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One Love Tennis – Summary of Strategic Plan


The story of “One Love Tennis” begins in 1953, when 5-year-old Lenny Simpson was encouraged by future Wimbledon and US Open champion Althea Gibson to take up a game that would change his life.


This story has many chapters. Here are a few of them:


  • At age 9 Lenny was coached in Wilmington by Dr. Hubert Eaton and by Mr. Nathaniel Jackson, and in Lynchburg, Virginia by Dr. R. Walter Johnson, who introduced him to his eventual teammate, Arthur Ashe.

  • In 1964 Lenny at age 15 became the youngest male to play in the US Open at Forest Hills.

  • Upon graduation from college Lenny joined the tour as a professional player, and in 1974 qualified for Wimbledon.   

  • In 1977, he became a teaching professional and in 2005 co-owner of the Centre Court Racquet Club in Knoxville, Tennessee, and for over 37 years he led programs for at-risk youth.


But the current chapter is the most gratifying – the call to return home in 2013 to establish a program that helps boys and girls, ages 6-12, almost all of them at-risk, aspire to the same kinds of ideals and hopefulness that have driven him. From Wilmington to Wimbledon and back again to Wilmington: It’s a great story, with an even better future. Here is the plan for One Love Tennis:



To empower and inspire young people, ages 6-12, especially those at risk, to lead healthy, productive lives through participation in a tennis and academic enrichment program.

Additional Major Objectives:

  • development of self-esteem, character, and life skills

  • tennis as an alternative to negative recreation

  • a pathway to a college education

  • tournament opportunities on the Junior Development Team

  • development of positive future leaders


To be the best youth tennis program in the region, even the nation, a true model in serving boys and girls, ages 6-12, particularly those at-risk:

  • The Vision Today:  Afternoon tennis instruction during the school year and a variety of opportunities in the summer for over 400 young people.

  • The Next Steps: An academic program emphasizing basic learning skills and the importance of hard work, discipline, organization, and a quest for excellence. Also, the creation of an elite Junior Development Team, with the ablest boy and girl players competing in top tournaments.

  • Our Ultimate Vision:  As the best youth tennis program in the region, even the nation, the program will be “sustained” by

    • a “home” facility with no fewer than eight outdoor and four in-door courts, and several satellite facilities with space for study hall and academic mentoring

    • daily holistic support, both physical and academic

    • free transportation to all participants from school, to the tennis center, and home

    • featured speakers to inspire boys and girls as students, citizens, and future leaders

    • collaboration with many local leaders and organizations

    •  instruction in the idea of “community,” especially ours in Wilmington

    • a carefully developed budget, best business practices, proper governance, and a sustainable regimen


“One Love Tennis” teaches a game that is fun, challenging, and energizing; promotes self-discipline; and encourages sportsmanship and gamesmanship. It also meets the demand for excellence in academics, not only in high school but in college. However, it then carries these goals a major step further, encouraging boys and girls to aspire to the highest ideals for themselves and for Wilmington, meeting the needs of the community for a safe, wholesome, and highly-principled education for young, at-risk boys and girls.    


One Love Tennis has established the following five-year plan strategic plan for 2016-21:

  • Mission:  To implement its mission, it will

  • optimize the strengths of the program, for example,

  • the advantages of tennis as a lifetime sport

  • plans to encourage participants to prepare for college and for leadership responsibilities in the community

  • the presence of positive adult role models and mentors for boys and girls

  • address the challenges that face the program, including the need, for example, for

  • proper, sustainable funding

  • a base site for the program

  • Program: To define and strengthen its program, it will for example

  • refine the budgeting process

    • implement a fundraising plan

    • implement plans for the academic support program and implement

    • create a training program for assistant coaches and volunteers

    • collaborate systematically with local leaders and organizations

    • create a college counseling program

    • sponsor one annual tennis promotional event

    • invite guest speakers to educate and inspire boys and girls

  • Funding: Through a comprehensive fundraising plan, “One Love Tennis” will seek support for the following:

  • Program

  • the day-to-day costs of operation

  • purchase of a 12-seat van

  • special programs

  • guest speakers

  • Operations

  • office space and supplies

  • computer, Internet, telephone

  • insurance and legal fees

  • event expenses

  • Staff

  • salary for the executive director

  • additional teaching and coaching staff

  • academic coordinator

  • advancement (fundraising) leader

  • public relations or marketing director

  • event coordinator

  • grant writer

A copy of the complete Strategic Plan for “One Love Tennis” (including a projected budget for 2016) is available on request.

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