Stefon Diggs helped U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings announce the first U.S. Bank Places to Play grant recipients.
Minneapolis(June 7, 2016) – U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings today announce the first U.S. Bank Places to Play grant recipients. Seven nonprofits will receive grant funds totaling $300,000, which will be used to transform underused tennis courts to multi-sport fields, replace splintery bleachers and enhance recreational play spaces across communities in Minnesota.
Launched alongside U.S. Bank Stadium, U.S. Bank and the Minnesota Vikings will donate $1 million over three years to community-based nonprofit organizations and local schools across the state to make possible projects that create or improve parks, playgrounds and youth sports facilities in low to moderate-income communities in Minnesota.
"At U.S. Bank, we invest our time, resources and passion to build and support vibrant communities that allow every person to work toward their possible," said Reba Dominski, head of corporate social responsibility for U.S. Bank. "U.S. Bank Stadium gives us a tremendous platform, as well as a responsibility, to give back and create opportunities for our state's families and youth through the Places to Play Program. We're thrilled to support these first seven projects, which are driven by the vision, hard work and excitement of their surrounding communities."
Earlier this year, U.S. Bank launched its new corporate giving and volunteer program, Community Possible, which focuses its community investments on initiatives centered on Work, Home, and Play.
"These projects are making Minnesota an even better place to live and, just as importantly, to play," said Mark Wilf, owner and president of the Minnesota Vikings. "They are providing opportunities for our kids, families and communities to grow together."
Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs presented a check on Tuesday in St. Paul on behalf of the U.S. Bank Places to Play program.
Diggs said in a video that having a place to play was important to his childhood because he was an "outdoorsy type." The second-year pro and 2015 Vikings Children's Fund Rookie of the Year said he is glad that young people will be able to enjoy more outdoors options through the grant program.
"We had a playground right next to my grandmother's house that I went to pretty much every day," Diggs said. "The Places to Play initiative is important to the Vikings because it's also our community. It will create big memories for a lot of young kids."
The following projects were selected:
• Beltrami Neighborhood Council in Minneapolis is building a timber frame pavilion at Beltrami Park, which is the only public space in the neighborhood and the primary gathering spot for residents and community groups. Adding a timber frame pavilion will provide long-lasting outdoor shelter for neighbors, friends, families and organizations to gather.
• Ecolibrium3 in Duluth is upgrading, expanding and adding a play area for family recreation at Lincoln Park. The Lincoln Park playground will be upgraded, expanded, and integrated with existing open space, picnic and restroom facilities. Construction of the play areas closer to the picnic and open spaces will create better options for family recreation.
• Fairmont Area Schools in Fairmont is replacing unsafe, 42-year-old wooden bleachers with new aluminum bleachers at its baseball and softball fields, where large crowds gather every game to support its community.
• Family Pathways in North Branch is upgrading a playground with brand new equipment at Central Park, one of the most prominent landscape features in the community.
• Joy of the People Foundation in St. Paul is converting an underused tennis court into artificial turf space suitable for soccer, tennis and multi-sport use, providing free play opportunities for up to 700 kids per week.
• The Trust for Public Land in St. Paul is adding a nature-based play area with a log fort, picnic table, shade trees and improved landscaping to Frogtown Park and Farm.
• Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation in Minneapolis will upgrade a soccer field with artificial turf that will help increase participation from 500 to 1,000 players in the Urban Stars soccer program, which uses soccer to reduce school drop-out rates, gang participation and dysfunctional family relationships.
Follow U.S. Bank on Twitter and Facebook to track progress of these projects and for information on applications for the second round of U.S. Bank Places to Play grants.