The Chatham Athletic Foundation (CAF) announced they have awarded four grants totaling $27,500 Wednesday, impacting thousands of Chatham residents, as part of their 2012 spring grant program.
walked away with the largest grant: a total of $15,000 to enhance the lighting on the turf field at . A press release from CAF reads, "the funding and enhanced lighting system will enable baseball and softball teams to play ball under the lights and help increase safety and use of the turf field."
also won a $4,000 grant award for the resurfacing, refurbishment and safety coating of the basketball court at . The project was finished in time for the .
Borough Council President James Lonergan, a former CAF trustee, said grants such as the one for the Memorial Field basketball court have "made a great difference in improving youth athletics for thousands kids in town."
CAF also awarded a $5,000 grant to to go toward the purchase of football practice equipment. Debra Mason, a trustee of CAF, told Chatham Patch the grant money "is going to go towards equipment purchases for the football program for grades 5 through 8, impacting about 180 boys."
Paul Ivans, chair of CAF, said the grant money will go toward purchasing new helmets and a blocking chute for the football program.
The $5,000 is only part of the expense to purchase new equipment. "We’re not funding the entire equipment purchase," Mason said, but it will make an impact on Chatham Recreation.
CAF also supported concussion awareness education in 2010 for Chatham Recreation's football program.
CAF another grant to the girls golf team, a grant which will provide golf clinics at and support start-up costs for the high school program. Clinics at the middle school will help provide a feeder program for the high school team.
"It’s really fun to see it taking off [at the middle school level]," Mason said. "Specifically what the grant money supports is clinics and education, so it’s just providing a foundation for the high school teams."
Ivans said the 2011 golf clinic at Chatham Middle School garnered wide interest among girls. "Last year they had about 35, 40 girls participate, they’re expecting twice that many this year," Ivans said.
Andrew Gyves, one of the parents who applied to the Board of Education to begin the girls golf team, said "the success of the high school girls golf team depends largely on the feeder system that is developed at the middle school level. ... These girls would not be playing golf at the high school level without CAF's help."