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PR- 277-03
October 7, 2003


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Paul Tagliabue today announced that nine Lower Manhattan projects would benefit from $5.5 million in grants from the NFL Disaster Relief Fund.  Created in 2001, the NFL Disaster Relief Fund is a collaborative endeavor of the National Football League and the NFL Players Association developed to assist organizations directly and indirectly affected by the events of September 11th, and whose projects improve business conditions, educational opportunities and quality of life in impacted areas.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Deputy Mayor for Administration Patricia Harris, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh, Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba, NYU Downtown Hospital Interim President & CEO Dr. Bruce Logan, St. Vincent’s Hospital President Jane Connorton, Gouverneur Healthcare Services Executive Director Claude Ritman and Bob Townley, Director of Manhattan Youth joined the Mayor and NFL Commissioner Tagliabue at the announcement at Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

“NFL Commissioner Tagliabue and the NFL have repeatedly demonstrated their ongoing commitment to New York City and its recovery, and today they are delivering on a $5 million commitment to fund organizations in need in the wake of the terrible events of September 11th,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The nine projects cover a wide array of Lower Manhattan organizations and needs including small business assistance, healthcare, education, parks, and youth services.  Collectively, these funds will play a critical role in the continuing and successful recovery of Lower Manhattan.”

“The events of September 11, 2001 affected our NFL family in a very direct fashion,” said Commissioner Tagliabue. “Our owners and players pledge to do their share to help rebuild New York. Our disaster relief board responded to Mayor Bloomberg’s request to fill some of the gaps and needs that were not met by other 9/11 funds. We think we have accomplished that goal with today’s grant. However, we realize we still have additional work to do.”

 “These funds will provide a considerable boost to our mission of restoring and enhancing the quality of life for the residents of Lower Manhattan; the unwitting victims in the terrorist attack on America,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “The generosity of the NFL will be an enduring reminder that beneath the hype, the celebrity and the controversy that is constantly swirling around professional sports, there beats a very big heart.  It is the heart of a champion and truly the mark of leadership at its finest.”

In September 2002, the NFL hosted the NFL Kickoff Live From Times Square, a celebration of the beginning of the 2002 NFL season and a tribute to the American spirit, the resiliency of New Yorkers, and the fact that post-9/11, New York City remains one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. The event drew approximately 500,000 attendees and was covered by 120 media outlets worldwide.  The NFL made a multi-million dollar commitment to the City to help promote tourism and convention business through its national media and marketing programs including the use of NFL network television and radio promotional time. The NFL also made a $500,000 contribution to the City’s September 11th commemoration last year.  And lastly, the NFL committed to continue to distribute a substantial portion of the NFL Disaster Relief Funds to help with the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. The following nine projects are being supported with these funds:

Millennium High School – $2 million

The Millennium School, a new public high school that opened on September 8th, is Lower Manhattan’s first neighborhood-based high school.  Millennium serves students living in the downtown area below 14th Street, an area with the fastest growing student population in Manhattan.  Ultimately, the school will house 500 students, grades 9-12.  The first phase of the construction of the school was finished in time for the September 2003 opening, and constituted the lobby and 13th floor of the school building and houses the 9th and 10th grades. The NFL Disaster Relief Funds will help fund the second phase, which includes the design and construction of the educational space for the 11th and 12th grades, and will be completed by June 2004.

SBS’s Lower Manhattan Business Solutions Center – $1 million

NYC’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Business Solution Centers serve as  “one-stop shops” for entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking assistance in starting and growing their businesses in New York City.  Small Business Solution Centers provide customers with access to a wide range of public and private resources that promote financial growth and development including assistance navigating government agencies, providing financing advice, helping with business plan development, and giving support in accessing public and private procurement opportunities.  SBS is opening Business Solution Centers in each of the four boroughs outside Manhattan, as well as one in Upper and one in Lower Manhattan.  SBS Business Solution Centers will receive $1 million to support the development of its Lower Manhattan Business Solutions Center and the establishment of satellite centers in each borough of New York City.  Funds will be used for a marketing campaign, staff training, translators and consultants.

NYU Downtown Hospital – $250,000
St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan – $250,000
Gouverneur Healthcare Services – $250,000

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, NYU Downtown Hospital and St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan responded courageously to the overwhelming demand for medical and mental health services. As the only full-service medical facility directly adjacent to the World Trade Center site, NYU Downtown Hospital was the closest source of medical care for those wounded in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the emergency room at St. Vincent’s treated a total of 844 patients related to the disaster, the largest number seen at any emergency room in New York City. The tragic events of September 11th had a severe financial effect on these institutions. NFL Disaster Relief Funds will help NYU Downtown Hospital offset some of these costs, and help St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan expand its Trauma Center.

With its proximity to Chinatown and the Lower East Side, 90% of Gouverneur Healthcare Services clinic’s patients are Asian or Latino and most are either uninsured or receiving Medicaid. Gouverneur is the closest public healthcare facility to the World Trade Center site, located approximately one mile due east. One of the consequences of the events of September 11th was a financial blow to Gouverneur as expenses increased substantially and patient service revenue decreased with the cancellation of more than 7,000 scheduled appointments.  NFL Disaster Relief Funds will allow Gouverneur to secure funding for a Mobile Outreach Vehicle that would deliver healthcare services to the Asian, Latino, and other underserved communities of Lower Manhattan.

Baruch Playground – $970,000

Baruch Playground is located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, south of Houston Street.  The playground is currently a large asphalt area, covering over 56,000 square feet.  The hard asphalt surface, however, limits the use of the playground.  The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation will utilize the NFL Disaster Relief Funds to renovate the athletic field at Baruch Playground.  The renovation plan calls for replacing the asphalt surface with synthetic turf.  The renovated field would be used for flag football, softball, baseball, soccer, and other field sports. 

Manhattan Youth – $250,000

Manhattan Youth, a recreation and resource center located just two blocks from the World Trade Center site, was founded in 1986 and is the only community youth center in Lower Manhattan.  Manhattan Youth’s programs serve over 1,000 families each year, and nearly 700 children attend the organization’s after-school programs every day.  After the events of September 11th, Manhattan Youth assisted in the emotional recovery of the youth and families of Lower Manhattan.  Manhattan Youth plans to utilize the funds for a teen computer lab, a teen evening & after-school program, the Manhattan Youth Leadership Council, the Lower Manhattan Football Giants, and for mental health referrals and art therapy programs.

“Tribute in Light”– $50,000

As part of the ceremony to recognize the second anniversary of September 11th, the City brought back the popular Tribute in Light. The NFL committed $50,000 in Disaster Relief Funds towards this project.  

Sara D. Roosevelt Park Restoration – $25,000
On the second anniversary of September 11th, a large group of NFL employees, including NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, volunteered to clean up and restore Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Lower Manhattan.  The program was created to provide NFL employees with the opportunity to make a tangible, positive difference for those in the downtown area via a project that focused on unity, hope and rebuilding. Volunteers partnered with Parks Department staff to beautify the park by planting flowers and other shrubbery.  $25,000 in NFL Disaster Relief Funds will help the Department of Parks and Recreation to cover the cost of supplies and materials for the project and to support the revitalization this park.


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958


Brian McCarthy (NFL)   (212) 450-2069

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