Peter Farnsworth is the founder of TopSpin, and he runs Foxrock Partners, a brand and business development consultancy. He started TopSpin while working at the NBA as head of global business development.
TopSpin Charity announced it will celebrate five years of supporting youth education in New York City with a charity table tennis tournament on Nov. 6, at Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.
I was able to ask Peter a few questions about this great charity and how it gives back to the community.
Art Eddy: Can you tell me about the TopSpin Charity Table Tennis Tournament?
Peter Farnsworth: Sure. For the last 5 years, TopSpin has brought together the sports, entertainment and media industries to raise funds for the mission of providing a quality education for every child. Our 2013 event will take place on November 6th at Metropolitan Pavilion and promises to be our largest event ever. The Table Tennis Tournament is our unique hook.
It provides guests with the opportunity to engage in some friendly competition, meet like-minded people and party while making an impact on the future. Whether you pick up a paddle or not it is an awesome night. So much fun, in fact, that we took TopSpin beyond NYC to San Francisco, Chicago and Las Vegas, funding education-based non-profits in those cities.
AE: What was the inspiration to create TopSpin Charity?
PF: Perhaps like many great ideas there was absolutely no plan or road map for any of this. It just came out of a debate among some friends when I was at the NBA about who was the best player. We each had no doubt we could beat the other, so I said, let’s get some friends together, raise some money for charity and figure it out. Here we are five years, seven events and over $1MM later.
AE: I see that there is a celebrity tournament being played as well. Who can we expect to see playing at this event?
PF: Not surprisingly, the guys are super competitive. We’ll be adding more names over the coming weeks, but John Starks, John Wallace and Allan Houston were arguing the other night about who’s got the best game! Roger Mason and Chris Paul were in the Finals in Las Vegas this summer and both are legit players.
AE: Out of the celebs that you have mentioned who has the best shot at winning that event?
PF: Allan Houston of the Knicks is the defending champion. So until someone dethrones him, I’d have to say he’s the early favorite.
AE: How can people help out your charity year round?
PF: A couple of things. First, come to the event. Second, participate with our charity partners. They provide so many opportunities to interact and impact the kids TopSpin aims to serve. And when you do, send us your story. Third, help us spread the word. Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter (@topspincharity), and send us relevant content like articles and current events. That will help us reach a wider audience and encourage them to rally around our mission. Social media proves that a little effort can go a long way.
AE: TopSpin looks to donate all proceeds secured this year to a number of charities. Which charities do you help?
PF: We’ve helped fourteen amazing educational nonprofits since inception in 2009. And we’re adding five more this year ranging from alternative school options like the “College Prep Academy” Charter School in the South Bronx and a local “A Better Chance” chapter, to Summer enrichment programs like Horizons and Wishbone.org, along with adopting a “Change For Kids” school in Brooklyn. Our focus is on finding nonprofits with great leaders that are making a significant impact on a very local or individual basis.
AE: Is there a moment in past events that stands out to you the most?
PF: Chris Paul practicing on the day of TopSpin and then winning in the Finals of his own hosted event in Las Vegas was a fun moment in our recent history. Also, the four week blitz from conceptualization to sell out in our first year was quite memorable
To learn more about TopSpin and its work to date, please visit topspincharity.com, and follow them on social media via their Facebook page and Twitter account.