Shriver makes a difference, and it's recognized Charitable work earns coveted industry award

March 05, 1996|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

Pam Shriver has been on the women's pro tennis tour for 17 years, and for 10 of those she has masterminded a charitable tennis event here that has raised more than $1.6 million.

Given that, it is not a surprise to find Shriver the recipient of this year's "Player Who Makes A Difference" Award" that goes to the Corel WTA Tour player who makes exceptional contributions of time and energy to worthy causes.

Shriver is the fifth winner of the award, joining Zina Garrison-Jackson, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger and Chris Evert. TC "Pam's commitment to helping those less fortunate is certainly well documented," said Susan Ungaro, editor in chief of Family Circle magazine, which, with Hormel Foods, sponsors the award.

"I think it's real easy for famous people or athletes to give financial contributions to worthy causes, but it takes a real hero, someone special, to give their time, heart and sweat equity to worthy causes, and I think Pam really needs to be saluted for putting time and effort behind the causes she supports. That's what counts in the long run."

L Around Baltimore, the only question is why it took so long.

Shriver laughed a little at that. She figures her friends and fans in her hometown know a whole lot more about what she does to help others than the members of the U.S. Tennis Writers Association. who choose the winner from among five finalists.

The other finalists were Gigi Fernandez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Chanda Rubin and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

Besides serving as host of the Signet Bank Tennis Challenge, Shriver is the national sports spokeswoman for the Maryland chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is the honorary chairman of the Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons Association.

She also serves on the board of directors of Campaign For Our Children, a Maryland project that has received national recognition for its success in lowering the state's high teen pregnancy rate by teaching abstinence, and has her own "little" account in the Baltimore Community Foundation, from which she has designated a variety of charities and groups.

"I think the fact that I've had to wait says a lot about women's tennis," Shriver said. "I think women's tennis really encourages community service."

. . . The players who have won it, deserved it, and I think things are great when you have to wait for them. . . . When you get it, it's very special. . . . I wish my parents were on the line, because I think a lot of what you learn about community service and about giving back comes from your parents. I know my folks will be very pleased."

Shriver will be presented a Steuben crystal award and a $20,000 grant for the charities of her choice in a ceremony at the Family Circle Magazine Cup, which begins March 30 at Sea Pines in Hilton Head, S.C.

Shriver said the money will be divided equally between The Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons, whose mission is to use tennis to raise self-esteem and teach teamwork and physical fitness, and the Baltimore Community Foundation.

As for her tennis career, Shriver and Garrison-Jackson will be the only two players taking part in both the regular tour and the Virginia Slims Legends Tour. Shriver said the two of them were invited to play on the Legends tour because, with Tracy Austin and Chris Evert both pregnant, "They needed some young blood.

"Boy, doesn't that sound good. Zina and myself, we're the

rookies on the tour this year!"

She said she also hopes to get a wild-card entry into Wimbledon.

"It's like an eight- to 10-tournament year for me," she said. "It's just another year in the phaseout."

But it's made a little nicer with her off-court efforts being recognized.

Pub Date: 3/05/96

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