KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy celebrated the opening of a new turf field at its Lanning Square campus in Camden, New Jersey on Monday. Teachers, students, parents, community leaders, and NFL Foundation representatives gathered for a ribbon cutting at the new athletic field, which was installed thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Philadelphia Eagles through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program and a $250,000 matching grant from The Cooper Foundation.
"We are here today to demonstrate our belief in the young residents of Camden and this new field confirms our investment in our students' health, recreation, and future," said George E. Norcross, III. "I'd like to personally thank The NFL Foundation and the Eagles for their commitment to Camden. Go Birds!"
The 140' x 240' synthetic turf field provides new opportunities for in-school and after-school programming for the 900 students at KCNA and will allow children to participate in a variety of outdoor activities year-round. This also includes new partnership opportunities with the Camden Health and Athletic Association (CHAA) to expand access to youth sports in the city with a safe, reliable and flexible athletic field to support a variety of recreation activities, including flag football.
The field's infill material is organic and non-chemical, made from coconut husk and cork, to ensure a clean, safe environment for children and creates a cooler playing surface than traditional rubber pellet infill. The turf surface is more cost-effective to maintain than natural grass and also includes a state-of-the art drainage system.
"When I look out at this field, I see a symbol of the strength of this community and a network of people and organizations rooting for the children who will play here," said Camden City Mayor Frank Moran. "I'm thankful to the NFL Foundation and The Cooper Foundation for making tangible investments in our great City."
The grant from the Philadelphia Eagles, The NFL Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) was part of more than $3 million in field refurbishment awards allocated by The NFL Foundation last year. LISC, the nation's leading community development support organization, identifies community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing fields in schools and neighborhood parks and oversees the construction and maintenance of the fields.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are dedicated to supporting safe play and helping to develop a love of the game through youth football in the Greater Philadelphia region," said Don Smolenski, President of the Philadelphia Eagles. "This is our 14th field project through our partnership with LISC and we hope this new field at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy becomes a place where all of the children in the community can have fun and live out their football dreams."
The Cooper Foundation's support for the project continues its partnership with KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy and its commitment to ensure students, residents and youth programs have access to safe playing fields to promote healthier lifestyles and keep residents active.
"The Cooper Foundation is proud to partner with the Eagles, The NFL Foundation, and LISC," stated Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO, The Cooper Foundation. "This new turf field is more than a place to run and play – it is a commitment to the health and well-being of the community."
"We're grateful to all of the organizations that have made this new field possible for our families," said Drew Martin, Executive Director of KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. "As adults, we are constantly modeling for our students and this field will be a reminder to them of what is possible when people come together to do something truly great."
Check out the best photos from the ribbon-cutting of the new turf field at KIPP Cooper Norcross Lanning Square Campus.