THE TMDF STORY
In July of 1993 I made my first Wimbledon
quarterfinal and made it into the top 15 in the world. After 2½ struggling years on tour, I was finally
making my way in professional tennis. When I was traveling, my singular focus was tennis. Fortunately, I made
plenty of time to return to Lansing, MI, where I grew up and where my parents still lived. My visits home
were good for me and restored some balance into my life. Rick Ferman, my long time mentor and coach, as
usual, had a very similar focus on balance and character that my parents had come to expect out of me.
One day after practicing with Rick, we got to talking about what was important to him, to me, and the great sport of tennis. The conversation was focused on the discipline and respect that tennis requires and rewards, the community of Lansing and its specific importance to both Rick and me, and finally children and all they need in order to flourish during their childhoods. It was in that conversation that the concept of the Todd Martin Development Fund originated.
So, after Rick exercised his methods of persuasion on me, he set out to sell my dad, Dale Martin, on the concept. Once convinced that it was something that we could make work and realizing how committed to the idea I was, my dad was on board. He lent his expertise as an attorney and we began forming an organization. Together the three of us and our unique array of skills successfully raised funds, designed a program, hired a staff, and began operation in the summer of 1994.
Having had my fair share of doubts at the onset, I am still surprised and always excited that, through the
hard work of so many people over these 18 years, we are still growing and serving mid-Michigan's youth better
Balance, character, discipline and excellence! These traits are being passed on today in the mission of the Todd Martin Development Fund. The TMDF provides youngsters, age 8 to 18, with programs that build self esteem, reinforce positive values, and teach courage, discipline and leadership, while developing their tennis skills to the fullest.
TMDF has grown and evolved from its simple beginnings to serve more than 600 youngsters in year-round programs operated in partnership with the City of Lansing Parks and Recreation Department and Court One Athletic Clubs. We are a member of the United States Tennis Association/National Junior Tennis & Learning (USTA/NJTL) and a full-fledged First Serve chapter offering leadership and life-skills training with after-school academic tutoring.
Today, programs serve beginners and those with special potential and motivation. Year-round tennis prepares talented players to compete on high school teams and for tennis scholarships to college. The First Serve curriculum is now offered year-round through our CN First Serve After School and Summer Tennis & Leadership Programs. The CN First Serve After School Program and our partnership with Lansing's HOPE Scholars take our philosophy and mission into the schools.