Althea Gibson Foundation
The Althea Gibson Foundation was founded to help identify and support gifted golf or tennis players who live in urban environments. Established in 1998, it has the goal of furthering the legacy of the great American athlete Althea Gibson.
Althea Gibson, the Foundation's namesake
Althea Gibson was born in 1927 in Silver, South Carolina. As she grew up, it quickly became apparent that she was very gifted in the sport of tennis. She played tennis in high school and, after she graduated, continued to rise in the tennis ranks. Gibson ranked in the world's top ten players from 1956 through 1958, reaching a career high of number one in 1957 and 1958. In 1957, Gibson also became the first African-American to win Wimbledon, a tournament which she won again in 1958. In 1963, Gibson decided to switch her concentration to golf. That year, she became the first African-American woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association, where she remained a member for fifteen years; her best tournament finish was second place. Althea Gibson died in 2003 at the age of 76.
Establishment of the Foundation
Althea Gibson was an inspiration to African-American sportswomen everywhere, and to carry on her legacy, the Althea Gibson Foundation was founded in 1998. It enjoys the support of many famous athletes, including Venus and Serena Williams, who were honored at an Althea Gibson Foundation dinner that raised over $100,000 for youth development programs and scholarships.
The Althea Gibson Foundation's mission has grown out of the amazing life of Althea Gibson, who broke racial barriers in her pursuit of excellence in sports. The Foundation is a significant force in helping urban children get exposed to tennis and golf.