Award is one of four in the first phase of the GA 100 campaign
                                                                       
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          

October 9, 2020 – Canton’s Harmon Field Park will get a new mini-pitch soccer field thanks in part to a $75,000 grant from the Atlanta United Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
 
Cherokee Youth Foundation, a Canton-based youth sports group, and three other Georgia organizations in Austell, Bainbridge, and Brunswick have received grants totaling $292,500 through GA 100, a campaign to create up to 100 mini-pitches across the state leading up to the 2026 World Cup.
 
Atlanta United Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to LISC to lead installation of the first 20 mini-pitches across the state. With this funding, LISC – the nation’s leading community development support organization – will identify local, nonprofit and community-based agencies wishing to build or refurbish mini-pitch fields at schools, neighborhood parks and other recreation spaces in underserved Georgia neighborhoods. The local organizations will receive financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of mini-pitch fields in their communities. The organizations will then oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.
 
This year marked the first phase of GA 100 grants.
“One of the main goals of Atlanta United Foundation is to bring soccer to communities that have no access to the sport,” said Rodrigo Rios, Atlanta United Academy Coach and Associate Committee Member, Atlanta United Foundation. “The GA 100 project allows us to create soccer-specific spaces where entire communities, from young kids to adults, from different walks of life, can enjoy the benefits of playing soccer. We are really happy to be part of a project that will include more people across the state in the sport.”
The second phase will include grants for 16 mini-pitches in Georgia communities. Community organizations, schools, and parks and recreation departments across the state can apply for grants of up to $75,000. The grants require a minimum community local match of one dollar for every GA 100 dollar (1:1) up to $75,000.
 
The mini-pitch fields, once built, will include field surface improvements, goals, fencing and lighting. GA 100 grants are issued once established funding thresholds are reached for each project.
 
“Atlanta United Foundation’s soccer expertise coupled with LISC’s community development experience makes for a highly effective partnership to propel mini-pitch construction in Georgia neighborhoods that need recreational facilities,” said Beverly Smith, LISC’s vice president of Sports & Recreation. “The GA 100 grants will benefit youth and families throughout the state.”

Requests for proposals from communities for the second phase of GA 100 grants will be accepted beginning October 1, 2020. The deadline for proposal submissions is April 1, 2021. For more information, visit GA 100.
 
About the Atlanta United Foundation
The Atlanta United Foundation (AUF) strives to make the game of soccer accessible and inclusive for individuals across the state of Georgia. Through the global game of soccer, our grant programs stress the importance of physical fitness while building a supportive culture of play and sportsmanship . AUF invests in nonprofit organizations that make soccer fun, exciting, and accessible for individuals who otherwise would not get to participate. AUF is an affiliated fund of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
 
About LISC
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national non-profit with a community focus that operates in over 30 cities and urban areas across the country. In collaboration with local community groups, LISC helps identify local priorities and challenges, transforming distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities. Through LISC’s Sports & Recreation program, improved access to 400 safe recreation spaces has been provided across the nation, serving over a million youth.
 
About the Canton Partnership
The Cherokee Youth Foundation was awarded the GA100 grant in partnership with the City of Canton and Cherokee Impact and endorsed by YMCA of Canton, Chick-fil-A of Cherokee County and Canton Indoor Soccer. The funds from this grant will allow the partnership to build a mini-pitch soccer field at Harmon Park Field in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Canton for community use. The support of the Atlanta United Foundation, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, local businesses and community leaders have made this project possible and facilitates bringing the community together to promote health through soccer and community relationships. This is a very exciting opportunity and we are thrilled to have been awarded the grant. 

From Teasley Middle School Counselor, Cherokee High School soccer coach and Grant Coordinator, Cliff Hamilton: "Having the Atlanta United Foundation, City of Canton, Cherokee Impact and so many community businesses and partners investing their time and resources into the Canton Sunnyside Community and its youth is an amazing opportunity for the growth of this community through the game of soccer.  
 
"It's great to see the collective effort of all these organizations, along with the City of Canton, bring this great project to our area. Cliff's efforts in connecting with the AU Foundation then bringing everyone together made this whole thing possible. I'm very excited to see the finished project, and our great area benefit from these efforts," added Shane Moore, Cherokee Impact Executive Director.
 
“Cherokee Youth Foundation is grateful to be a part of helping bring a mini-pitch soccer field to beautiful Canton, GA. Soccer is very important to our community and families here in the city. I look forward to seeing the JOY it brings to those who play there.” noted April Rogers, CYF Community Outreach Director.

"Everyone at Impact Soccer Club is thrilled to see the turf pitch move forward. Soccer is a great way to bring people together from different cultures and backgrounds and being able to provide an all weather pitch for our local community is something we are very proud to be a part of." said Robert Roddie, Impact Soccer Director of Operations .

Rommel RitaRita, of YMCA Canton stated, "This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to connect through the beautiful game.”

Local businessman, Kevin Williams noted, “Chick-fil-A Canton is so excited to be partnering with the Cherokee Youth Foundation, the City of Canton, and Cherokee Impact Soccer on the Canton Community Soccer Pitch at Sunnyside located in Harmon Park. We can’t wait to see the impact this will have on future generations providing them a safe and friendly environment for recreation!”
 
The Project and City of Canton
“The City of Canton is proud to be part of this program with the Atlanta United Foundation, and we are especially excited to provide new recreational opportunities for
our Hispanic community in the Sunnyside district,” added Mayor Bill Grant. “The timing of this award during Hispanic Heritage Month is a perfect example of community
partnership and furthers our work on the Marietta Road Community Initiative.”
 
“We appreciate the hard work of our partners in securing this grant and are even more appreciative to AUF and LISC for bringing the first round of soccer projects to Canton,” stated Councilman Shawn Tolan, who worked with the City to secure funding and in-kind support for this project.
 
Representatives of the City, Cherokee Youth Foundation, and Cherokee Impact will be working in the coming weeks to move this award into fruition for site development and construction with hopes of having the facility in place in Summer 2021.

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Contacts:    
Caroline Huston, AUF caroline.huston@ambfo.com
Beverly Smith, LISC bsmith@lisc.org
City of Canton| Cantonga.gov