The Cincinnati Public School District will receive a $200,000 grant from the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the National Football League Grassroots Program.
The grant, awarded by the Bengals, 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 synthetic turf football field at Woodward High School that will feature an eight-lane track and seating for 2,000 spectators, and will be used by elementary and middle school football teams as well as the community at large.
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.
"We are excited about helping to provide such a needed community asset that will not only provide for a safe and dependable place for youth to play football, but will also serve as a magnet for other community activities for the Woodward school community," said Katie Blackburn, Bengals executive vice president. "This project also represents a milestone for our charitable giving, in that with this project we top more than $1 million dedicated to local schools for much needed improvements over the past six years."
"We are extremely grateful for this generous grant that will ultimately enhance the athletic programs at Woodward Career Technical High School and our nearby elementary schools," said Mary Ronan, superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools. "Many thanks to the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL Youth Football Fund and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for their continuous support of our students."
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."