Tennis great MaliVai Washington will receive the 2021 “Rock of the Community Award” from the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach during its annual Mineral City Celebration, which this year will be held virtually via ZOOM on May 1.
Washington will be honored in recognition of the tremendous impact he has had on the community through the tutoring, mentoring and youth development programs offered by the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.
“MaliVai Washington is a tremendous role model for our local youth,” said Sam Hall, president of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach. “The academic, athletic and character-building programs provided by his foundation have touched countless lives and helped thousands of young people develop the skills for success.”
Ranked as the No. 1 NCAA tennis player in the nation while attending the University of Michigan, Washington was named the ATP Rookie of the Year in 1990. Over a career that spanned 10 years, he won four career titles while reaching a total of 13 finals and earning singles wins over such players as Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl. In 1996, Washington became one of just two African American men in history to reach the Wimbledon Championship finals. That same year, he was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team.
It was also the year he created the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation to introduce tennis to at-risk youth. In 1997, the foundation expanded and soon would include after-school homework assistance and life skills programs.
For more than 20 years, Washington has been a Realtor and real estate investor. In 2010, he earned a finance degree with a real estate focus from the University of North Florida. Soon after, he started Diamond Life Real Estate, Inc., a development and investment company based in Jacksonville Beach. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a son in college and a daughter in high school.
The Mineral City Celebration is the signature annual fundraising event for the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach. Proceeds from the event have benefited more than two dozen local nonprofit organizations and charities, including the Beaches Dial-a-Ride program, Mission House, BEAM, HEAL, the Council on Aging and more.