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Bengals commit grant to local schools

The Cincinnati Bengals and NFL Charities announced a $200,000 grant to Clinton-Massie schools for a field renovation project.  A community football field will be renovated to include a synthetic playing surface at Clinton-Massie High School in Clinton County thanks in part to the grant from the National Football League's Grassroots program. The grants, awarded this year by the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL, NFL Players Association (NFLPA), and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), are part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards allocated to community groups in 17 cities nationwide.

"We are excited about the opportunity to give back to a community that played a central role in our past and has been so supportive of our organization," said Katie Blackburn, executive vice president, Cincinnati Bengals.  "My father and I both have very fond memories of training camps in Wilmington and I can't think of a more deserving area to benefit from this grant."  

"We are obviously elated that the Bengals and the NFL have chosen Clinton-Massie as a recipient of the NFL Grassroots grant. The school facilities are in constant use by our athletic and community teams and with this grant we will be able to expand and enhance the overall quality and safety of our playing fields," said Ron Rudduck, Superintendent of Clinton-Massie Local School District.  "We are also very appreciative of the CM Boosters who have committed to funding the local share of the project. Brian Zurface, John Curtsinger, Jamie Evans and Jackie Phipps, of the Boosters organization, have spearheaded the fund raising efforts which are making this possible."

The NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC, the nation's leading community development support corporation, has resulted in the construction or renovation of 170 football fields nationwide in the past decade. 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.

Clinton-Massie Project

The Clinton-Massie complex serves as the community center for almost all of the District's youth athletic activities.  The current stadium is 44 years old and consists of a natural turf field, a six lane track, lighting on old wooden electric poles, and concrete home bleachers for approx. 750 people. The new field will allow expanded usage for all school and community youth football teams, for all school soccer teams and also allow the high school band more practice time on the competition field. It will also allow the school to use the field as part of its PE curriculum especially on inclement weather days when going outside may otherwise be impossible. 

The cost of the project will be paid for by private funds.  The Clinton Massie Athletic Boosters have secured financing of up to $400,000 for this project.  The Boosters are partnering with Pee Wee football, local businesses, community members and other local contractors that are donating labor and equipment to provide the financing needed to complete the project. 

About The NFL Youth Football Fund

Established in 1998 by the NFL in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund promotes positive youth development, while ensuring the health and future of football at the grassroots level.  Through funding by the YFF, many NFL youth programs such as and Coach of the Week have been developed, providing youngsters with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.

About LISC

LISC combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize underserved neighborhoods. Since 1980, LISC has raised more than $6 billion to build or rehab nearly 160,000 affordable homes and develop 25 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide. For more information, visit

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