Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation of Kansas, Inc.
In 1953 Maureen Connolly became the first woman to win the Grand Slam of Tennis. Shortly afterwards, in the midst of making history, a horseback riding accident ended her career.
A year later, Maureen married Norman Brinker and moved from her California home to a new life in Dallas, Texas. With her dynamic personality and love of tennis, Maureen was eager to promote the game of tennis to others, especially the disadvantaged. She and friend Mrs. Frank (Nancy) Jeffett co-founded the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCBTF) in 1968. The foundation provided funds for tennis clinics and aided juniors who could not afford to compete nationally.
Unfortunately, Maureen did not live to see the foundation thrive. On May 21, 1969 Maureen lost her battle with cancer. Nancy Jeffett said that Mo had wanted to help juniors stay on the tennis courts and out of the juvenile courts.
Mrs. Jeffett organized a mixed doubles tournament in Dallas to raise money to help fund junior tennis programs. This was the concept that Martie Connelly Walker brought to Wichita. In the fall of 1974 in Wichita, Kansas, Martie Connelly-Walker gathered friends to start a local branch of the MCBTF. The fundraiser for the foundation (commonly known as MCB) was an annual all day, mixed doubles tournament.
Originally, the annual fundraising tournament was by invitation only. If a couple could not attend for any given year, the entrance fee still had to be paid to remain on the following year’s invitation list. The fundraiser turned into a weekend full of activities and the trophies became coveted items in the tennis community.
With the success of the fundraiser, the foundation Board began several new projects. Anetta Webster was a proponent for P.A.C.K. (Planeview Activity Camp for Kids). MCB was extremely proud to be associated with this award-winning program started by local firemen for the youth in the Planeview neighborhood. The Foundation has proudly supported The Wheelchair Tennis, Inc. program; Nick Taylor in his bid for a Special Olympics gold medal; Goose Doughty’s summer program for youth; Kansas Special Olympics and tennis programs held in conjunction with the area schools.
In 2007 MCB honored Mervyn and Anetta Webster for their years of service to MCB and the Wichita tennis community. MCB surprised the Websters with the naming of tennis courts at Wichita State University the “Mervyn and Anetta Webster Tennis Courts”.
In 2014, MCB honored Martie Walker for founding the local Wichita chapter of MCBTF in 1974 with an honorary bench that sits at The Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Courts. The ceremony was held at the inauguration of a new MCB community event: “The MCB Riverfest Tennis Fun Day” which is a free day of tennis with a free racquet give-a-way to the first 100 youth attendees.
The Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation of Kansas, Inc. continues to serve the greater Wichita community by bringing projects to enhance the quality of life for all citizens through tennis programs and tennis projects. Yes, “Little Mo” we are helping juniors to stay on the tennis courts and out of the juvenile courts— and so much more!