In an inspiring show of support for the SquashBusters youth program’s twentieth year, members of the Boston community rallied together to raise over $1.2 million dollars for the tenth MFS SquashBusters Derby on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th.
With help from partners like MFS Investment Management, who generously signed on as the event’s title sponsor for the fifth year in a row, and Westfield Capital, SquashBusters raised a record-breaking amount for its sports-based afterschool youth development program – the final tally coming in at $1,218,928. The Derby, which is a pro-amateur squash competition that takes place each May, brings together supporters from all over the world who commit to fundraising at least $5,000 for their spot as a doubles or singles player on one of the eight competing teams.
This year, MFS Chairman and co-CEO Rob Manning and CFO Amrit Kanwal both supported the event and played doubles for Wallbanger, the defending champions who won the competition for the ninth year in a row after a rematch of last year’s finals against runner-up Eijk’s Knights.
While Wallbanger took home the trophy as winners of the squash competition, each year the Derby also recognizes the individual who raises the most on behalf of the program through the coveted Secretariat Award. This year’s cup was presented to two recipients: Sandy Tierney, Executive Vice-President at McCall & Almy and David Drubner, Executive Director at The Baupost Group; each of whom raised nearly $95,000 to support the nearly 300 Boston and Lawrence youth who benefit from the SquashBusters program.
In addition to MFS, corporate sponsors of the event include Westfield Capital Management, Audax Group, Berkshire Partners, Brown Brothers Harriman, Carousel Industries, Clough Capital Partners, Deloitte, Ernst & Young LLP, Folger Hill Asset Management, General Catalyst Partners, Kohlberg & Associates, McCall & Almy, National Development / Charles River Realty Investors, New Balance, William O’Neil & Co., Sapient Global Markets, State Street Corporation, Sun Life Investment Management, Thermo Fisher Scientific, TOG and UBS.
On Saturday, supporters filled the SquashBusters facility on the Northeastern University campus, to watch singles matches and enjoy a cocktail party and a speaking program featuring remarks from graduating SquashBusters senior Yaritza Amado, a student at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury.
“It has been said that SquashBusters is like a family. To me, it is much more than that,” said Amado, who will be attending Providence College in the fall. “SquashBusters has been central to every experience I’ve enjoyed, every relationship I’ve benefited from, every goal I’ve set, and every hope I’ve had since I joined four years ago.”
In addition to the fundraising players, fifteen world-class squash professionals came out to the event, including former World No. 1’s Thierry Lincou, Peter Nicol, David Palmer and Jonathon Power, as well as current World No. 8 Amanda Sobhy, who played on the first-ever all-women’s Derby team, Unbridled.
“The Derby makes the SquashBusters program possible. It is by far our most significant annual fundraising effort, and we are sincerely grateful to all of the players and fundraisers who are the engine that drives the event’s success each year,” said Greg Zaff, SquashBusters CEO/founder.
SquashBusters has served more than 500 young people from Boston and Lawrence since its inception in 1996. The first urban squash program of its kind, SquashBusters is a sports-based after school youth development program that uses a combination of squash and fitness, academic enrichment, and character development to open doors and prepare students for college.
SquashBusters has served as the model for what has now become an international movement impacting the health, character and educational success of thousands of urban youth. The Boston program paved the way for urban squash and education programs in twenty U.S. cities, including New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and San Diego, as well as several programs abroad. Together, these programs serve more than 2,000 students worldwide.