By Jake Brown

Education is so essential for children. Unfortunately, some communities just don’t get the same great education as others. There are some areas in New York City that just are not as privileged as others. Students from low-income communities are often not being provided with the necessary resources to succeed.

TopSpin Charity is making sure to change that for many young students. Last Thursday’s Ping Pong Tournament at the Metropolitan Pavillion marked their 14th event since it launched in 2009. Entering Thursday they had raised around $2.5 million, which would rise to around $2.9 million by the end of the night. Nearly $3 million to fund their 19 educational non profits, a number that continues to grow every year.

“This past year we did the TopSpin Hoops Academy and we’re going to grow that, add a week for girls, and then also do a program with Harlem lacrosse, where we bring 150-200 kids out and create a camp for them in Maine in the summer, kids who never would have a chance to go to camp,” TopSpin Charity founder Peter Farnsworth told me Thursday night. “So the growth is the programming side and getting broader and making more of an impact.”

It’s been pivotal for TopSpin to have several current and former athletes be a part of the special events they put together and the various non profits they have started. The stars were out Thursday: former Knicks greats John Starks, Larry Johnson and John Wallace; WNBA players Sue Bird and Stefanie Dolson, Team USA soccer’s Megan Rapinoe, Jets players, and many more.

Safe to say, giving back to the community means a lot to these guys.

“Super important,” said former Knick Larry Johnson. “Myself, this is what we do now. We’ve done what we’re going to do in the sports world. We played the game. Now it’s about giving back, taking care of the children. Education is key.”

“It’s a beautiful thing to be involved in NYC,” said former Knick John Wallace. “To be part of the philanthropic world is even better. I wish this was something I was doing more of when I was playing.”

TopSpin will enter 2017 continuing to grow year after year. Expect maybe its best year yet in 2017 as they expand across the nation.

“There’s people every year that talk about wanting to do an event in their hometown. San Francisco, Washington, those are two cities we’re looking at,” said Farnsworth. “That’s a very natural way to grow. The other way to grow for us…is we put together a ping pong tournament. TopSpin as a platform, people can do other things that interest them. You can run the New York marathon and help fund the nonprofits that TopSpin is involved with, you can do a dinner, do your own party. TopSpin, the hook for us, was ping pong. It doesn’t have to be ping pong. Expanding in terms of how people want to take advantage of the platform is also something we’re excited about for sure.”

Jake Brown is the Digital Program Manager at CBS Sports Radio and a columnist for CBS Sports Radio, CBS Local Sports, and CBS Local. You can catch him daily on The Jake Brown Show on CBS Radio’s, iTunes, and Spotify. It’s a weekly sports show mixed in with a bit of entertainment and multiple interviews as well every week. Jake lives in Queens and being a Mets fan is finally paying off. 


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