Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

January 2019


NFL Foundation Grants Boost Local Football Fields

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Leaders Recognized for Advancing Outdoor Recreation - January 2019

Goldfish Swim School Sponsors USA Swimming Foundation - December 2018

Physical Activity for Kids Gets Low Grade - December 2018

New Law Helps Sports Medicine Professionals & Athletes - December 2018

Outdoor Recreation Adds Billions to U.S. Economy - November 2018

Nearly $1 Million in Pool Grants Awarded - November 2018

Report: One in Four Americans Use a Health Club - November 2018

New Active Transportation Program Aims to Boost Health & Environment - November 2018

Foundation Celebrates Sports Innovations - October 2018

Grant Awarded to Chattanooga Nature Play Area - October 2018

Obesity Continues to Challenge America's Health - October 2018

Grant Program Funds Keep America Beautiful Initiatives - October 2018

Nation's Pediatricians Emphasize Power of Play - October 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers - September 2018

Pickleball Benefits Older Adults - September 2018

NSPF Endorses MAHC Adoption - September 2018

Cities Spend More on Public Parks in 2018 - September 2018

Be Ready for Back-to-School Sports - August 2018

NRPA, Pool Safely Partner on Water & Recreation Safety - August 2018

States Make Progress Toward Active Transportation - August 2018

IHRSA Briefing Looks at Club Employees vs. Contractors - August 2018

ACSM & Wellcoaches Expand Offerings for Fitness Pros - July 2018

Grants Help Local Trail Projects - July 2018

Grant to Boost Meals & Nutrition for Kids - July 2018

Trust for Public Land Releases ParkServe Database - July 2018

CPSC Asks for Vigilance to Prevent Child Drowning - July 2018

TPL Earns NEA Grant to Explore Creative Placemaking - June 2018

High Visa Denial Rates Could Affect Pools - June 2018

Make a Splash Campaign Teaches Millions to Swim - June 2018

Communities Can Earn Grants for Dog Park Development - June 2018

National Golf Day Celebrates Green Practices - May 2018

YMCA Recognized for Diversity - May 2018

Americans Support Pollinator Health, And Parks Can Help - May 2018

How to Encourage Play—Everywhere! - April 2018

Partnership, Grants to Boost Mountain Bike Trail Development - April 2018

Parks & Recreation Supports More Than 1.1 Million Jobs - April 2018

Club Pilates Grows With New Training Facility - April 2018

IHRSA Sees Positive Growth for Fitness Pros - April 2018

Denver's Freedom Park Wins Grant for Public Art - March 2018

NSPF, Counsilman-Hunsaker Partner to Create App for Aquatic Facility Managers - March 2018

More Than 330 Million Recreation Visits Recorded in 2017 for National Park System - March 2018

Study Shows Economic Benefits of the Great Outdoors - March 2018

Parks for Inclusion Initiative Aims to Expand Reach to All Americans - February 2018

SHAPE America, NFL & Partners Collaborate on Training for Health & P.E. Educators - February 2018

CPSC Offers $1.1 Million in Pool Safely Grants - February 2018

Bipartisan PHIT Act Could Boost America's Wellness - February 2018

China Plant Shutdowns May Affect Pool Operations & Budgets - January 2018

Arlington County 'Pulls Together' to Remove Invasive Plants - January 2018

Youth Sports Participation Increases for Underserved Kids - January 2018

Study: Physical Activity Boosts Learning Time - January 2018

By Dave Ramont

Athletic fields can be great assets to neighborhoods, offering opportunities for recreation, exercise and education, as well as opportunities for communities to come together. And now, the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program seeks to provide nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations with financial and technical assistance to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local football fields. The program is a partnership of the National Football League Foundation, which provides funding, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), which manages the program and provides technical assistance.

All organizations applying for funds must be located within NFL target markets, serving low- to moderate-income areas within those markets. Projects must also be sponsored by nonprofit community-based organizations that have Section 501 tax-exempt status. These organizations are typically resident-supported, and the NFL Foundation believes that when residents see themselves as stakeholders in the creation and maintenance of playing fields, community assets are more likely to be preserved for long-term use.

Additionally, neighborhood-based organizations often have experience in both real estate development and community building, so they can address the capital aspects of athletic field development, as well as the program elements. Programming might include not only youth sports leagues and tournaments but also summer festivals, community celebrations, after-school events and science fairs.

There are two levels of funding available. The first is General Field Support, where applicants can request up to $50,000 for capital projects not associated with the field surface. This could include the installation or refurbishment of bleachers, lights, irrigation systems, concession stands, etc. The second level is Field Surface Grants, where matching grants of up to $250,000 will be available to applicants seeking to install new synthetic sports turf surfaces at community, middle school or high school football fields. The ability of these surfaces to withstand constant use while requiring little ongoing maintenance makes this an attractive option for communities and schools. A smaller number of matching grants of up to $100,000 will be available for communities or schools looking to resurface athletic fields utilizing natural grass/sod surfaces.

The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program will give preference to proposals that demonstrate active use of the fields; seek to upgrade existing facilities that are in poor condition or underutilized; provide for continuing maintenance and field safety; attract matching funding that exceeds the minimum required match of 1:1; involve youth football programs that are currently registered and compliant with USA Football's Heads Up program; and involve local partnerships with nonprofit community partners to promote youth sports safety and community programming on the fields. These partners could include parks and recreation departments, YMCA branches, USA Football, etc. Proposals should describe how the athletic field improvements would benefit the community, stating the projected increase in the number of people that will utilize the facility as a result of program improvements.

For more details on criteria and stipulations, as well as a list of eligible markets and communities, visit www.nflfoundation.org.