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Building Strong Communities: The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program

Introduction:
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, a collaboration between the NFL Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), is making a significant impact on communities by providing financial and technical assistance to non-profit organizations. The program aims to improve the quality, safety, and accessibility of local football fields, creating valuable spaces for recreation, education, and community engagement. Let’s delve into the details of this program and how it is empowering communities across the nation.

Enhancing Community Assets:
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program recognizes the transformative power of parks and ball fields as essential community assets. These spaces offer opportunities for individuals, especially young people, to engage in recreational activities that contribute to their overall quality of life. Since its inception in 1998, the program has awarded over $58 million in grants for 416 projects nationwide, helping communities revitalize and maximize the potential of their local football fields.

Grant Process and Selection Criteria:
To participate in the program, qualified non-profit organizations within NFL markets submit proposals for funding. LISC reviews these proposals, conducts site visits, and recommends organizations to the NFL based on their capacity, plans, and partnerships for field renovation and increased youth football programming. The NFL Foundation makes the final funding decisions. The selection criteria include the feasibility and readiness of the project, its impact on the community, the presence of match funding, future maintenance and safety plans, and the organization’s capacity to manage the project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AXY_K97Xgo

Promoting Community Engagement:
One of the program’s goals is to encourage active use of the fields and foster community partnerships. Preference is given to proposals that involve collaborations with non-profit community partners, such as USA Football, Parks and Recreation Departments, and YMCA branches, to promote youth sports safety and community programming on the fields. These collaborations help establish sustainable youth football programs and strengthen the sense of community by engaging various stakeholders.

Long-Term Sustainability:
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the fields. While grants are provided for capital expenditures, organizations are required to demonstrate maintenance funding for at least five years and provide a detailed maintenance plan. This ensures that the fields remain in good condition despite wear and tear, allowing them to serve as safe and reliable spaces for sports and recreational activities over the years.

Making a Lasting Impact:
By investing in local football fields, the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program leaves a lasting impact on communities. The revitalized fields not only enhance the physical environment but also provide opportunities for personal development, community bonding, and economic growth. The program’s focus on low to moderate-income communities ensures that those who benefit the most from improved facilities have access to high-quality spaces for sports and recreational activities.

Conclusion:
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program is transforming communities by revitalizing local football fields and promoting community engagement. Through financial support and technical assistance, the program empowers non-profit organizations to create safe and accessible spaces for sports, recreation, and community-building. By investing in the development and sustainability of these fields, the program leaves a lasting legacy and inspires generations to come.

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