John H. Boner Community Center to Receive $200,000 Grassroots Grant
The grant, awarded by the Colts, 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 playing field at Arsenal Technical High School.
John H. Boner Community Center is the convening organization for Indianapolis' Near Eastside Quality of Life Plan, which was developed as part of the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiatives. The city-wide, resident-led effort worked to foster systemic change in six targeted neighborhoods. Components of the Near Eastside Quality of Life Plan have been adopted as the Legacy Project by the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee. A cornerstone of the Legacy Project includes the upgrade of the field at Arsenal Tech High School and the construction of the Near Eastside Education and Wellness Center. This facility will also house an NFL Youth Education Town (YET).
"The 'Legacy Project' is one of the most significant benefits a Super Bowl brings to a community," said Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts Owner and CEO. "This grant, on behalf of the NFL Youth Football Fund, LISC and the Indianapolis Colts, will help make dreams come true."
"This addition to the Arsenal Tech High School campus is another critical component as we wed the campus with this great Near Eastside community," said Dr. Eugene G. White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. "We want to not only be IN the community but OF the community. Students, faculty, athletic teams and residents will all enjoy the benefits of these improvements."
James Taylor, chief executive officer of the John H. Boner Community Center added, "Through the Quality of Life Plan, led by our own neighborhood residents, we identified core areas necessary for the revitalization of our community. By forging partnerships with groups like LISC, the Colts, the Super Bowl Host Committee and our own community members, it is exciting to see these plans turn into action. With improvements like this, the Near Eastside continues to build a strong community that will be enjoyed by generations to come."
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 225 football fields nationwide in the past 12 years. Locally, the fund has invested $842,500 to revitalize playing fields in eight of Indianapolis' underserved neighborhoods. Parks and ball fields can serve as tremendous community assets because they offer opportunities for recreation, education, and relaxation that contribute to the local quality of life, especially for young people. This includes recently completed fields at Christian Park and Evans Field at Tabernacle Presbyterian church. Combined, the fields served more than 1,900 children.
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.
"Our focus at LISC is on building sustainable communities - good places to live, work, do business and raise families," said Bill Taft, Indianapolis LISC Executive Director. "Developing recreational opportunities is a key part of that, and the NFL has been a committed partner 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 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
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national organization with local priorities committed to helping neighbors build communities. We work with local nonprofit community development organizations to help transform distressed urban neighborhoods into healthy communities that are great places to live, work, do business, and raise families. Indianapolis LISC mobilizes corporate and philanthropic support on behalf of local neighborhoods, providing them with loans, grants and equity investments, policy support, and the technical and management assistance they need to realize their goals