CLEVELAND – The Ohio Elite Seminoles and Ravenna Gridiron Club have been named 2023 recipients of the Leo Murphy Field & Equipment Grant, the Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities (CTCC) announced on May 2.
The Field & Equipment Grant, named after the late longtime Cleveland Browns trainer and Honorary Lifetime Member of CTCC Leo Murphy, is awarded annually to youth football programs in the Greater Cleveland area. This grant will assist each program with securing the proper equipment and resources need to play the game of football safely.
“For more than a decade, this grant has helped 21 programs provide equipment, uniforms, field updates and more,” CTCC President Christina Webb said. “It is always a touch decision when our board reviews the applications; however, we are excited to award this grant to Ohio Elite, our first repeat recipient, and the Ravenna Gridiron Club.”
The Ohio Elite Seminoles, who will receive $2,500, are part of the Ohio Elite Athletics organization and compete in the Cleveland Muny Football League. After taking the 2022 season off due to lower registration numbers, the program is working to increase participation and support heading into the 2023 season. Ohio Elite received a grant in 2019 as organizations are eligible to receive one grant every three years (if selected).
“We really appreciate the Cleveland Touchdown Club and everything they do for the football community,” Omar Williams, Director of Athletics, said. “This grant helps many programs like ours going through these rough economic times. We will be using the grant money to purchase new equipment to replace the equipment we lost after our last season.”
The Ravenna Gridiron Club is the supporting organization for the Ravenna High School Ravens’ football program. The Ravens went 3-7 in 2022 and look to improve in 2023 thanks to 36 returning players. The program is excited and optimistic about the direction it is going with 15-20 eighth graders joining the high school ranks and the potential return of a freshman football squad The program was awarded a $5,000 grant to help purchase new uniforms.
“We feel extremely blessed and honored to receive the Leo Murphy Field & Equipment Grant,” Joseph Callihan, Head Football Coach and President of the Gridiron Club, said. “It's hard to put into words the feeling I had when I was able to tell our team we would be getting new uniforms. The look on so many of our kids' faces realizing they will be getting something brand new was an experience I will carry with me the rest of my career.”
CTCC Leo Murphy Memorial Field & Equipment Grant eligibility is limited to 501(c)(3) non-profit youth organizations and local schools in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Lake and Geauga counties. Grant funds are designated to make improvements to equipment and/or facilities, and to help improve the safety and overall quality of those programs.