INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded Citizens for Backus AB with a $48,575 grant that will complete the Pennies for Play fundraising campaign to renovate Green Acres Park. The Pennies for Play project was started in 2011 by local children and families; in total the International Falls community has raised over $60,000 that will be used to purchase new equipment and upgrade the play area at the center of the park.
The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
Green Acres Park is located in a lower income and high-risk neighborhood in southern International Falls where 30 percent of families fall below federal poverty guidelines. The park is regularly used and is the only one in the neighborhood. To fund much-needed upgrades to the park’s equipment and play are, children in the community have been collecting pennies as part of the Pennies for Play program.
To celebrate the MNSBHC Legacy Fund grant, Citizens for Backus AB and the MNSBHC invited families in the community to join in picnic and carnival activities at Backus Community Center in International Falls today. All attendees were encouraged to contribute to the Pennies for Play project as part of the grant celebration.
“The children in our community are resilient. They’ve been gathering change to raise money to bring new equipment to this park and the effort is truly inspiring,” said Ward Merrill, Executive Director, Backus Community Center. “We are thrilled that the Legacy Fund has recognized this project. This grant will help us provide children in our community with a place to play for many generations to come.”
The project to rebuild the park is a collaborative effort between the Backus Community Center, Koochiching County Public Health and the city of International Falls. Citizens for Backus AB and the Backus Community Center have led the fundraising efforts, while the city will install and maintain the park once funding is secured.
“The young people and families in this neighborhood are a shining example of what can be accomplished when a community comes together to accomplish a goal,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “We are so pleased to be a part of this long-standing project and to support these kids and Citizens for Backus AB as it works to make this park a safe place where children in International Falls can play.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.