NFL gives $250,000 to Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village for new state-of-the-art football field

FLINT, Michigan—Kids in Flint will soon have a state-of-the-art field to scrimmage on thanks in part to a $250,000 grant presented in the form of a check to the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (SBEV) by legendary Detroit Lions football player Lomas Brown.


The grant was given to the SBEV on behalf of the National Football League (NFL) Grassroots Program and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). It will be used to create a new synthetic turf field in the city that will be open to the entire Flint community.


SBEV Executive Director Maryum Rasool played a large role in obtaining the funding and was the first to speak at the check presentation event.


“This is not just a win for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village but this is a win for the city of Flint,” said Rasool.


LISC works with the community to find local nonprofits and community-based agencies looking to improve the quality of life in Flint. Projects in the past have included a partnership with the Financial Opportunity Center to promote financial literacy and community services initiatives like debris removal in Garfield-Bunche neighborhood.


Organizations that partner with LISC receive the necessary financing and technical assistance to see their projects through. In this case, the empowerment village will oversee construction, maintenance, and programming of the new field.


To date, the Lions have worked with LISC to provide $1.72 million worth of NFL Foundation Grassroots Program grants to communities all over Michigan.


Mayor Sheldon Neeley hopes the addition of a new field will serve as the jumping-off point for a larger movement aimed toward improving Flint’s many youth programs.


“Flint has been known as the Mecca for athletic ability in young people, so we have to reach back into the core of our community and provide the necessary tools; astroturf, training facilities, coaches,” said Neeley. “All those things are being brought back to the core of our city, which is right here on North Saginaw Street.”


Brown, who was an offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, spoke about the importance of sports in a child’s formative years and how a dedication to sports can help foster a dedication to education.

“Invest back into our youth, that’s where we’re gonna get our greatest returns,” said Brown.

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Read more articles by Santiago Ochoa.

Santiago Ochoa is a freelance reporter and communications student at UM-Flint. He is the project editor for On The Ground community reporting series and currently serves as The Michigan Times' Editor-in-Chief. Santiago has worked with publications and organizations like The New York Times, the Interamerican Press Association and Flint Beat. You can reach him @santi8a98 on Twitter and Instagram and email him at [email protected]