The Fort Announces $1.7 Million
FORTify Our Future Capital Campaign
The Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center (affectionately known as The Fort), located in St. Paul, Minn., is embarking on a $1.7 million fundraising effort that will finance required capital improvements necessary to renew its lease with the City of Minneapolis, including replacing its two tennis domes, resurfacing and adding a ninth court, installing air conditioning and new lighting in both domes, expanding the parking facilities and constructing a new walkway between the front and back domes. These improvements will “FORTify Our Future” for years to come and support The Fort’s ever-growing TennisWorks program – its youth tennis & life skills continuum for under-resourced students in grades 3-12 in the Twin Cities.
“As we look forward, these capital improvements are vital to the future of the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center,” Esther Tsai, Fred Wells Tennis & Education Executive Director, said. “We know this is no small task, but I truly believe that our community sees the value of all we provide at The Fort whether it is the competition on the court, the friendships off the court or the invaluable physical and life skills opportunities we give our TennisWorks youth. We need our Fort family to help us now more than ever and make these improvements a reality.”
Built in 2002, the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is the largest public indoor tennis facility east of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. It is not owned by the City of Minneapolis, nor does it receive any funding from them. However, the land lease makes The Fort legally obligated to maintain the property and finance all mandatory upgrades. Construction has already begun on the walkway as the facility’s front dome must be reconfigured to add a fourth court. Replacement of the domes is scheduled in two stages starting in late-summer of 2019.
The Fort’s mission is to bring people together of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to embrace the lifelong game of tennis while serving under-resourced youth in the Twin Cities with the support of the community. Much of this work is done through its TennisWorks program designed to inspire kids seeking success in many areas including socially, emotionally, academically and physically. More than 90 percent of the TennisWorks participants identify as youth of color and 94 percent are part of the Federal free and reduced lunch program. Recently, The Fort was recognized for its efforts as it was named one of 21 Project Play Champions nationally by The Aspen Institute, and the only tennis entity in the United States to earn such distinction.
For more information about the Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center’s FORTify Our Future Capital Campaign, including renderings of the front dome, or to make a donation, please visit www.fwtec.org/capital-campaign.