteers who participate both on and off the courts.
A Racquet For Every Child
Nothing makes a child happier than to receive their own tennis racquet. This piece of equipment allows the child to feel a connection to the sport of tennis and more importantly practice outside lesson times. The joy of receiving a racquet was evident on the faces of the children lucky enough to go to the Rogers Cup last summer and to receive the gift of a racquet from Emirates. One hundred children were thrilled but there are hundreds, actually thousands of children in the Philpott program who could benefit from the gift of a tennis racquet. While we are truly grateful for the equipment we receive from Head and Wilson, their equipment is used during the lessons and needs to stay with the Philpott program. Our goal is to one day be able to give a take-away racquet to each camper in the program.
Each year our goal is to collect over 500 racquets through an ongoing racquet donation program. Each May we launch a Philpott Racquet Donation program at over 50 tennis shops, clubs and schools across Toronto and beyond. We ask for racquets that are no longer being used, and most especially junior racquets, to be collected and donated to our Philpott children. We provided organizations with a poster and pamphlet describing the Racquet Donation Program and a donation box.
The Philpott Signature Event – Philpott Ladies Invitational Tournament
In 1984, a group of women from the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club organized a small tennis tournament, raised a small amount of money and donated that money to charity. Over the past 30 years, this tournament has grown into the Philpott Ladies’ Doubles Invitational Tournament and Gala, which now is held annually at the end of January and attended by over 250 women from more than 40 teams from the greater Toronto area.
While the Tournament was first hosted by the Toronto Lawn, where Doug Philpott was an active member, over time a number of other private tennis clubs stepped up to host the event and today, the hosting is shared by The Toronto Lawn, The Badminton & Racquet Club, The Boulevard Club, The Granite Club and the Toronto Cricket and Skating Club. The Boulevard Club will be hosting the tournament in 2017.
The Annual Tournament is a collaborative event. Participating clubs donate court time to the event and each participant pays an entry fee, most of which goes directly to the Doug Philpott Inner City Children’s Tennis Fund. The hosting club amasses a crew of volunteers to organize the Banquet, which usually includes a Silent Auction, raffles and other fundraising.
Over the past 5 years, the Philpott Ladies’ Doubles Invitational Tournament and Gala has raised over $300,000 for Philpott’s children’s tennis camps, or an average of $60,000 per year. This represents one-third of Philpott’s annual operating budget. This past January The Badminton and Racquet Club hosted the event and raised over $50,000. Over the years the proceeds from this event have enabled Philpott to grow from a single camp site in 1991, to 19 camps in Toronto’s high priority needs communities.
Toronto Lawn Tennis Club Calcutta
This major Philpott fundraiser is hosted by the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club each June. This event raises between $20,000 to $30,000. On Thursday night there is a bidding party. Groups of people form consortiums and bid on teams that are handicapped for fairness. Joe Murphy the auctioneer ensures that the bidding is vigorous and generous. The matches take place starting on Saturday morning and run throughout the day. An event of this magnitude takes a great deal of effort on the part of Simon Bartram, Coulter Wright and their committee.
CG Open Tournament
This year the Canadian Gay Open (CGO) Tennis Tournament chose Philpott Children’s Tennis Fund as the recipient of funds raised during their tournament. This annual weekend event attracts competitors coming from across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan. Thanks to Tommy Trinh and his committee for choosing the Philpott Fund.
The Boulevard Club has stepped up for Philpott in a big way. Paul Cairns, the Head Tennis Professional has introduced a Calcutta to the club’s tennis players. They enjoy a fun filled event and at the same time raise donations to support Philpott. Generously the Boulevard Club has adopted funding for the Parkdale site on an ongoing basis. This year the Boulevard Club in partnership with the Doug Philpott Inner City Children’s Tennis Fund is providing the Parkdale community with a junior indoor tennis program. This fall and winter program is offered to children between the ages of 7 and 12 and runs from November 7th to February 27th, 2016. Every Saturday evening fourteen children make their way to the Boulevard Club to participate in this free program that focuses on developing fundamental skills for children to play tennis – the sport of a lifetime. In addition to skill development, a strong focus is placed on developing a love for the game of tennis.
The Davisville Cup is an annual charity tournament. Theme based, this year 72 participants will become clowns, circus animals, side show freaks and acrobats and have a great day at the circus, all the while making a difference in the lives of the Philpott campers. Over the past 5 years Davisville Tennis Club has raised over $60,000 to support the Philpott Tennis program. Way to go Davisville Tennis Club!
Leaside Tennis Club celebrates Wimbledon
For the past three years the Leaside Tennis Club has hosted a Wimbledon Day for their members with the Philpott charity the recipient of this fundraising event. Using a team tennis format, all the white outfitted tennis participants enjoy a wonderful day of competition, strawberries and cream and a silent auction offering something for everyone. This fun filled occasion has raised almost $15,000 for Philpott over the past three years.
Our summer tennis camps are offered free-of-charge to Toronto children and youth, ages 5-15, who would otherwise not have access to such activities. We hire 42 qualified instructors to teach tennis at each of our 19 summer camps, which are located across Toronto, including downtown, Scarborough, Etobicoke and Jane & Finch. Our partnership with the Toronto Sports Leadership program offers youth the opportunity to volunteer at our camps, preparing them for Tennis Canada certification and then future paid employment as instructors and assistant instructors.
NUMBER OF YOUTH SERVED
In 2010, we served over 5,000 children and youth.
In 2016, we will serve over 8,500 children and youth.
A donation of only $25 sends a child to camp for a week
We rely completely on donations from the Toronto tennis community, fundraising events and on our partnerships with Toronto’s largest private tennis clubs. In 2015 our major financial partners include Tennis Canada, Ontario Tennis Association, Canadian Tire Jump Start Fund, Philpott Ladies Invitational, (hosted by the Badminton and Racquet Club in 2016 and the Boulevard Club in 2017), the Cricket Club, the Granite Club, the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, Davisville, Wanless and Leaside Tennis Clubs, Daniel Nestor Foundation, Charles Johnson Charitable Fund, estate of Joseph Red Sheedy and Emirates Airline. Our service delivery partners are City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Cabbagetown Youth Centre, San Romanoway Revitalization Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toronto.
LOCATIONS for 2016
Amesbury (CRC), Antibes Community Centre, Cabbagetown Youth Centre, Clairlea (provides courts for West Scarborough Boys and Girls Club), Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club, Flemingdon Park Community Centre (CC), Grandravine CC, Jimmie Simpson Community Recreation Centre (CRC), Kingsview Village CC, Lawrence Heights CC, Malvern CRC, McGregor Park CRC, Parkdale CRC, Oakridge CRC, San Romanoway, Secord CC, Silver Creek Park, L’Amoreaux CC and Joseph J Piccininni CC