New Read-Dunning Youth Development Park Opens in Chicago

The multi-sport, synthetic turf field will provide local youth with a safe place to learn, play and compete

Chicago, Ill – The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and Group1001 partnered with the Chicago Park District to unveil a multisport playing field at Park 580 “Read-Dunning” in the Dunning Community Area of Chicago. The new park with synthetic turf athletic field will serve the future Taft Junior High School’s athletic teams, Saint Patrick High School athletic teams, Chicago Cubs RBI, as well as community little leagues and local elementary schools, providing local youth with a safe place to learn, play and compete. 

“Being active and playing sports taught me so many valuable life lessons,” said Ripken. “Thanks to the generous donors and supporters, kids in this community will have a safe space to play sports and grow, and learn a lot of those same lessons.”

The multisport synthetic turf playing field is lined for youth baseball/softball and soccer and complete with a digital scoreboard, backstop, dugouts and fencing. The Chicago Park District will manage and maintain the field and work closely with the Ripken Foundation and other partners to create programs to engage at-risk young people. The programs will address a variety of youth development needs, which include character development, health and physical education, and culture and history.

“The completion of the Read-Dunning Youth Development Park creates limitless sports opportunities for the children and teens of this community,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Michael Kelly. Participation in organized sports has so many life, long benefits. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our partners, we’ve accomplished more than building this incredible, new facility. We’ve also made vital investments in every young person who uses this field to explore, learn and play sports.”

Read-Dunning Park was made possible through generous partners including Chicago Cubs Charities, Saint Patrick High School, and Chicago Public Schools, as well as funding support from the State of Illinois.

In addition, Read-Dunning Park was made possible as part of a generous $5 million donation to the Ripken Foundation from Dan Towriss and Group1001, used to build a total of 10 Youth Development Parks with supporting programming over five years in 10 cities across the country – including Chicago. Group1001 is dedicated to investing in the local Chicago community and greater Illinois. In addition to the field at Read-Dunning Park, Group1001’s Clear Spring Health recently announced it completed the acquisition of the Medicare business of Community Care Alliance of Illinois.

“We believe that education and sports have the power to transform communities which is why it was so important for us to support the efforts to bring this transformational park to the Dunning community,” added Towriss. 

To date, the Ripken Foundation has completed 84 multipurpose synthetic turf Youth Development Parks in 22 states and Washington D.C.  Read-Dunning Park is the second Ripken Foundation Youth Development Park in use in Chicago; Freedom Field at Marquette Park located near Chicago’s South Side opened in 2015.

Photo Credit: Francis Son Photography

Photo Credit: Francis Son Photography


About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

For the last 18 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 84 completed parks across the country in 22 states.  In 2018, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.5 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit WWW.RIPKENFOUNDATION.ORG. Follow @CalRipkenSrFdn on FACEBOOKTWITTER and INSTAGRAM.


About Group1001

Group1001 is a customer-centric insurance holding company with combined assets under management of approximately $36 billion as of September 30, 2018. 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


About Cubs Charities

Cubs Charities aims to expand baseball and softball opportunities for all Chicago children and youth by engaging kids with skilled coaches, quality programming and providing safe and accessible places to play the game. Through the Diamond Project, Cubs Charities has an opportunity to teach and empower youth to strive for their best with a focus on coaching, education and civic engagement opportunities. Since 2014, the Diamond Project has invested more than $7.5 million to fund 60 capital improvement projects, 59 youth programs and new sports equipment across Chicago.

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