The Buffalo Bills and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation have donated $200,000 to the Rochester City School District to help build a synthetic turf football field at the Franklin Campus through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Grant Program. The Franklin Campus Field will be utilized by two high schools that share the educational facility, Vanguard Collegiate High School and the Integrated Arts and Technology High School. The facility will also provide a safe playing surface for local athletic programs including local youth football leagues and the Rochester City School District 7th and 8th grade modified football program, which began in 2014.
To celebrate the announcement of the grant, members of the Franklin Modified Football Team visited Bills training camp at St. John Fisher College and were presented a ceremonial check by Buffalo Bills Managing Partner and President Russ Brandon.
"The Bills are proud to partner with LISC and the National Football League Foundation on this project to benefit young people in the city of Rochester," said Bills President and Managing Partner Russ Brandon. "As an organization, we concentrate on promoting fitness and health and safety within the Western New York community. We believe this field will provide a safe playing surface for Rochester students to use for youth football training in addition to a number of other fitness-based activities all year-round."
In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) the National Football League Grassroots Program, provides non-profit, neighborhood-based organizations, middle schools and high schools with financing and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local football fields.
Well over one million dollars in grants have been awarded to community facilities on behalf of the NFL Foundation and the Buffalo Bills since 1998.
"We are especially pleased to be making a first award from the Grassroots program in Rochester," said LISC Executive Director Michael K. Clarke. "Our work with the Buffalo Bills and the NFL Foundation to support high quality playing fields in urban areas serves to improve quality of life, provide healthy recreational facilities and foster participation in supervised team building activities for high school youth."
"The Rochester City School District thanks the Buffalo Bills and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for their generous donation, which will help to supplement a capital improvement project planned for two campuses as part of the Facilities Modernization Plan supported by our local legislative leaders and the City of Rochester," said Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. "The District recognizes the importance of health and sports for children, especially in urban districts, who are historically known for funding cuts in school sports programs. A synthetic turf field is an efficient and effective way to get children involved in sports and help maintain our good working relationship with youth football organizations in the city of Rochester."
Buffalo Bills – NFL Foundation Grassroots Grant Recipient History
2015: Rochester City School District – Franklin Campus, Rochester, NY - $200,000
2013: Nicoletti Field, Niagara Falls, NY - $200,000
2010: Buffalo Legacy Project – Mulroy Park, Buffalo, NY - $200,000
2008: Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy – Riverside Youth Football Field, Buffalo, NY - $50,000
2007: Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, Buffalo, NY - $200,000
2006: Detroit NFL Youth Education Town/Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Field, Detroit, MI - $100,000
2006: Robert E. Rich Sr. All High Stadium, Buffalo, NY - $200,000
2005: Buffalo Bills Youth Football Stadium, Orchard Park, NY - $100,000
2003: Veterans Stadium Restoration Project, Lackawanna, NY - $50,000
2000: Broadway Filmore Neighborhood Housing Services – Emerson Park Football Field, Buffalo, NY - $100,000
1998: Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy – Riverside Youth Football Field, Buffalo, NY - $80,000
Total = $1,480,000
*LISC is the nation's largest community development support organization, combining corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help revitalize distressed neighborhoods. For more information, visit **www.lisc.org*.