Do you want to bring Buddy Up Tennis or Buddy Up Fitness to your community? 



We need your help to grow Buddy Up Tennis across the country.
If you are looking to make a difference in the Down syndrome community, Buddy Up for Life is growing quickly! Please contact info@buforlife.org to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Chapters are funded, supported, and operated as part of Buddy Up for Life, Inc., a non-profit Section 501(c) (3) charitable organization. We hope you will join our team and nationwide Buddy Up for Life Family!

How to Start a New Chapter:

1.  Learn & Observe

Visit a Buddy Up Tennis or Buddy Up Fitness clinic at our premier location where everything started – in Columbus, Ohio! Learn and observe how much development occurs. You will also get to meet with the Columbus Coordinators and the families of our Athletes and Buddies.

2.  Identify One or Two Chapter Leaders

Find one or two Chapter Coordinators willing to devote about 10 hours each month to organize the chapter. After being provided with formal training, they will divide the responsibilities of promoting your program and recruiting participants, and communicating and corresponding with Athletes and Buddies. Chapter Coordinators also serve as the liaison to our National Staff for communicating the progress of the chapter and requesting any necessary support.

3.  Identify A Club

Choose a potential or fitness or tennis club within your community that will host the classes or clinics. In partnership with Buddy Up for Life, secure court/facility time and negotiate rates for clinics/classes. We have found most tennis clubs are more than willing to host our Buddy Up Tennis program, as among other things, we have the support of the USTA as one of the premiere adaptive tennis programs in the country.

4.  Develop Community Partnership

A strong local Down syndrome organization is a key contributor to the success of any chapter. With your provided marketing materials, partner with your local Down syndrome organization to recruit Athletes for clinics/classes. Utilize social media, newspapers, and flyers to recruit support from the community and, most importantly, to obtain Athletes, Buddies and donors.

5. Plan your first clinic/class

Select a kick-off date, hold your first of many clinics/classes, and let the fun begin!  The Buddy Up Tennis or Buddy Up Fitness team will travel to and attend your first clinic/class to train your Buddies and Coaches/Trainers, and to make your first clinic/class a success.  Schedule clinics/classes on a regular basis throughout the year with breaks over the holidays and peak vacation times. Buddy Up for Life will be there to support you every step of the way!


Complete our New Chapter Interest form.

What to Consider Before Starting a Location:


All Buddy Up for Life Chapters are supported and operated as part of Buddy Up for Life, Inc., a nonprofit Section 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Buddy Up for Life provides its Chapter Coordinators, Coaches, and Trainers with ongoing support in a variety of ways: 


  • An ongoing partnership from launching your chapter to building and maintaining successful clinics/classes
  • Program curricula designed specifically for individuals with Down syndrome that have a proven track record for success
  • Marketing materials such as brochures, flyers, and more 
  • Fitness or Tennis equipment and supplies including team shirts, racquets, tennis balls and fitness equipment
  • Guidance in how to secure third-party tax deductible charitable contributions

Startup Expenses

Startup expenses typically range from $2,500 – $5,000, depending on area, programs, and other logistics. While Buddy Up for Life provides support to new Chapters to offset these costs, Chapter Coordinators need to begin to fundraise and solicit tax-deductible charitable contributions from local donors and organizations. 

Typical startup expenses include:

  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Tennis racquets and balls (Buddy Up Tennis)
  • Fitness equipment (Buddy Up Tennis & Buddy Up Fitness)
  • Team uniform shirts
  • Program curriculum and training
  • Travel expenses for training team to attend training and kickoff clinic/class

Ongoing Expenses

Ongoing operation costs include the following:

  • Tennis or fitness club fees for court and/or gym rental
  • Professional tennis and/or fitness instructor fees
  • Additional tennis and fitness equipment purchases
  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Liability insurance
  • Administrative expenses needed to support and grow program


In order to generate revenue to cover operational expenses and sustain growth, most locations charge about $20 / clinic or class with a reduced rate for multiple clinics/classes. Scholarships can be made available for Athletes that can’t afford clinics; these scholarships are often funded through your local Down syndrome association, fundraisers, grants or corporate partnerships secured by the Chapter Coordinators.

To create additional revenue, Chapter Coordinators lead the chapter in participation of national fundraising events and may also conduct local fundraising events.