The James Lewis Education and Tennis Foundation was formed to
provide scholarships to junior tennis players; support educational
and character development programs; and support overall tennis
play and tennis skills development. It was established on February
14, 1995 and received its tax exemption status as a 501(c)(3)
in July of 1995.
On March 16, 1996, Mr. James Lewis Sr. was the first African
American to be inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Foundation acquired a lease for the Ensley Tennis Center
on March 1, 1998 from the Birmingham Park Board and they approved
the renaming of the Ensley Tennis Center to the James
Lewis Tennis Center on April 25, 1998.
Seven years later on May 2, 2007, the Foundation was proud to
acquire a second location at George Ward Park called the George
Ward Tennis Center.
Profile of James Lewis
James "Buddy" Lewis was born in Dallas County Alabama.
He attended Fairfield public schools. He retired from U.S. Steel
after 43 years of service. He died on June 14, 1995.
A self taught tennis player from a very young age, James Lewis
became consumed with a passion for the game and also a passion
to pass it on. He volunteered countless hours to teach tennis
free of charge as well as provide transportation and financial
assistance to many young players. At age 75, he was actively teaching
tennis, still trying to reach as many students as possible. It
was this exceptional dedication that earned James Lewis several
community service awards. He was the recipient of the 1993 Community
Service Award from the United States Tennis Association. He also
won the 1994 Sports Illustrated Hometown Hero Award. In 1995,
James Lewis was awarded the Singleton Award for Coach of the Year.
On March 16, 1996, he was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall
Some of the awards James Lewis received came with small cash
prizes. He would be very excited because this meant he could buy
new practice balls for his students or some other equipment for
an under privileged child. He could pay a tournament fee for a
student who wanted desperately to play but could not pay.
The founders of JLTSFI, former students of James Lewis, know
from experience the positive impact of his work and hope to expand
the resources available to the youth of Jefferson County. On February
14, 1995 the Foundation was incorporated as a tax exempt, not
for profit organization to increase efforts to reach as many young
players as possible. If you would like to give a donation to JLTSFI
or find out more about our organization, please e-mail Tenniszyx@aol.com.
Thank you for your support.