Mission and History

We strengthen our community by educating and empowering youth to realize their full potential.

Core Values


SPUT creates a social and learning environment that is safe, inclusive, and nurturing for kids of all races, religions, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Character Development

Saint Paul Urban Tennis focuses on social and emotional development to prepare our students to be leaders on and off the tennis court. SPUT S.P.I.R.I.T. (service, perseverance, integrity, responsibility, imagination, and teamwork) is infused into every lesson.

Health & Wellbeing

SPUT builds, sustains, and nourishes the physical and emotional health of each participant. We combine the fun and activity of tennis with practical health information to give kids the tools to be healthy in body and mind.

Pursuit of Excellence

SPUT believes in continuously improving as an organization. We teach each participant to  pursue every challenge – on the tennis court, in the classroom, or in the community – with the highest level of integrity, fervor, and sportsmanship.


Saint Paul Urban Tennis values its partnerships with families, schools, businesses, and nonprofits to best support the development of youth in our program.


The Saint Paul Urban Tennis Program was created in 1991 as a pilot project through the Northwest Tennis Patrons, now known as InnerCity Tennis. Lachlan Reed, the founder of the Inner City Tennis Program, donated $10,000 as the first seed money for the Saint Paul Urban Tennis Program. Under the guidance of Sandy Martin, three sites were chosen in an area of low-income housing where few opportunities existed for young people: The Bucky Olson Courts at Saint Paul Central, El Rio Vista, and Dayton's Bluff. These sites were chosen in order to focus on African-American, Hispanic, and Asian populations. During the first summer 125 young people participated in the program. In 2016 that number reached more than 2,500.

The following year Ernie Greene was asked to merge the Martin Luther King Tennis Buffs with Saint Paul Urban Tennis. At this point, our program really took off. Ernie helped increase participation, grow donations, and focused on instilling life skills into the curriculum.


Saint Paul Urban Tennis is Formed


With support from Northwest Tennis Patrons, SPUT is formed under the leadership of Sandy Martin and dedicated volunteers. The goal of the organization is to expand opportunities for Saint Paul youth to play and learn through tennis.


Ernie Greene Joins the Team


Ernie Greene, longtime community leader and avid tennis coach, merges his efforts with SPUT, bringing an emphasis on character and service.


USTA Names SPUT Outstanding Program


The United States Tennis Association names Saint Paul Urban Tennis the Outstanding National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) program in the nation.


The Warrior Leadership Academy is Founded


In an effort to support year round growth for Saint Paul youth tennis players, Warrior Leadership Academy is founded to provide winter training and quality coaching. Leadership and life development workshops are pillars of the program.


New Home on the Eastside


Saint Paul Urban Tennis moves to Eastview Recreation Center on the Eastside of Saint Paul. The move enhances their capacity for engaging young people in our community.


Employment PLUS is Created


To grow opportunities for emerging leaders on the Eastside, SPUT creates the Employment PLUS program. Employment PLUS hires high school students and pairs them with career mentors, development workshops, and college/workplace visits.


Saint Paul Urban Tennis is a recognized charitable organization under section 501(c)(3). As a non-profit, we are able to raise funds and apply for grant funding to support our mission. Your donation helps us provide high quality youth programming to kids across Saint Paul, regardless of zip code or income.


Thank you for your support!