Genesis Foundation for Fitness and Tennis (GFFT), the fundraising arm of Genesis Health Clubs, has raised more than $250,000 at its annual Rat Pack Gala & Casino Night to provide shoes, beds and athletic grants for kids in poverty.
“Yearly, we donate thousands of brand-new shoes and hundreds of new beds to kids who need them, along with sports scholarships,” said Rodney Steven II, the owner and president of Genesis Health Clubs and chairman of the board for GFFT, in a statement. “The events we put on help raise money so that every child has an equal chance at fitness and sleep. It’s been a tough couple years for all kids, just trying to learn and play, so if we can make it just a little easier for these kids, it’s all worth it.”
This year’s gala drew 280 attendees and broke fundraising records for GFFT.
Steven praised DeAnn White, the executive director of GFFT, for putting on the successful event. White will be honored with this year’s Outstanding Diversity Achievement Award at the USTA Missouri Valley’s Annual Conference.
“To write everything that DeAnn means to and is doing for the Wichita community would be an endless task because she is constantly finding ways to do and offer more,” said Nick Schulte, a USTA Kansas Board Member, in a statement. “USTA Kansas feels fortunate to have such a gift of a person as DeAnn is to our district.”
GFFT was founded by Steven in 2006, and has since contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to area youth and organizations.
Concerning this year’s gala, Steven added, ““It is truly an honor to be a part of this program and change kids’ lives. I am so excited for 2022. We believe it will be our biggest year yet helping more kids than ever before.”