Award is part of $6 million in new grants to athletic fields nationwide
Tapestry Charter School has been granted $250,000 by the Buffalo Bills through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program for a new synthetic turf field at its Community Track and Multi-Sport Athletic Complex in North Buffalo.
The grant from the Bills, the NFL Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) is part of $6 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program – a partnership between the NFL Foundation and LISC, the nation’s leading community development organization – has supported the construction or renovation of 416 football fields nationwide since 1998. During that time, the NFL Foundation has granted nearly $58 million to revitalize playing fields in neighborhoods that are under-resourced. 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.
A press release stated, “The building of this community athletic complex will increase equitable access to sports and health and wellness activities for not only Tapestry’s 1,100 students, but for youth across the City of Buffalo to play youth football, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field events, along with many other multi-sports sampling activities through Tapestry’s programs and community partners. Tapestry has developed PlayBuffalo, a collaborative organization made up of public, private and charter schools that comes together to provide sports sampling to urban youth in the City of Buffalo. On their own, each school would typically not have the organizational capacity, nor the numbers of active children to completely outfit a team or fill out a clinic with our youth sports community partners, making the engagement worthwhile. However, PlayBuffalo merges schools together based on interest and other factors in order to form full teams and clinics to give each child an opportunity to sample, play sports, get active and build their social-emotional wellness. This facility would be the central hub for PlayBuffalo.”
Tapestry Charter School Executive Director Eric Klapper said, “This is a very special moment in Tapestry’s 20-year history, and I couldn’t be more excited for our school and the wider community across the City of Buffalo. Our work is all about expanding access and opportunity to the students and families we serve and, thanks to the Buffalo Bills, the NFL Foundation and LISC, the Buffalo community will have greater, more equitable access to facilities for youth sports, and thus all the benefits of health, wellness and social and emotional well-being that comes with it.”
Bills owner and President Kim Pegula said, “Supporting the development of safe and accessible places for children in Buffalo to participate in sports, and be physically active, is an important part of our community outreach. Thank you to the NFL Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. for your partnership on this grant opportunity. We are excited about the positive impact the facility at Tapestry Charter School will have on our community, and look forward to the opening of the facility.”
LISC partners with local, nonprofit, community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and neighborhood parks. Through the program, local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their communities. The agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
“COVID has revealed just how critical schools and recreation spaces are to community health and the economy,” said Julie Barrett O’Neill, executive director of LISC Western New York. “This exciting Tapestry project is in an area of the city with limited recreation and parks space. Tapestry has worked hard to get their site ready for this investment. We are excited that this facility will be opened up to City of Buffalo children attending charter schools as well as other community organizations looking for field space.”
Tapestry Charter School is an arts-integrated, tuition-free, nationally recognized, public charter school serving 1,100 students in the City of Buffalo. Since its founding in 2001, Tapestry Charter School has provided an innovative educational experience for a diverse community of students and families across Buffalo, by ensuring that all students receive what they need to develop their full potential. For more, visit www.tapestryschool.org.
The National Football League Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation and its members, the 32 NFL clubs, support the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support its game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit www.NFLFoundation.org.
LISC is one the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. With 38 local offices across the country, it works with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity, and advance racial equity so that people and local economies can thrive. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
LISC WNY works regionally with partners to bring local neighborhood ideas to life; creating great places to live, work and raise a family for all. LISC takes a place-based and people-centered approach help individuals and small businesses currently isolated from economic opportunity better connect to opportunities necessary for them to successfully participate in their regions’ growth and prosperity. LISC WNY’s focus on neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, neighborhood business, and family income and wealth building aims to better coordinate and concentrate workforce, small business, commercial and residential real estate development in districts or neighborhoods that have traditionally seen a lack of investment. Learn more about LISC WNY at www.lisc.org/wny.