In 2020, when many charitable organizations struggled to raise money in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Faber had an edge in the sports legend. Once, he made a phone call to a wealthy benefactor, whom Faber hoped would contribute $250,000. With Evert on the line, the man was so happy he brought his wife into the conversation, and by the time he was done, their check was for $1 million.
Faber said it wasn’t because she entertained them with stories of playing Navratilova and Stevie Graf, but because of her passion for the cause, and predictions suggest that 2022 might be the organization’s best year ever for fundraising. Evert downplays her contributions with the same natural humility she showed as a player who rose to stardom from the public tennis courts.
“How difficult is it to get zoomed in/out?” She said. “Look, I had the time. My kids are grown up. Sure, it makes me feel good about giving back, but it makes me really good to interact with kids who don’t have the resources and don’t have the opportunities. When I travel and see these programs in action, I see how important they are.”
Everett knows this firsthand. When she and her four siblings grew up, their father, Jamie Everett—a public tennis coach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for 49 years—insisted that his children play tennis after school. Long after turning Chris Evert into a successful career, she asked her dad why he made them all play. He told her, “Kids, to get you off the streets.”
“What, did he think I’d join a gang or something?” Evert said with a chuckle. “But as I get older, it gets smarter in my eyes. Idle time is not good for kids, especially in this day and age. You have to keep them occupied in a positive way.”
Chris said that Jamie Everett and his wife, Colette, a eucharistic minister, imbued their children with a sense of charity besides tennis. Jamie offered free tennis clinics to local residents, and Collette worked with the Salvation Army, encouraging children to get dressed once a month for a donation.