Youth Development & Recreation
Research is proving that gathering places, recreational facilities and sports opportunities are necessary for the healthy development of young people – especially those in poorer neighborhoods where other social options are few and destructive opportunities are everywhere. Those facilities and opportunities are also important to parents, who, through their child’s participation in sporting events can meet their peers in the community.
LISC is addressing that issue through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, a partnership between the National Football League Foundation and LISC that works with community groups to create or rehabilitate playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. Since 1998, the NFL Foundation has contributed $40 million to restore or build more than 306 community fields in more than 100 cities nationwide. That contribution has prompted other supporters to kick in roughly $155 million in additional funding to support field redevelopment. LISC identifies the fields and the community groups committed to building them. Improvements typically include improvements such as the installation of synthetic turf, irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards and goal posts. A new RFP for the 2015 round of funding will be released in the fall.
In addition to the Grassroots Program, LISC has collaborated with ESPN to develop the Pilot Home Court Program. This collaboration between ESPN and LISC will provide non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations, middle schools and high schools with financing and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of local basketball courts in selected markets. Basketball courts can serve as tremendous community assets because they offer opportunities for recreation and relaxation that contribute to the local health and quality of life, especially for young people.
Senior Program Director: Beverly Smith