Toledo Public Schools will install new synthetic turf fields at Start and Bowsher high schools in time for the fall football season.

A news conference was held at Start in mid-May to announce plans for that school, thanks in part to a $250,000 grant from the Cleveland Browns through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program. The grant from the Browns, the NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is part of more than $3 million in field refurbishment awards allocated this year. The groundbreaking ceremony included Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools; Jenner Tekancic, the Browns' vice president of  community relations; Roman Oben, NFL vice president of youth football and a former NFL player and Kimberly Cutcher, executive director of Toledo LISC.

The NFL Foundation/LISC Grassroots Program, a partnership between the NFL Foundation and LISC, the nation’s leading community development support organization, has committed nearly $46 million to the program since 1998, supporting 336 projects nationwide. Fields are built new or undergo significant renovations, ]with improvements including irrigation systems, lights, bleachers, scoreboards, goal posts and turf. The grassroots grants are given once funding thresholds are reached for each project.

Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns’ goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.

LISC identifies local, nonprofit, community-based agencies that have an interest in building or refurbishing football fields in schools and neighborhood parks. Through the program, local agencies are provided with the necessary financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of fields in their communities. The agencies oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.

“Toledo LISC joins The Cleveland Browns, Toledo Public Schools, the YMCA and community partners in our efforts to expand recreational opportunities for youth and promote healthy lifestyles,” said Cutcher. “The investment by the NFL and the Cleveland Browns in the Start Learning Community will increase the community’s access to programming and support comprehensive community revitalization efforts.”

Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns’ goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.