James Lewis Education and Tennis Foundation (JLETFI)

Our History

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 of Fame.

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.

 


     


Our Mission
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.


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