Spring Fundraisers Raise $5 million for Urban Squash
A record $5 million was raised this spring at the annual fundraisers of NUSEA member organizations. In cities big and small, hundreds of donors rallied to support the urban squash cause, pushing the fundraising bar higher and making it possible for our programs to continue to grow. Events in Detroit, Hartford, Newark, Oakland and New Haven raised over $100,000. Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Philadelphia each surpassed $300,000, and both New York programs netted over $1 million. The most financially successful event was the SquashBusters Derby in Boston, which celebrated the organization’s 20th anniversary and raised $1.2 million. “The Derby makes SquashBusters possible — plain and simple,” said SquashBusters Founder and Executive Director Greg Zaff. “The Derby’s success mirrors SquashBusters’ success – slow and steady progress each year, investing in personal relationships with players and corporate backers, and trying to keep learning and improving with every race.”
Pittsburgh’s Steel City Squash, which has applied to become a NUSEA member program, brought in $78,000. Cartagena’s Squash Urbano Colombia held its annual fundraiser in New York City, raising $86,000. Other record breakers included Detroit’s Racquet Up, which reached $120,000, and Oakland’s SquashDrive, which raised $210,00. Baltimore’s SquashWise surpassed $300,000 for the first time. “The SquashWise Rally, named in memory of former board member, Jack Laporte, was inspired by the successes of other NUSEA programs’ events, including the StreetSquash Cup and the SquashBusters Derby,” said Baltimore’s Executive Director Abby Markoe.
As many urban squash supporters are avid squash players, fundraisers often involve team tournaments, in which participating teams money in competition with each other. Hartford’s Capitol Cup “is a great format to bring pros, supporters, and Capitol Squash students together for a one-day tournament,” said Capitol Squash Executive Director Meg Taylor. “The fundraising competition leading up to the event is not only competitive, but in good spirit, and the momentum in the last few days leading up to the event pushes everyone to go above and beyond to make the day a tremendous success.”
These events rely heavily on the involvement and support of squash professionals from around the world. Former world #1 Peter Nicol spoke at the CitySquash Bash and played in the SquashBusters Derby. Other Derby players included New Zealand’s Dan Sharplin, Scotland’s Martin Heath, and former world #1s David Palmer and Natalie Grainger, who also played in the Squash Haven Showdown. The StreetSquash Cup boasted an eye-popping list of world-class professionals, including Adrian Grant, Rodney Eyles, and Campbell Grayson. Longtime U.S. National Team Member Chris Gordon was among the talented players in Hartford’s Capitol Cup, and other participating pros at urban squash events this spring included Meredeth Quick, Dana Betts, Nathan Dugan and Jonathon Power. Pittsburgh’s Steel CitySquash generated buzz a different way: by featuring urban squash alumni to play in its event.