Jags commit $25,000 for new bleachers to school

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS COMMIT $25,000 FOR NEW BLEACHERS AT BISHOP JOHN J. SNYDER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD

Bishop John J. Snyder High School will receive a $25,000 grant from the NFL Grassroots field grant program to add security fencing and portable bleachers to its secondary football field, it was announced today.

The grant, awarded by the Jacksonville Jaguars, National Football League, NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is part of $2.4 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year to community groups in 20 cities nationwide. This is the sixth NFL Grassroots field grant awarded to Jacksonville and administered by LISC-Jacksonville. Since 1999, a total of $525,000 in NFL Grassroots refurbishment grants have been awarded to community fields in Jacksonville. Previous awards were made for fields at Criswell Park, Mary Lena Gibbs Park, Police Athletic League's field at McCormick Road Regional Park, Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida's Woodland Acres Club, and Pine Forest Park.

"The Jacksonville Jaguars are proud to continue to support local projects that improve football facilities that bring families and communities together through football," said Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver. He added that the field at Bishop Snyder High School will be a great addition to the Westside community.

The NFL Grassroots program is funded by the NFL Youth Football Fund (YFF), a non-profit foundation established by the NFL and the NFLPA to support the game at the youth level and promote positive youth development. Since 1998, the NFL Grassroots program has provided more than $17 million to help community organizations build, or rebuild, 155 youth fields in more than 40 cities, typically in neighborhoods where funding sources are few and far between.

Bishop John J. Snyder High School will upgrade a secondary field that sits adjacent to its primary playing field. Currently, irrigation, fencing, goalposts and seating do not exist at this secondary field. The high school will use the renovated site as a practice field while community-based youth organizations, including the YMCA and Pop Warner Football, will use the field to play their games. The school's athletic booster club has provided the match funding for the project.

"These fields are a critical part of our efforts to create sustainable communities – places where people want to live, work and raise families," said Michael Rubinger, LISC's president and CEO. "Through their contributions, the NFL and NFLPA are not only creating places for young people to compete in football and other sports, they're also making countless neighborhoods better and stronger."

Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA's executive director, agrees. "The NFL and the NFLPA are proud to assist communities where young people aspire to play football," he said. "This program allows us to make an immediate impact in neighborhoods where assistance is most needed."

Other communities receiving NFL Grassroots awards during this funding round are: Baltimore, MD; Brooklyn, NY; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; Dickson, TN.; Durham, NC; East St. Louis, IL; Hollywood, FL; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; Providence, RI; St. Paul, MN; San Diego, CA; and Seattle, WA.

About The NFL Youth Football Fund

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFLPA, 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, many youth football initiatives and support programs have been developed, providing youngsters with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.

Innovative and effective youth football programs have resulted from teaming with organizations like LISC on the NFL Grassroots program. The YFF also supports the National Youth Football Partners which include the Amateur Athletic Union, American Youth Football, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Jewish Community Centers Association, National Police Athletic League, National Recreation & Park Association, Pop Warner Little Scholars and YMCA of the USA. Additionally, the NFL and NFLPA endowed USA Football, a non-profit organization created to help youth football organizations keep the sport fun, safe and accessible. It provides resources focused on youth league enhancement, coaching education, officiating development and health and safety awareness.

About LISC

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $7.1 billion to build or rehab nearly 196,000 affordable homes and develop 27 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. For more information, visit www.lisc.org

About Bishop John J. Snyder High School

Bishop John J. Snyder High School opened its doors in August 2002 to 78 students. Since that time, enrollment has grown to 420 students with a projected growth to reach 700 in four years. While the school's mission is based in the teachings of the Catholic Church, Bishop John High School welcomes students of all faiths. The school also provides more than $100,000 in financial aid for its student body.

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