Tennis Canada Mourns the Loss of Bruce Birmingham July 5, 2010
The Tennis Canada organization is deeply saddened by the loss of Bruce Birmingham, benefactor and a true friend to the sport, who passed away July 2, 2010.
"Bruce was an invaluable member of our tennis family. We lost one of the game's greatest supporters," said Michael S. Downey, president and chief executive officer, Tennis Canada. "While his business accomplishments have been well documented, it is his kindred spirit and compassion for others that we will celebrate most. A wonderful husband, father, and grandfather, Bruce has left a legacy of giving. Wheelchair tennis is stronger today in Canada because of his philanthropic belief. We extend our deepest condolences to Betty and the rest of the Birmingham family."
The Birmingham Family has been the largest private supporter of wheelchair tennis in Canada. While still in the banking industry, Bruce and his wife, Betty, funded the Scotiabank Canadian Circuit and after his retirement, he provided further assistance to the sport by helping raise the profile of the Canadian nationals, now known as the Birmingham Wheelchair Tennis Championships. Prize money is awarded to successful athletes, a donation of a new chair is provided each year and increased national awareness to the sport has been achieved - all through the generosity of the Birminghams. The Birmingham Excellence Fund was created to provide further financial assistance to those high performance athletes who have the most potential to medal at an upcoming Paralympic Games.
Before his passing, Bruce wanted to ensure that the sport would continue to flourish. He contacted Tennis Canada to extend the family's financial commitment to the wheelchair tennis program, a further example of Bruce's unwavering dedication and character.
"The Birmingham Family single-handedly brought tennis to the forefront of wheelchair sports in this country," expressed Janet Petras, director of wheelchair tennis, Tennis Canada. "The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships have become a benchmark for other sports. Bruce believed in the inclusiveness of our sport and the positive impact it has for persons with a physical disability. We will greatly miss him."