‘His spirit will live on:’ Colleagues continue mission of nonprofit for underserved kids after founder dies

A Norwalk man who impacted many underserved kids in the community has died, but those who were close to him say his mission will go on.
In 1995, attorney Arthur Goldblatt started Norwalk Grassroots Tennis & Education, a nonprofit aimed at helping kids in need and those whose families couldn't afford the sport.
“His love was tennis, and he knew that the vehicle of tennis would hopefully make a change in the lives of the kids he would interact with, and it is true,” says David Kimani, the senior director of tennis for Norwalk/Stamford Grassroots Tennis & Education.
The free program started off as a summer camp and soon grew to a year-round program that offered more than just tennis instruction.
“On top of it all is to build character, to help them with their education, to help them with their life skills,” Kimani says.

Coworkers say Goldblatt touched the lives of thousands of underserved youth over the years and helped them get through high school and college.
“He does not seek out recognition or acknowledgement. The only thing he wants is for the young people to have access to resources and opportunities so they can be their best selves and they can live their best lives,” says Betsy McNeil, the executive director of Norwalk/Stamford Grassroots & Tennis Education.

Goldblatt also inspired the people he worked with.
“I know that his spirit will live on here and not just live on, it's the fuel that drives us forward and I think it always will be,” McNeil says.
Kimani adds, “I've lost a friend, I've lost a mentor. But you know, he has instilled a lot in us, and we'll continue and keep his vision and his legacy going.”
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling released a statement that said, “Art did so much for our community and impacted countless lives. Grassroots Tennis helped so many young people in Norwalk succeed and achieve their goals. I am deeply saddened by his passing and send my thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones. It was a privilege to call him a friend.”
Goldblatt was 87 years old when he died.