Community organizations, schools and parks in 30 cities across the country will receive grants totaling $6 million as part of a partnership of the NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to build or refurbish neighborhood football fields.
The awards – the most in a single year since the NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Field Grant Program began in 1998 – bring the program's total commitment to $58 million, resulting in the creation or refurbishment of 416 fields nationwide.
This funding cycle will include new fields, or field enhancements, in the following cities: Aliquippa, Penn.; Baltimore, Md.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Clayton, N.C.; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Mich.; Dothan, Ala.; Federal Heights, Colo.; Fort Myers, Fla.; Inglewood, Calif.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City, Kan.; Memphis, Tenn.; Milford, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Natchez, Miss.; New Orleans, La.; New York, N.Y.; Olmsted Township, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Roslindale, Mass.; San Diego, Calif.; Spring, Texas; Stone Mountain, Ga.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; and Wellpinit, Wash.
The fields are newly built or significantly renovated, with improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. Grassroots grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.
"Over the last two years, we've seen that it's more important than ever to make sure our youth and their families have access to safe and reliable spaces to play and stay active," said Alexia Gallagher, vice president of Philanthropy and executive director for the NFL Foundation. "Working with LISC on the Grassroots Field Grant program has positively impacted the lives of millions across the country, and we look forward to continuing such impact in even more communities."
LISC identifies local, nonprofit and community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and neighborhood parks. Through the program, the local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their communities. The agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
"Outdoor recreation, and the health benefits that come with it, is in high demand throughout the country," said Beverly Smith, LISC's vice president of Sports & Recreation. "These new fields, like all of those the NFL Grassroots Program has established over the years, will provide opportunities for young people to compete in safe, healthy, structured environments."