Creating a special atmosphere, the Green Bay Packers Foundation announced the 39 recipients of its grants as the awarded charities gathered in the Lambeau Field Atrium for a luncheon on Tuesday.
"This is really outstanding," said Gary Rotherham, the chairman of the Green Bay Packers Foundation. "Normally we did it in a location in Green Bay and a location in Milwaukee, but we thought it would have more impact coming in here, and it obviously has."
The impact was evident as several of the groups' leaders detailed how they will use the aggregate $119, 400 donated by the foundation. Brown County organizations were awarded nineteen of the grants, amounting to $71, 800 while charities and civic groups located throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan received 20 additional grants, totaling $47, 600.
Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Madison, Wis. will use their apportioned fund to create a safe, natural place where children can connect with the outdoors. The Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. will fund their youth sports program, which has 500 participants. Golden House, a Green Bay area safe haven for victims of physical, sexual and mental abuse, will build a security-locked fence to create a greater sense of comfort. Menominee (Mich.) Area Public Schools will improve Blesch Field by restoring the cement bleachers and adding a scoreboard.
"Many great stories from grant recipients were told today," Packers Executive Vice President and COO John Jones said.
The Foundation received 170 applications from charities and civic groups, asking for help. The Packers whittled that list down to 39 groups across the state of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, selecting those with the most pressing needs and widest impact.
"It was no easy task," Rotherham said. "But hearing these speakers today just reinforced that we know we picked the right applicants."
Former Packers president Robert J. Parins created the Packers Foundation in 1986. Ever since, the NFL's only publicly-owned team has made it a priority, donating a total of $1,474,126.
"The foundation is the means by which the Green Bay Packers give back to the community," Jones said. "That's our role as a community-owned team."