Camden, N.J. – KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy (KCNA) celebrated the opening of a new turf field at its Lanning Square campus in Camden, New Jersey on Monday, May 13. 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.”
About KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy
New Jersey’s first renaissance school, the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy (KCNA) in Camden, N.J., was established under the state’s Urban Hope Act, which created a pilot program to provide students in three struggling school districts – Camden, Newark and Trenton – access to new, quality public schools in their communities. KCNA opened its first campus in 2015 and provides guaranteed enrollment for students in grades Pre-K through 8th living in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods. KCNA opened its second middle school, KIPP Whittier Academy, in August 2016. KCNA currently serves 1,356 students in Camden and offers modern classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, art and music rooms, science labs, cafeteria, auditorium and extensive recreational facilities. The rigorous college preparatory curriculum is a blended and collaborative learning model, with high quality academic instruction, caring teachers and a variety of extracurricular programs.
About The Cooper Foundation
The Cooper Foundation serves as the philanthropic, community outreach and community development arm of Cooper University Health Care, one of the largest health systems in southern New Jersey with over 100 outpatient offices and its flagship, Cooper University Hospital located in Camden, N.J.
About the NFL Foundation
The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: NFLFoundation.org.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America- great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1980, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63,000 square feet of retail, community and educational space- including athletic facilities and other recreational space. For more information, visit www.lisc.org.