The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today that the Jacksonville Police Athletic League will receive a $65,000 grant from the National Football League as part of the NFL's Grassroots Program.
The grant is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year by the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in NFL market areas around the country. It will be used to install new Bermuda sod, a new irrigation system, and improve drainage on the community football field at "Flossie Brunson" Eastside Community Park, where PAL provides organized sports programs.
Jaguars team owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver are strong supporters of the NFL/LISC initiative to promote physical fitness by providing safe community playing fields for children. Delores Weaver said, "Refurbishing the field at the Eastside Community Park, which is not far from the stadium, will again provide hundreds of boys and girls a safe playing surface for football, cheerleading and other activities." Wayne Weaver added, "LISC is a major partner with the NFL and the Jaguars being part of the 'NFL family' here in Jacksonville has allowed the NFL to make this donation."
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. Funds come from contributions by NFL team owners and the NFL Players Association. 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.
NFL/LISC community field grants to-date in Jacksonville total $665,000. Previous awardees in Jacksonville are: Jacksonville Police Athletic: Malison Park Football Field, $100,000, and McCormick Road Complex, $100,000; Bishop John Snyder School: Football Practice Field, $25,000; the Greater Lakeshore Athletic Association: Criswell Park Football Field, $100,000: Sweetwater Athletic Association/SOS Academy: Mary Lena Gibbs Park Football Field, $100,000; Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida: Woodland Acres Club Football Field, $75,000; and Pine Forest Athletic Association: Pine Forrest Athletic Field, $100,000.
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."
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 contact Eugene Montgomery, Jacksonville LISC Program Officer, or visit www.liscjacksonville.com
About the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville
PAL is a non-profit 501(c) (3) youth-serving organization with the cooperative effort of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Our nationally accredited after school educational program provides academic assistance, FCAT preparation, mentoring, Dyslexia tutoring, character development and leadership training. PAL offers summer camp and sports programs for youth ages 5-17 at four locations. For over 37 years, PAL has been successfully implementing prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce juvenile crime and keep Jacksonville youth people safe. To learn more, visit www.jaxpal.com.