Hall of Famer Willie Brown and Raiderettes Voz and Rachel pose for a photo with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Recently, Hall of Famer Willie Brown accepted an award on behalf of The Oakland Raiders from The Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation. The award was presented during The Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation annual fundraiser, Taste of Spring, at the Rotunda Building at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, Calif.
Last year, the Raiders, the NFL, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) granted $200,000 to the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation for a park refurbishment. Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation, started in 1981 by Anne Woodall to support, enhance and restore city parks, chose to use the money for sports facility in East Oakland. "We're extremely happy that The Oakland Raiders, through LISC, has awarded our nonprofit a $200,000 grant to build an all-weather sports field in East Oakland at James Madison Middle School," said John Bliss, Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation past president. "We're also really pleased to report to the Raiders that the $200,000 that the Raiders have generously given has been matched and exceeded by $900,000 from the Oakland Unified School District, so we're going to have a $1.1 million facility."
Bliss emphasized that Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation's ability to build such an extensive new East Oakland facility was due to the Raiders grant. "Without that $200,000 we would not have been able to approach the Oakland Unified School Disctrict," explained Bliss. "We, as an organization, cannot thank The Oakland Raiders enough for their generosity."
John Bliss introduces Hall of Famer Willie Brown and Raiderettes Voz and Rachel and presents the Raiders with the award. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
During the Taste of Spring event, Bliss introduced Brown and Raiderettes Voz and Rachel to the 400 attendees, who included Mayor of Oakland Jean Quan, Oakland city council members and heads of city departments. "I get to give one of the best, most fun awards of the night," announced Bliss to the crowd. "We are very privileged to have two outstanding Raiderettes, Voz and Rachel. We also have one of the greatest Raiders of all time, one of the greatest athletes ever in Oakland – Mr. Willie Brown. Tonight I have the privilege of giving an award to The Oakland Raiders, our Oakland Raiders."
Bliss explained how the Raiders Commitment to Community has an important impact on the city of Oakland. "We're honoring the Raiders tonight for their Commitment to Community and particularly youth here in Oakland," said Bliss. "This generous contribution from the Raiders makes sure this facility will enrich the lives of underserved youth in East Oakland."
Brown accepted the award on the Raiders' behalf and emphasized the importance of community to the Silver and Black. "On behalf of the Oakland Raiders, I'm proud to receive this award because the Raiders, not only the players, but the whole staff, go out in the community and support Oakland," said Brown. "It's very important that we give back and support Parks and Recreation so that the kids can have somewhere to play and enjoy themselves. Anything we can do as the Oakland Raiders, we would surely be glad to do."