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Release Date: 06.14.2012 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation

NFL, LISC & Atlanta Falcons Award $200,000 for New Turf Field at Ben Hill Park in Atlanta

Awards are part of $2.5 million in new grants to athletic fields nationwide

The grass football field in Atlanta’s Ben Hill Park will be replaced with synthetic turf thanks in part to a $200,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons through the National Football League Grassroots Program, it was announced today.

The grant, awarded by the Falcons, the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.

Park Pride, an independent nonprofit which advocates for Atlanta parks and green space, will renovate the field, in partnership with the City of Atlanta. The new synthetic playing field will increase field usage and allow Ben Hill Recreation Center to expand its youth football program.

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 256 football fields nationwide in the past 14 years. During that time, the NFL Youth Football Fund has granted more than $32.5 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’re proud of the work of the NFL Grassroots Program and happy to support the City of Atlanta and Park Pride through this grant,” said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank. “As a result of this grant, children and families in communities surrounding Ben Hill Park will enjoy the benefit of this enhancement for years to come.”

LISC identifies local nonprofit, neighborhood-based agencies committed to 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.

“Park Pride is excited about the opportunity to again work with the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons and the City of Atlanta to improve Ben Hill Park through field refurbishments,” said Margaret Connelly, executive director of Park Pride. “Not only will this partnership result in an improved amenity for the Ben Hill community, it will ultimately result in more young people having the opportunity to be physically active and participate in sports programs.”

“Building sustainable communities – good places to live, work, do business and raise families – is a priority for LISC,” said Michael Rubinger, LISC’s president and CEO. “Developing recreational facilities is a key part of that, and the NFL and the NFL Players Association have been committed partners 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 (YFF) uses football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and ensure the health of amateur football participation. Through the YFF's youth football initiatives and support programs, young athletes are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors. The YFF also provides youngsters with safe and accessible places to play, as well as programs and initiatives that address the importance of proper coaching, health and safety and life skills development. For more information, visit http://www.nflyff.org/.

About LISC:
LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $12 billion to build or rehab more than 289,000 affordable homes and develop 46 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.

About Park Pride:
Founded in 1989, Park Pride is the only nonprofit organization that works with communities all over Atlanta to improve their parks. Partnering with more than 60 Friends of the Parks groups, we help communities get engaged through volunteer projects, community gardens, community-led park redesign and by receiving grants for their parks. For more information, visit www.ParkPride.org.

Contact Info

Contact Name: John Bare

Company: Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation

Phone: (404) 367-2062

E-mail: JBare@Falcons.NFL.com