Ann Baker Memorial Tennis Classic benefitting the YWCA-WINGS domestic violence program
By Christine Weinerth
On Friday, May 3rd, The Claremont Club will proudly host the Ann Baker Memorial Tennis Classic benefitting the YWCA-WINGS domestic violence program. If you’re a tennis playing member of the Club, you probably know all about this annual event. If you don’t, it’s my honor to share the history of this very special fundraiser. Founded by Ann Baker in 1973, this charity event began with a small group of girlfriends playing a round robin tournament. Not long after, that small, friendly tournament morphed into a larger tournament, luncheon and fashion show, which then grew into a three-day event which boasted celebrity matches featuring Chris Everet, Evonne Goolagong, Tracy Austin and Jimmy Connors. In fact, several women from the early days of the tournament, including Betsy Kaplan and Meredith Flanaghan, are still volunteering at the event. Thanks to Sue Hyland, we eventually found the perfect location for our event at The Claremont Club and we could not be more grateful. Through its 46 year history, Ann’s passion project raised over $3,000,000 for victims of domestic violence in the San Gabriel Valley. It’s no exaggeration to say that thousands of lives were forever changed because of Ann’s vision and generosity.
The YWCA-WINGS domestic violence program and shelter is a 24/7/365 lifeline to those escaping life-threatening violence. Victims of domestic violence and their minor children receive shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities. During their stay in the shelter program, adults receive case management, counseling to help rebuild their lives, crisis intervention, legal and housing advocacy and community resources. Children enjoy therapeutic play and a calm, safe environment to call home. As you can imagine, the cost to run the shelter and provide for up to 45 residents at a time is expensive. Grants and federal funding only provide so much. The tennis classic provides vital unrestricted funds for everything from washing machine repairs to school supplies and small birthday celebrations for the children in the shelter. The funds donated by this event are absolutely critical to the function of the program and the experience shelter staff strive to provide for the clients.
Ana Interiano, Chief Program Officer has this to say about the WINGS tennis classic, “Violence is a public health issue and affects the family, community and society. In order to break the cycle of violence, we must work with our youth so they understand how to create healthy relationships. YWCA-WINGS values educating adults and youth so they may learn alternatives to violence. Events like the Annual Ann Baker Memorial Tennis Classic can provide a platform where domestic violence awareness is raised. It takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to protect our families and create a healthy community. The funds raised by the tennis classic are essential to our mission of providing critical services that empower and transform lives. On behalf of the families we serve, thank you for believing in safe and resilient homes.”
There are few people who have created a legacy like Ann Baker. She lived her life in constant pursuit of ways to help others. Ann loved supporting the San Gabriel Valley YWCA-WINGS for more than 50 years. She was proud of the fact that WINGS had helped hundreds of courageous women and their children leave behind their nightmares and instead, find opportunities to live life with dignity and free from violence.
If any group can understand the importance of a healthy mind, body, and spirit, it’s our Claremont Club members. This year, the tennis classic has a specific goal – to raise additional funds to build an outdoor play space for our young shelter guests. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to our cause, there are many ways you can participate:
- Join us – Whether you get out and play on a court, or just wish to join us for lunch and our fabulous auction, we would love to have you. Call Diane for more information at: 626-252-3931
- Donate an item, experience or service for our silent or live auction – Call Joanne for details at: 909-957-3826
- Be a sponsor – Sponsors who donate over $300 in funds or goods to the event are given recognition in our event program and on our Facebook event page. Contact Christine at 909-228-9096 to learn more.
- Donate critical funds – Direct donations are always appreciated. To donate, call Ana at: 626-214-9451 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.