New Orleans – The Algiers Economic Development Foundation will receive a $200,000 grant from the New Orleans Saints as part of the National Football League Grassroots Program, it was announced today.
The grant, awarded by the Saints, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year. It will be used to install a new synthetic turf field at Behrman Stadium, the only football facility in AEDF's district, and one in need of repair. The new field, which will host 110 youth football teams, will also get a new irrigation system.
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 243 football fields nationwide in the past 13 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $30 million to revitalize playing fields in underserved neighborhoods. 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.
"The Saints are proud to continue our organization's long-standing commitment of aggressively addressing the shortage of clean, safe and accessible athletic fields in our community," said Saints' Owner/Executive Vice President Rita Benson LeBlanc. "We firmly believe and support the mission of working with our non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations---such as the Algiers Economic Development Foundation and specifically, Behrman Stadium--which positively addresses the improvements for safe, quality playing fields. Behrman Stadium is a facility that serves 110 youth football teams and the upgrades to the field will serve to better address the needs of the children."
"Time and time again, the Saints have showed they are community partners and committed to investing in our kids," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "We thank the Saints for their contribution to our efforts to install a new artificial turf at Behrman Stadium. We are raising the bar at our NORD recreational facilities and giving our children the kind of athletic opportunities they deserve."
"This is a magnificent contribution to Behrman Stadium, which has been one of our top Prep School and NORD stadiums," said New Orleans City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson. "It is especially important to our City and metropolitan area, and has been for generations. This grant enables us to bring the stadium 'back to life' so that thousands of youth can continue to create their futures on this sacred ground."
Christopher Kane, President of the Algiers Economic Development Foundation said: "The Algiers Economic Development Foundation sincerely thanks the New Orleans Saints, the NFL Grassroots initiative, LISC and all of the supporters for availing these resources to restore a historic youth athletics facility in the Behrman Sports Complex. We recognize that business involvement and investment, such as this, model the benefits of converging economic and community development for worthy and sustainable causes."
New Orleans City Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, District "C" said: "I would like to thank the Saints/NFL Grassroots program for awarding this grant to enhance the Behrman Football Stadium field. This stadium is a major part of Algiers' quality of life and is also used by visiting schools from around the city. This grant will allow the football field to be a first rate field and provide an excellent benefit to our city's recreational opportunities."
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.
"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 its contributions, the NFL Youth Football Fund is not only creating places for young people to compete in football and other sports, it's also making countless neighborhoods better and stronger."
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 $11.1 billion to build or rehab more than 277,000 affordable homes and develop 44 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. LISC support has leveraged nearly $33.9 billion in total development activity. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.