Richard Spurling is a tennis professional with an interesting career and an unusual calling. Born in Sweden he grew up in England and Belgium. He attended Florida Atlantic University where he played Division I tennis and graduated with a BS in International Business. After four successful years as Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter he went back into tennis and became Head Pro at the Oyster Harbor Club in Osterville, MA, from 2001-2005. While serving as Director of Tennis for the Woodland Golf Club in Aubondale, MA, and Head Tennis Pro for the Dedham Country & Polo Club in Dedham, MA, he also went to Babson College where he obtained his MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
In 2008 Richard and his wife Shafali Jeste, a child neurologist focused on developmental disorders, merged their interests and talents to create ACEing Autism, a 501 (c) 3 charity focused on providing tennis lessons for children with Autism in order to improve hand-eye coordination, motor development, and social skills.
Shafali grew up in La Jolla, California where she enjoyed playing tennis for her high school team. She earned a BA in philosophy at Yale and then earned her MD from Harvard Medical School. Her interest in child behavior led her to pursue a career in behavioral child neurology, with a focus on developmental disorders such as autism. Her research, funded by NIH, is focused on understanding the brain basis for autism and on identifying early markers of autism in infants.
Following their 2010 move to West Los Angeles Richard was able to get the program in full swing while working part time for clubs like the Braemar Country Club. Now that he and Shafaly are working full time at ACEing Autism, they were able to add a lot more programs and events to their annual schedule. While still looking for corporate sponsors, the organization now offers 30 programs nationwide, like the clinic at Burbank Tennis Center every Saturday morning from 9-10 am.
In 2013 the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) named Richard Spurling “PTR Humanitarian of the Year.” As the recipient of the PTR Humanitarian Award, Spurling received a $2,500 check from PTR Foundation Chairman, Scott Tharp, to continue his work with ACEing Autism. PTR Foundation is the charitable arm of Professional Tennis Registry.
In February of 2014 USTA Serves, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced it had awarded ACEing Autism in West Hollywood, Calif., a $15,000 grant. The grant money will be used to add 12 new program locations, with more growth planned, according to Spurling. The growth strategy aims at launching programs in tennis clubs, public schools, colleges and autism schools. This is the second USTA Serves grant for ACEing Autism, which previously received a $12,000 award.
Richard’s organizational focus next year is on
– Vision setting
– Implementing a growth strategy
– Aligning Corporate Partnerships
– ACEing Autism Program Design and Development
You can reach Richard Spurling at firstname.lastname@example.org