ABOVE: Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair and wife Hannah with Jack Yates students at field
This past Friday, May 28th, a consortium of organizations in Houston’s historic Third Ward came together to receive a donated field valued at $1,250,000 from the Houston Texans, Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation-NRG Park, Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Hellas Construction, Inc.
In addition to the Texans donating their artificial playing surface from NRG Stadium to be installed at Jack Yates for this project, which continues the tradition of donating the Texans former playing surface to a community cause, the Houston Texans, the NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) also awarded $450,000 to renovate and resurface the athletic field located at Jack Yates High School.
The check for the donation was presented to representatives of the project planning consortium on the Jack Yates football field, where remarks were given from elected officials, former Yates football players, community leaders and supporters.
The grant awarded to the consortium is part of the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program, a partnership of the National Football League Foundation, which provides funding for the Program, the Houston Texans, which supports the program locally, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), which provides technical assistance and manages the Program.
The NFL Foundation Grassroots Program is intended not only to respond to the immediate shortage of playing fields, but also to build an infrastructure through partnerships and resident involvement that will sustain these open spaces for community use. This NFL Grassroots Program Grant is the 12th awarded in Houston, bringing the total to more than $1.25 million that has been awarded for field improvement projects in communities across the city.
“The Houston Texans are proud to work with our partners to support the renovation of the Jack Yates High School Athletic Field,” said Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair. “Our hope is that this field enriches a love of sports across the youth in the historic Third Ward, prompting the next generation of student athletes and leaders. We are grateful to be a part of this project and believe it will become an integral pillar of the community for decades to come.”
Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis was extremely instrumental in the designation of Jack Yates as the recipient of the field.
“We were trying to figure out who to give this field to because it’s very expensive to lay this field down,” said Commissioner Ellis. “So it’s significant that at this Black public school where George Floyd played and graduated, right across from the Cuney Homes where he grew up, right in the heart of Third Ward, the Texans are donating this field and something great is going to happen. I am committed to bettering the lives of people by providing quality and accessible services and programs while striving to incorporate equity, fairness, and justice into all our priority goals and objectives. This field is just one more example of that effort.”
The Third Ward Planning Consortium, which represents community development, education, community engagement, public service, and social service organizations anchored in the neighborhood, is a strategic alliance that includes Change Happens, Houston Society for Change, 88 C.H.U.M.P., Harris County Commissioner, Precinct One, Rodney Ellis, and the Jack Yates High School National Alumni Association. The consortium, shares the common goal of working with Yates High School and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to create an athletic field that will offer local schools increased opportunities for sports, recreation, education, and relaxation that contribute to the quality experience of school life and activities.
The renovated field will be located on the campus of Jack Yates High School. Yates high school is located in the heart of Third Ward Houston, at 3650 Alabama. It is part of HISD and is named after Reverend John Henry “Jack” Yates, a former slave, and a minister. Many former and current NFL players attended Yates, as well as other professional athletes, celebrities, journalists, actors, and national/community leaders.
“Evidence shows that youth who play sports do better in school and are more likely to go to college, said Carl Davis, Chair, Houston Society for Change. “We need to consider that if sports are this good for youth, why aren’t we integrating sports with first rate facilities into the life of every students.”
The Third Ward Planning Consortium has plans to continue raising funds to do other capital improvement projects to further enhance the football field and is working with the fiscal agent, Change Happens to solicit more donations and move forward on assisting Jack Yates.
To donate to this project through Change Happens, visit https://www.changehappenstx.org/jack-yates-athletic.