In 2008, Dallas Stamper had his reservations when Ken Lees approached him about hosting a Table Tennis tournament to benefit Stamper’s nonprofit organization, People In Need Ministry, for the homeless. “I thought, ‘This guy is crazy,’ ” Stamper said. “How can a Ping Pong tournament help the homeless?”
And the first annual PingPongforPOVERTY tournament was born. 75 people played on 12 scratch and dent tables in a church gymnasium and $5,000 was raised for PiN Ministry.
By the 3rd year, the event grew into a two-day event and raising over $45,ooo each year.
Then, by expanding and broadening the appeal, a name change to PingPongforCHARITY(TM) helped the events to draw nearly 200 players (from 7 to 87) on 30 brand new KETTLER tables, raised $70,000+ for for Charity Partners to include People In Need, Alzheimer’s, Vanguard Landing and Parkinson’s.
Organizers of this year’s event hope to see even more growth in all areas!
“None of the success would be possible without our family of corporate sponsors, friends and neighbors – and of course our host, the Va. Beach Field House which has served as perfect venue to accommodate the Celebrity SLAMFest Kick Off, Auction and Recreational Ping Pong tournament,” Lees said. “Also, KETTLER donated the equipment, tables, paddles and balls, which is huge.”
Lees’ idea came at an ideal time for Stamper, who was dealing with People In Need’s $10,000 shortfall for 2008. “Without the tournament, I’ve having to decided which services I’m going to have to take away from homeless people,” said Stamper, who left his career at General Electric in 2006 to pursue People In Need full time. “There are people who complain and cry about homelessness, but it’s people like Ken that do something about it that are really making a difference.”
Ping Pong has been a part of Lees’ life since early childhood, when he would tag along with his father as he competed in tournaments along the East Coast.
While Lees never caught the competitive bug, he remained a recreational player. But casual games between family and friends weren’t fulfilling enough, said Lees, who decided to use his favorite game to aid a charity — and now multiple charities, schools and senior communities.
“I just wanted this to be something truly unique,” said Lees, a Lagomar resident, in Virginia Beach, VA.
“I knew this could really become something special, but I had no idea what to expect.”
And now, endorsed by, and in partnership with the USA Table Tennis Association, we are integrating Table Tennis Sports and Education Programs in local Schools and Senior Communities! And together, we’re excited to invite Non-Profit Organizations looking for a unique fundraiser by bringing the Annual PingPongforCHARITY™ Celebrity SLAMFest Events & Recreation Tournaments to their city!
And we’re promoting Brain Fitness for all ages, Youth to Seniors and those facing Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Depression, Homelessness and Mild to Moderate intellectual challenges…
Ken and his Dad, Larry Lees, celebrating another tournament victory at an annual PingPongforCHARITY
Cross Train Your Brain. Play Ping Pong, For CHARITY!
Check out this video overview