The Oakland Raiders and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, recently awarded the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) with a $200,000 field surface grant to help install a synthetic turf surface at the Elmhurst Campus in East Oakland.
With a mission to support all youth to be safe, smart, and socially responsible, EBAYC serves over 2,000 children and engages families to actively participate in the public arena to improve the quality of neighborhood life in Oakland.
The NFL Foundation Grassroots grant will help replace a hazardous, often unusable play yard with the installation of a 40,000 square-foot artificial turf on campus. The new field will serve as a home not only to students at the Elmhurst Campus but also local youth in the community.
The Elmhurst Campus houses two middle schools: Elmhurst Community Prep with close to 375 students, and Alliance Academy with 360 students. Both schools serve diverse student populations that are largely economically disadvantaged.
Once renovated, the new football field at Elmhurst Campus will “provide a safe place to play for youth and families in East Oakland,” said, Margaret Gee, Executive Director of Bay Area LISC. “We are thrilled to help provide more recreational opportunities to promote active and healthy lifestyles in this community.”
The new field will be used by students at Alliance Academy, Elmhurst Community Prep, and the Oakland Dynamites – a citywide youth football league. EBAYC is also partnering with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), who is providing match funding to complete this project.
The check was presented by Raiders Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Brown and Marsha Murrington, of Bay Area LISC, to David Kakishiba, Executive Director of EBAYC, and James Harris, President of the OUSD Board of Education who represents District 7, during a ceremony at the Elmhurst campus.
Following the ceremony, the Raiders conducted a free Youth Football Clinic geared towards boys and girls ages 7-12. The clinic featured the educational and recreational benefits of football presented in a safe and fun environment while ensuring that any student can participate regardless of age, gender, ability, or experience.
“The Raiders have always participated in community activities and involved themselves with young people and this even goes back to my playing days,” said Willie Brown.
“We would go out and volunteer our time to the schools and community, so I think it is great that the Raiders organization is getting involved and helping to build this field,” he said.
The grant awarded by the Oakland Raiders, the NFL Foundation, and LISC is part of a national investment in field refurbishment awards allocated this year.