Huge response to revamped MPAL center : ‘If you build it they will come!’

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MPAL Awarded $30,000 Grant from the Bean Foundation

Kathy Cook, Grant Manager for the Bean Foundation (2nd from left), presents a check from the Bean Foundation to the Manchester Police Athletic League. Also pictured (L-R) are Manchester Deputy Public Health Director Anna Thomas, MPH, Bean Foundation Trustee; Chief David Mara, Portsmouth Police Department and Chairman of the MPAL Board of Directors; Chief Enoch Willard, Manchester Police Department; and Manchester Police Officer John Levasseur, MPAL Coordinator.
From left: Kathy Cook, Grant Manager for the Bean Foundation, Ann Thomas, Manchester Deputy Public Health Director, Portsmouth Police Chief David Mara; Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard; Manchester Police Officer John Levasseur, MPAL Coordinator.

MANCHESTER, NH – Building on the tremendous success of its recent Building on Hope project, the Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL) is excited to announce it has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Bean Foundation. The Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation issues grants in the Manchester area to organizations that address “significant problems or opportunities in their field.” MPAL is dedicated to improving outcomes for city youth through athletics, mentoring, and community engagement.

“Like the movie says, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ We’ve already seen a huge response to the Building on Hope project and now, thanks to this grant, we’re going to be able to serve even more of the kids in our Center City neighborhood in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Portsmouth Police Chief David Mara, who serves as Chair of the MPAL Board of Directors. “The programs this grant will support, like rowing, boxing, and physical fitness training, get kids off the streets, building their skills, confidence, and relationships with law enforcement.”

“The Trustees of the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation are impressed by Manchester’s support for the Michael Briggs Community Center as the 2016 project of Building on Hope.  The city’s commitment to its police officers and its Center City youth has drawn the time, talent, and generosity of hundreds of individuals, businesses, and city leaders,” said Kathy Cook, Grant Manager at the Norwin and Elizabeth Bean Foundation.  “The Bean Foundation is pleased to be able to award a grant to fund improvements which will lead to increased programming at the Center and the opportunity for MPAL to reach even more deserving youth.”

A six-month, $1.5 million overhaul of the Michael Briggs Community Center was completed in May, thanks to the tireless dedication of hundreds of volunteers and the Building on Hope program. The fresh-faced facility, which has welcomed thousands of at-risk kids over the years, is now able to offer not only athletics to area youth, but also a safe space for after-school activities and community events. The Bean Foundation grant will support additional resources to build out those programs.

“It’s rewarding to see how one good deed builds on another,” said Chief Mara. “This grant is the result of so many people being dedicated to MPAL’s mission. All of that good-will means we can reach that many more kids and potentially transform that many more lives. The Bean Foundation has shown that, at MPAL, we really are building on hope.”

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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!