On April 24, 1992 just two weeks after he announced that he had the aids virus, the late humanitarian and tennis great Arthur Ashe made his annual trip to Philadelphia to participate in a fundraiser at the center named after him in the Manayunk section of the city. During the evening Arthur participated in discussions focused on the need to form a joint partnership in an effort to drastically improve tennis opportunities for minority younsters in the city. He asked all present, "What is the Black tennis community is Philadelphia doing to support promising minority junior players like TraciGreen?"
The response to the burning question was not very encouraging. It was stated, efforts were very fragmented at best. Shortly after this historic conversation, Arthur contacted Clarence Farmer, a noted civic leader and suggested a comprehensive effort to make things happen.
Inspired by Arthur's suggestion, Clarence organized meetings with community leaders and discussed the need to help promising Black tennis players. After several sessions, it was decided to form an organization patterned after Arthur's Safe Passages Program successfully run by Bob Davis, a good friend and tennis partner who grew up with him, that was designed to suport Black Tennis players. As a result of these conversations and actions, THE BLACK TENNIS FOUNDATION OF PHILADELPHIA, INC. was formed.
The organizations first fundraiser and tennis exhibition was held at the home of Bernard and Mila Chavis. The following Black junior players attended and showcased their talents: Traci Green, Aaron Moore, Mark and Mike Hill, Kristin Harris, Kevin Robinson, Lance Lee, Louis Bolling and Hank Hamilton.