SAN FELIPE PUEBLO, N.M. – The Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3 Foundation) helped the San Felipe Pueblo community officially open its brand-new, $785,000 soccer field and community park.
Community leaders applauded as children from the San Felipe Soccer Club took to the field for the first time on Monday, Aug. 23.
The facility, largely funded by a $535,000 grant from the NB3 Foundation, is the first of its kind in the community. The NB3 Foundation is a charitable organization lead by Notah Begay III, the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA TOUR.
The park provides an outlet for the entire community to be more physically active. The centerpiece of the park is its synthetic-turf soccer field, but it also features walking paths, providing an alternative for staying fit and healthy. The new field also will be home to the San Felipe Soccer Club, a program that the NB3 Foundation has operated since 2005 for more than 200 Pueblo youth. Not only does the club serve as an athletic outlet for the Pueblo’s young adults, it’s also the only regular after school program in the Pueblo. The soccer club has plans to host tournaments, camps and events to promote soccer and good health to neighboring Pueblos, as well as to help foster relationships with the larger soccer community in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo area.
“The Pueblo has waited nearly a decade for this facility, a park that will allow adults, youth and participants in the San Felipe Soccer Club to increase their physical activity,” said Begay. “Tribal communities around the entire country are often lacking even the most basic amenities needed to keep their young people active and healthy. This incredible facility is an example of what’s possible when communities unite and work together in the interest of the health and wellness of Native people.”
The grant money awarded by the NB3 Foundation was raised almost exactly one year ago by the 2009 NB3 Foundation Challenge, the Foundation’s charity golf event held each year at Turning Stone Resort and Casino, on Oneida land. Not just the largest fundraiser for the NB3 Foundation each year, the NB3 Foundation Challenge has grown into the largest fundraiser in the Native community, delivering approximately $1.1 million to the NB3 Foundation last year alone.
“The work on developing healthy communities is as much about our future as it is about addressing immediate health issues,” said San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians Vice Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “Notah Begay and the NB3 Foundation have found success in developing programs and organized activities for Indian tribal youth, not simply for the sake of competition, but to teach and instill active and healthy lifestyles in our Native youth and communities.”
Additional money to complete the project, which transformed a sun-parched lot into a community landmark, came from the Pueblo’s own tribal funds, as well as donations from professional golfers Mike Weir and Jeev Milkha Singh and an anonymous donor.
The NB3 Foundation and Pueblo tribe hope that funding for additional landscaping, a playground, more walking trails and pavilions can be secured in the coming years, further diversifying the activity options the park can offer the Pueblo.
For more information about the NB3 Foundation, go to www.nb3foundation.com
For more information about the NB3 Challenge, go to www.nb3challenge.com
For more information about Notah Begay III, go to www.notah.com