Atlanta Boys & Girls Club gets gift from Falcons, NFL
By: Brad Rowland
Young people participating in the programming at The Salvation Army Bellwood Boys & Girls Club have long been afforded the opportunity to engage in sports, including time on the football field. With a new grant from the Atlanta Falcons through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, that opportunity will grow even further, as the club will have a new synthetic turf field installed.
The NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Cooperation (LISC) have come together to generate more than $3 million in similar awards nationwide in 2018, and the partnership has combined to produce more than $45 million since 1998. Still, the impact of this specific infusion of funds will go far beyond the football field itself.
“Every community needs safe recreation spaces for children to play and families to enjoy the outdoors together,” said Beverly Smith, senior program director of LISC’s Sports & Recreation program. “We’re so proud to partner with the Atlanta Falcons on this project and of our 20-year history with the NFL Foundation in providing access to healthy recreation spaces across the country.”
For the Atlanta Falcons, this is also an opportunity to serve a community that both comes alongside their local team and needs support.
“For the past four years, our club and the entire Blank Family of Businesses have invested in the people and communities of Atlanta’s historic Westside neighborhoods, some of the most underserved in our city,” said Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Falcons. “The NFL Grassroots Field does more for the youth living in these neighborhoods than just constructing a field – it allows them to dream bigger, commit to each other and build a better future for themselves and their families.”
The space will provide flexibility of programming at the club in the English Avenue neighborhood of Atlanta. The award of $250,000 will go a long way toward stabilization of the facility. Joshua Dickerson, executive director of The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Atlanta, sees all kinds of opportunities with its installation.
“The new field will allow us to help more children in the Greater Atlanta area,” Dickerson said. “Along with the sports component of the field, it expands on the opportunity to teach sportsmanship, life skills and leadership skills.”