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|Keith Mardak with his wife Mary Vanderberg.|
$1 Million for Scholarships and Challenges to Communities
Tucson, AZ, May 1, 2017: When Keith Mardak of Milwaukee decided he wanted to help college kids and handball, he decided to do it in a big way. The $1,000,000 gift is the largest in the USHA’s history and is designed to be in place for posterity. There are two pieces to the Endowment, one will fund college students to teach handball and the other piece will fund scholarships for those students who teach. Keith’s generosity to the communities where handball is taught will need to be matched from within the community.
The Mardak Scholarships and Mardak Community Challenges will start in the Spring of 2018 with at least 10 scholarships and five community grants awarded. “It’s going to be great to be a collegiate handball player,” said USHA Executive Director Vern Roberts.
“It’s been exciting to reach out into the communities to find the matching funds. Everyone likes the idea and is stepping up to grow the game with more coaching and mentoring by young people for younger people. We’ve seen similar startups with Homework and Handball in Tempe and Lift Up Kids in Austin, and there are other successful programs. We’ll be off and running in the Spring of 2018 with these and a few more communities we’re working on,” Roberts added. “Handball needs more teachers, more players and this is a great place to start.”
Mardak, who has been one of the USHA’s most generous donors, is looking forward to getting the program(s) off the ground and “seeing the positive results,” Mardak said.
Keith and his wife Mary Vanderberg have supported numerous organizations in a big way, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Milwaukee, the VanderCook College of Music, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Phoenix Society, along with numerous other high school and college scholarships. A part owner of the Wisconsin Athletic Clubs, including Milwaukee’s No. 1 handball club, Mardak has played handball since the late 1960s. Though he hasn’t been able to play for awhile due to injury, but like every handball player, hopes to make a comeback after his new shoulder heals, he noted: “Greg (Misiewicz) and I had a good run.” Keith had a lot of fun playing handball and now he’s looking to share that with other youngsters for a lifetime.
To maintain the endowment, 4% of the fund’s value on Dec. 31 will be spent on the two programs in the following year. The spending will be split between the Mardak Scholarships and the Mardak Community Challenge. With the local communities involved the Challenge, we’re hoping for a huge impact in the growth of handball in those areas.
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