VERO BEACH - Tennis star Mardy Fish, whose children’s foundation is based in Vero Beach, sent a video message to his foundation’s supporters in August, thanking them for supporting programs for Indian River County children.
Mardy Fish started his foundation in 2007, seeking to help at risk children. Today, the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation awards roughly 25 grants per year in support of athletic and educational programs for about 2,400 children in 13 elementary schools, six middle schools, one high school, and three after school centers in Indian River County.
The foundation supports after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs to prepare children for healthy and successful lives.
Some of the local organizations the foundation supports are Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy, Dasie Hope Center, GYAC, Homeless Children’s Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Indian River Golf Foundation.
“Along the way in my life, so many supported me when I was young, and it’s my turn to do the same for children,” Mr. Fish said. “I started the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation to support at risk children in my hometown of Vero Beach.”
Mardy Fish was born in Minnesota, in 1981. In 1986, the Fish family moved to Vero Beach. Mardy attended Vero Beach High School for tenth grade, where he became friends with another hometown hero, Jake Owen. The two periodically do events for each other’s charity.
Mr. Fish reached a world ranking of number seven in 2011, when he was number one in the United States. He reached the quarterfinals of the 2007 Australian Open, the 2008 U.S. Open, and the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, and won a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Greece.
In 2019, Mardy Fish was named captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, which will compete in November in Madrid.
Hannah Hite, Homeless Children’s Foundation Executive Director, gives thanks to the Fish foundation.
“Our swim program runs in two cycles a year throughout the spring and fall semesters,” Ms. Hite said. “Most of these children are coming from a homeless background, either currently or previously. This program is very instrumental in teaching them how to swim, to allow them to have the same opportunity that other children in our community have.”
“To have someone come from another organization, another sport, and really be able to contribute with the same passion as they do for their own is a huge benefit to both our program and to the kids who benefit from it,” said Arthur Andrews, founder and head trainer, Treasure Coast Basketball Academy.
Gracie Levelston, a nationally ranked youth tennis player, said “having the support is where it all starts. Without support you can’t really go as far as your dream. Mardy believes, Mardy believes.”
“It’s an amazing feeling to see the kids that we’ve helped through the foundation grow up in the community, be a part of the community,” said Mr. Fish. “I’ve even played tennis with some of them.”
Through a partnership with the School District of Indian River County, the foundation sponsors enrichment programs that focus on the “Six Healthy Habits” the foundation introduced in 2012: get sleep; drink water; exercise daily, eat healthy; brush and floss; make friends.
The foundation supports the Treasure Coast Elementary Gardening Club, the Glendale Art Club, Lady Indian Basketball, and the Beachland Elementary Track Team.
For more information, visit www.mardyfishchildren’sfoundation.org, email Info@MFFkids.org, or call (866) 633-4070.