SEATTLE — Serena Williams is best known for her unparalleled skill in tennis, but what she devotes her time to off of the courts is even more impressive. Williams founded the Serena Williams Fund in hopes of “helping individuals or communities affected by senseless violence, and ensuring equal access to education.” Based on her accomplishments in recent years, it is impossible to say that she has failed in either of those regards.
For years, Williams has teamed up with UNICEF to provide aid to African countries. On her first trip to Africa in 2006, Williams travelled to Ghana and joined a team of volunteers who provided immunization for children. Since becoming the Goodwill Ambassador in 2011, Williams has been able to attract attention to a cause very important to her: global education. Williams is involved in the 1 in 11 campaign, which was launched in 2015 to raise funds and awareness for education programs.
Williams also partnered with Beyond the Boroughs National Scholarship Fund in 2014 to provide scholarships to students whose dream of college is just out of reach, even after loans and other grants. Also in 2014, the Serena Williams Fund endorsed The Caliber Foundation which is dedicated to “mending hearts and building futures” by aiding communities, families and victims affected by gun violence.
Recently, Williams and her foundation partnered with Helping Hands Jamaica to build the Salt Marsh Primary School in Jamaica. This wasn’t the first time Williams has helped build a school first-hand; in 2010 the SW Fund worked with Hewlett Packard and Build Africa Schools to build secondary schools in rural Kenya. This year, Williams switched her focus to Jamaica where she helped build a school and even posted a video on her Facebook.
Williams grew up in of poverty and endured losing a sister to gun violence in 2003, but she overcame many hardships. Now, Williams is the proud victor of 21 grand slams and ESPN praises, “The only thing more impressive than her incredible achievements on the court, might be her generosity off it.”
– Sabrina Yates