Our Champions of Children
Tennis Ball 2016

WTEF honored four Champions of Children at this year’s Tennis Ball, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sylvia and Saul Ritzenberg, and US Senator Shelly Moore Capito.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Sylvia and Saul Ritzenberg

US Senator Shelley Moore Capito

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

The Life Champion Award is being given to Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who is one of the most decorated athletes of all time. She dominated women’s track and field for 16 years and won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals, spanning four Olympic Games. Sports Illustrated for Women named her the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. 

A recipient of the Humanitarian Athlete of the Year, Jackie is known for her interest in helping others. She helped create The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation in her hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, and co-founded Athletes for Hope. Jackie’s husband is famed track and field coach Bobby Kersee.

Sylvia and Saul Ritzenberg

WTEF is honored to bestow the Lifetime Achievement Award on the late philanthropists Sylvia and Saul Ritzenberg. Without Sylvia’s leadership and extraordinary generosity, it is hard to imagine that WTEF would have been able to build its impressive new Tennis, Education and Community Center.

In 2006, at a critical moment in the development of the Center, Sylvia made a visionary pledge to cover WTEF’s increased operating costs during the Center’s first five years of operation. This gift won the confidence of the DC City Council, which awarded WTEF land on which to build the Center. A subsequent cornerstone gift launched WTEF’s successful campaign to raise $10 million to build the new Center.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito

Recipient of the prestigious William H.G. FitzGerald Distinguished Service Award, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV) has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of children around the world through education, advocacy and athletics. As Chair of the Congressional Charity Tennis Tournament, Senator Capito has brought WTEF to the attention of several of her colleagues on Capitol Hill and other interested parties. 

She serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rules and Administration Committee. A lifelong West Virginian, Senator Capito and her husband, Charles L. Capito, Jr., reside in Charleston.