Award is part of $2.5 million in new grants to athletic fields nationwide
The non-profit Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation organization will receive a $200,000 National Football League Grassroots Program grant, facilitated by the Oakland Raiders. This award brings the amount of youth related grants facilitated by the Silver and Black in less than a decade to over $1 million.
The grant, awarded by the Raiders, the NFL Youth Football Fund, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year. It will be used to install a synthetic turf field and drainage system at Sobrante Park, a multi-purpose field located in East Oakland, designed to serve more than 14,000 young people in the area. Once completed, the new field will offer a range of athletic programming for the community including NFL PLAY 60 activities and tackle and flag football leagues. It will also serve asa physical education site for Sobrante Elementary School and James Madison Middle School. Matching funds will be provided by the City of Oakland and Oakland Unified School District.
“It is always our pleasure to work with the NFL Grassroots Program and LISC and we are delighted to participate in this exciting project, which will enhance the community and provide an improved venue for the enjoyment of outdoor activities,” said Chief Executive Amy Trask. “It has been our pleasure to facilitate the award of grants of this nature throughout the region for the last decade.”
“This is a win for Oakland’s youth. We are very grateful to the Raiders for their generous support of our recreational facilities,” said Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner.
“The kindness of the Oakland Raiders Football Organization to recognize an area that sorely needs their support will, in no small amount, have a tremendous impact on the lives of these kids,” said President Pro Tem of the Oakland City Council Larry Reid. “With much of our emphasis on creating opportunities for our kids through athletics and education, I commend the Oakland Raiders Organization for not only supporting the kids in Sobrante Park, but for showing, by example, what it means to brighten their lives and to nurture a real sense of caring.”
The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 225 football fields nationwide in the past 12 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $28 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. 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.
“Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation is very proud to have been selected by the NFL and the Oakland Raiders to restore the football field at Sobrante Park,” said Executive Director Paula Ramsey. “We have a 29 year history of building and renovating playgrounds and ball fields throughout Oakland and are pleased to partner with the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Unified School District on this much needed project.”
LISC identifies local, nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies which have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and parks in underserved neighborhoods. 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 neighborhoods. The local agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
“Our focus at LISC is on building sustainable communities – good places to live, work, do business and raise families,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC president and CEO. “Developing recreational opportunities is a key part of that, and the NFL has been a committed partner in making it happen.”
“We are delighted that this new field will provide a safe place to play to thousands of children, youth and families in East Oakland,” said Stephanie Forbes, Executive Director of Bay Area LISC. “This is our third field in Oakland and we are thrilled to help provide more recreational opportunities to promote active and healthy lifestyles in this community.”
About the NFL Youth Football Fund
Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF’s youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $9.7 billion to build or rehab more than 271,000 affordable homes and develop 40 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged nearly $31.3 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit http://www.lisc.org/.