The NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Field Grant Program announced grants totaling $3 million to newly build or significantly renovate fields in parks, schools or at community organizations in 14 cities from Brooklyn to Houston and Racine, WI to Indian Trail, NC. The funds will be used for improvements such as irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards and more. About a partnership that has lasted 20 years, Alexia Gallagher, executive director of the NFL Foundation stated: “With more than one million youth using these fields, which provide safe places for families to come together and participate in sports, the benefits of the NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Field Grant Program are indisputable.”
Dale Royal, a community developer with 30 years’ experience bringing economic development, affordable housing and transportation opportunities to underserved neighborhoods, will be the inaugural executive director of LISC’s newest office in Atlanta, GA. LISC has already invested $18 million in Atlanta for workforce and youth development projects, and our SBA lending affiliate, immito, has just closed its first transformative loan in the city. Royal’s arrival will take that commitment to another level, leveraging his expertise in connecting communities with the capital to help them flourish.
Since 2015, the Home Court Program, a collaboration between ESPN and LISC, has improved the quality, safety, and accessibility of local basketball courts in low- to moderate-income areas. Now in its fourth year, the program is expanding funding to groups in Phoenix, D.C., Indianapolis, New Orleans, Minneapolis and Jacksonville, FL. As Beverly Smith, senior director of LISC’s sports and rec program, noted, “We’ve had great success identifying courts that, with a little financial and technical help, can be transformed into safe, inviting places where young people can play and enjoy the game of basketball.”
ESPN, Under Armour and LISC have announced that four new communities are eligible for grants through the Replay initiative to transform vacant lots into community recreation hubs. The program, which is in its second year, will award a total of $430,000 to help neighborhood groups in Atlanta, Detroit, Oakland, and Toledo ensure that sports and recreation are accessible to all residents. As LISC’s senior program director for Sports & Recreation, Beverly Smith, stated, “Our on-the-ground experience in local communities coupled with the resources and expertise of ESPN and Under Armour has been a highly successful formula for creating useful recreational spaces.”
Exciting news for communities in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Philadelphia today. As part of ESPN’s RePlay initiative, a collaboration with Under Armour and LISC, 12 community organizations will receive grants totaling $330,000 to help transform vacant lots into sports, recreation and play spaces. “Restoring vacant areas into safe, recreational sports and play spaces not only give youth a place to exercise and learn sports, they are also places that bring residents together and become a source of pride for the neighborhood”, LISC CEO and president Maurice A. Jones said.