Friends, family and neighbors celebrated the late Dr. Robert Brill with some friendly rounds of tennis earlier this month at Moorestown’s Maple-Dawson Park.
The Dr. Robert Brill Memorial Tennis Fund event was open to everyone, and tennis professional Omar Gonzalez made a guest appearance.
The nonprofit tennis fund started after Brill died last October to support youth in their pursuit of tennis with resources such as equipment and lessons they may not normally have access to.
“Because he (Brill) loved tennis so much, we decided to start a fund in his honor,” said its President Kendra Brill. “Our goal, I think we realized, was to continue his love of tennis in his honor by engaging the people and the businesses that he engaged with.”
Brill was a member of the Moorestown Tennis Club, where he became close with Gonzalez and Ike Johnson, tennis instructor and director of the club’s junior team for the United States Tennis Association (USTA). Brill’s daughter explained how the family’s nonprofit and the township club work together to provide adequate resources to young tennis players and honor her late father.
“We decided that we would start something that engaged the organizations and the community that he loved being with and raise money to support kids who don’t have the means,” she explained.
“Our idea was, we want to support the businesses and the organizations that he interacted with and loved … and have them help us find kids and supply them with lessons and camps and equipment and help them pursue the game of tennis,” Brill added.
She connected with the township’s parks and recreation department in February to bring a non-formal event to the community.
“(We) would do a kickoff event that invited friends, family, neighbors and community of all levels (to) just come out and play for a Sunday …” she said, “and just engage in funny (and) fun round robins, and a day to kind of play tennis in his honor (Dr. Brill) and have a good time.”
Brill praised the parks and rec department for its help in pulling off the fund’s first public event, where there was something for people who didn’t participate in a match.
“They were great; they provided the best of both,” she said of the department. “They provided all the structural support we needed and they were kind and warm and excited. It couldn’t have been better with them.”
“Maple-Dawson Park is where we would play with my dad sometimes as a family,” Brill recalled, “and it’s also where he walked his dog every day.”
She would like to see the tennis event happen every year.
“It was a really nice way for people to informally gather in his honor without it being sad,” she remarked. “It was actually a really uplifting day to keep his memory living on.”
“It was perfect.”
For more information on how to donate to the Dr. Robert Brill Memorial Tennis Fund, email email@example.com.