Browns break ground on new field at East Cleveland City Schools’ Shaw Stadium (4.30.21)
For Immediate Release
April 30, 2021
During draft festivities, ceremony celebrates Browns’ 10th high-quality synthetic turf field installed in Ohio during five-year project focused on education
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Celebrating the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland and the team’s commitment to education and youth and high school football, the Cleveland Browns hosted a special field groundbreaking ceremony today at East Cleveland City Schools’ Shaw Stadium. It will mark the 10th high-quality synthetic turf field installed in Ohio by the Browns, courtesy of the Haslam and Johnson families and Browns Give Back, since the team’s field initiative launched five years ago.
“We are incredibly proud to call Northeast Ohio our home, and our team’s collective efforts to improve our community are as important to our family and organization as what we do on the field,” said Browns Principal and Managing Partners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. “The NFL Draft is a special weekend to celebrate the future of promising young players, which makes this a fitting time to start our 10th field installation. Each of these fields directly impacts educational engagement, a pivotal factor for students’ success and the future of our city.
“We thank Dr. Pettiegrew for his district’s commitment to his students, faculty and community, as well as the NFL for their ongoing support. It is imperative that we all continue to work together to ensure all students have equal access to a high-quality education, including as we address the digital divide.”
“We would like to thank the Haslam and Johnson family and Browns Give Back for such a generous donation toward rebuilding Shaw Stadium,” said East Cleveland Schools CEO & Superintendent Dr. Henry Pettiegrew II. “As part of East Cleveland Schools’ revitalization efforts, athletic empowerment creates access and opportunities for students. We are pleased to be able to update and renovate our athletic facilities for the students and community of East Cleveland.”
“It is so important to do things for our kids and to have an opportunity for each of us to help one another and have an impact,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during the ceremony. “We are here to support the Cleveland Browns Foundation and the Haslam family, [and what] they are doing here to create opportunities and impact. The NFL Foundation is very proud to support that. The Haslam family not only is extraordinary in this community but in the broader community in the NFL. They are about their communities; they give back to their communities; and I know they make a difference so I would like to thank the Haslam family for all that they do.”
All of the new fields constructed through the program are lined for multiple sports, in addition to football, and serve as a resource to further engage students throughout their respective districts. Given the stability of the surface and less maintenance needed compared to natural grass, the fields are also more readily available to youth and community groups, as well as the respective districts. Specific to Shaw Stadium, the Police Athletic League’s East Cleveland Chiefs will be among the organizations who will once again have increased access to the facility for its programming due to the renovation.
East Cleveland City Schools is a partner district of the Cleveland Browns Foundation’s “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day!” Network. Through the program, the Browns also distributed $350,000 to East Cleveland last season to address educational needs related to the digital divide as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change grant initiative.
The funds provided last fall helped supply East City Cleveland Schools with improved internet bandwidth, new chrome books and hotspots to enhance overall digital connectivity for faculty and students, particularly when needed most due to increased remote learning and educational engagements.
In conjunction with today’s festivities, the partnership hosted volunteers for a community garden build at nearby Chambers Community Empowerment Complex. Led by the Cleveland Browns and funded by the NFL, the project will allow students to grow their own food at the location.
A full transcript of today’s ceremony is attached.
In 2019, the Browns installed new surfaces at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio in Garfield Heights and Ellet High School in Akron, the eighth and ninth multisport playing fields, respectively.
Lorain City School District’s George Daniel Field and Toledo’s Roy C. Start High School received new high-quality synthetic turf fields in 2018 to accommodate multiple male and female high school sports and other programs at each school.
In 2016, the Haslams announced a commitment to provide five Cleveland Metropolitan School District fields with high-quality synthetic turf through a two-year project. Roye Kidd Stadium, James F. Rhodes Stadium and Bump Taylor Stadium were renovated prior to the 2016 high school football season, while John Adams High School and John Marshall High School were updated prior to the 2017 campaign.
The Browns donate all of the team’s net proceeds from items purchased in the Browns FirstEnergy Stadium Pro Shop to support Browns Give Back’s commitment to education and youth football, including to benefit educational initiatives and additional neighborhood fields projects.
In the lead up to the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, the NFL has hosted a series of community events, both in Cleveland and virtually. With this year’s focus on pandemic recovery, Draft week events and the Draft-a-Thon are designed to create action and awareness on four key areas at the intersection of pandemic recovery and the hardest hit communities: the digital divide, food insecurity, health disparities, and mental health awareness.
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team’s signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
Education – The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio by making investments that keep kids in school every day so they can succeed, highlighted by the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network. The “Stay in the Game!” Network is a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The team engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive. In the 2020-21 school year, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will partner with 16 school districts, benefitting more than 100,000 students in Ohio. An adaptation of the “Get 2 School, Stay In The Game!” Network, the name change reflects the current environment where schools may not necessarily be able to host in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the circumstances, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful. To learn more visit, visit Get2School.org.
Youth Football – The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio 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.
First and Ten – Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team’s community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual’s city across the globe, as well as the franchise’s local community. To date, more than 2.75 million hours of volunteering have been pledged through First and Ten. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team’s website and by sharing their stories with #give10.
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