Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education seeks public input on new name

Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education officials decided there’s nothing in a name when it comes to the one they’ve had for the past 10 years—because a tennis nonprofit by any other name is just as sweet.

In what AAYTE president Kenny Holdsman says is a mutual agreement, the organization is not renewing its 10-year licensing agreement with Arthur Ashe, Inc. Holdsman said that’s due to the violation of the usage of Arthur Ashe’s name.

“We were licensed to use the full name, ‘Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Eduction’ or ‘AAYTE’, and Arthur Ashe, Inc. entered into that licensing agreement with us in 2002,” he said. “No organization is licensed to just use Ashe or Arthur Ashe, but instead their full name or acronym.”

Holdsman said families involved with the program and those who know it simply refer to the organization as Ashe or Arthur Ashe, which, he says, is in violation of the agreement.

But Holdsman, in conjunction with Arthur Ashe, Inc. president Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, have found a solution.

“Rather than constantly reminding people not to call us that, it made sense for us, Mrs. Moutoussamy-Ashe and Arthur Ashe, Inc., to go with a tagline and create a new name for the organization and the center,” he explained.

AAYTE has already established the tagline, “Inspired by the legacy of Arthur Ashe,” but the name is a work in progress. 

Calling for suggestions

The new name will be unveiled in May or early June, Holdsman said. But until then, the tennis nonprofit plans to collect input from its members in the search for a name better suited to the organization.

“We’re going to have an online suggestion box, and then we’re going to have a bunch of meetings where people have an opportunity to give creative ideas for the name,” Holdsman said. “We’re also going to give opportunities for people to give input.”

When the tennis organization does change its name, it’ll also be changing its signage at the East Falls center, T-shirts, banners, letterheads and website name—which is currently www.ashetennis.org.

But this isn’t the first time AAYTE has changed its name. The group has a long history of name changes and merges.

A history of change and growth

AAYTE started out in 1952 as the Philadelphia Tennis Patrons Association. In the early 80s, it merged with the Philadelphia National Youth Tennis League to become Philadelphia Youth Tennis. And finally, with the help of Arthur Ashe, a building in Manayunk was gifted to the organization. The building adopted the name Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis Center, with the verbal approval of Ashe himself. But the overall program was still called Philadelphia Youth Tennis.

Ashe was involved with the league and its initiatives until his death in 1993.

Over the next few years, the organization expanded into a large tennis center in East Falls, and provided 45 programs in schools across Philadelphia and Camden, NJ.

The organization then changed its name, for branding purposes, to Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education, with permission from Arthur Ashe, Inc., in 2002.

“That’s a very particular trademark as to how we can use his name,” Holdsman said. “[Until] that point, it was just a verbal agreement. Since he’s passed, his heirs and the use of his name are controlled in a more business and legal way.”

Since the organization has expanded, this is the first time the name will change.

But Holdsman wants to make one thing clear: “What isn’t going to change is the mission of the programs and the people that we serve,” he said. “The only thing that’s going to change is the name.”

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