Hon. Paul Robert Ignatius
Ignatius is a Past President and an active Board Member (now Director Emeritus) and has been involved with the WTEF since 1969. He was invited to join the Board shortly after he was visited by WTEF and tournament personnel when he was the President of the Washington Post and the Executive Vice President of the Washington Post Company.
He is credited with modernizing the WTEF to keep in step with the current times, such as renaming the organization. The WTEF used to be known as the Washington Area Tennis Patrons Foundation, a moniker that did not inspire confidence and seemed a bit patronizing, according to Ignatius. Hence, the more purposeful Washington Tennis Foundation was born ("Education" was later added to the organization title).
Ignatius’ most important contribution to the WTEF was how he innovated the organization’s fundraising. Seeing that dollars were not coming in to support the WTEF’s goals, he invigorated the organization’s development structure by forming a committee and conducting brainstorming sessions on how to improve the WTEF. Additionally, he reorganized the Board and appointed members who shared the Board’s central mission of tennis and education.
He also updated the Foundation’s antiquated accounting system. The Board approved all of his proposed recommendations and named him President in1991– his second tour of duty as he was also in that position from 1980 through 1981 – so he could oversee the changes.
Ignatius was a man of many hats at the WTEF, helping transform the organization into what it is today. His determined, yet friendly, personality was conducive to his responsibilities. He came up with an obvious, but yet not often-used, tenet in the fundraising game: "You’ve got to thank people for what they do in a genuine way, and in a way that is meaningful to them."
Due to his immense vision for the WTEF’s future and specific mission, we are happy to include Paul Ignatius in the inaugural WTEF Hall of Fame class.
Ignatius served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and was the United States Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969. He also served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Lyndon Johnson administration from 1963-1967, and was first appointed by President Kennedy as an Assistant Secretary of the Army.