Hall of Fame Running Back Curtis Martin to bring new synthetic turf youth development park to Pittsburgh


Together with Group1001 and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, the new field will provide local youth with a clean, safe place to learn, play and grow

Pittsburgh, PA
September 18, 2018

The City of Pittsburgh, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and Dan Towriss, CEO of Group1001, today announced plans to design and construct a new youth athletic field in honor of Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin. Located near the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh where Martin grew up, the new multi-sport synthetic turf field will be used for football, soccer and baseball/softball and provide local youth with a safe place to play.

The new field will be made possible thanks in part to a generous $5 million donation to the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation from Towriss and Group1001, used to build a total of ten Youth Development Parks over five years in 10 cities across the country.  Each field will receive up to $500,000 in funding from Group1001 and will support the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation's MLB RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) partnership, designed to provide baseball and softball league-play for underserved youth, as well as other youth serving organizations. Since 2010, the Ripken Foundation has 78 completed parks across the country in 22 states and Washington D.C., impacting over 280,000 kids annually.

The overall Stargell Field revitalization project comes after three years of planning by grassroots organization Homewood Community Sports (HCS), led by Mubarik Ismaeli. HCS has been in existence since the 1960s and has been a place of refuge for youth and families for decades.

This organization begun as a local football team in the Homewood area of Pittsburgh and expanded to include baseball, basketball, wrestling, rugby, track & field, and boxing. Each sports program has a goal to attach an HCS Mentor to follow the youth's academic and sport progress. HCS serves 300-400 kids in the inner city neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in any given year. The youth in the organization are excited about the possibility of having a youth field that will rival any community in Allegheny County.

Peduto, Martin, Towriss

Photo (left to right): Mayor William Peduto; Curtis Martin, Dan Towriss

"Our commitment to making a meaningful impact and empowering local communities remains central to our mission," said Dan Towriss, CEO, Group1001. "We are grateful to be able to partner with Curtis Martin, the Ripken Foundation, and the City of Pittsburgh in such an important project that will positively impact thousands of youth for many years to come."

Curtis Martin was on hand at the City-Council Building to announce the commitment, alongside Mayor William Peduto; Dan Towriss, CEO, Group1001; Steve Salem, president & CEO, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation; and Mubarik Ismaeli, president, Homewood Community Sports. Martin attended Taylor Allderdice High School (PA) and played a variety of sports before attending the University of Pittsburgh where he propelled his football career to the next level. Martin played 12 seasons in the National Football League with the New England Patriots and New York Jets. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.

"It is an incredible feeling to come back home and be able to give the kids of Homewood the gift that sports gave me – a sense of belonging, the power of hard work, accountability and how to lift each other up when times are tough," said Curtis Martin. "This is an exciting day for the community and I can't wait to get everyone out on the field."

Pittsburgh joins Baltimore as one the first projects to begin development resulting from Group1001's generous donation and commitment to youth across the country. Future projects are planned for communities in Washington D.C., Austin, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Detroit, Seattle, South Florida, and the New York City area.

"Pittsburgh is very proud to be part of this initiative, and thrilled to welcome back the city's own Curtis Martin," Mayor William Peduto said.

The Ripken Foundation's Youth Development Park initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promotes healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In 2017, the Ripken Foundation impacted nearly 1.4 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Parks and mentor programs.

"Today is the start of something special for the kids and community of Pittsburgh and Homewood. Thanks to the incredible support of Dan Towriss and Group1001, and the passion of Curtis Martin, a new generation will soon be able to play sports and grow, while learning life lessons both on and off the field," said Ripken. "There are many communities that celebrate and cherish the positive impact of sports, but none more than Pittsburgh, which is why we're so excited to bring a Youth Development Park to this city," added Steve Salem, president and CEO of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.

Link to Digital Press Kit (includes photos from announcement):

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
For the last 17 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs and create parks that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed activities to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 – 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.

The Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has 78 completed parks across the country in 22 states, impacting over 280,000 kids annually. In 2017, the Ripken Foundation impacted nearly 1.4 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit www.RipkenFoundation.org. Follow @CalRipkenSrFdn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Group1001
Group1001 is a customer-centric insurance holding company with combined assets under management of approximately $37 billion as of December 31, 2017. We are reimagining the insurance industry experience in ways that empower people financially and help them live better lives. Our mission as a group is to make insurance more useful, intuitive and accessible so everyone can get the most value from their money.

Group1001 believes education and sports have the power to transform communities. We partner with Fields & Futures and the Cal Ripken Sr Foundation to revitalize sports fields in communities across the country, to provide safe and nurturing spaces for young people in the communities we serve. Group1001 also sponsors the Power of Sports, which celebrates powerful stories of people and organizations connecting through sports while driving positive social change for children and communities across the U.S.

For more information about Group1001, please visit us at Group1001.com.


Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
Katy Ford 
Maroon PR/CRSF 

Media Contacts

Group1001: Louise Thach