S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center

S.A.Y. Detroit, in partnership with the City of Detroit, and Score7 Charitable Fund (Matthew Stafford’s Charitable Foundation), revealed plans for a new Academics and Sports Program, called the S.A.Y. Play Center (Sports, Academics, Youth).

Taking over the recreation center in Lipke Park (previously closed due to budget cuts) and spanning 14.2 acres, the new S.A.Y. Play Center will take a unique approach to Motivational Learning, offering top flight athletic facilities and access to professional athletes such as Matthew Stafford–but only if participants (students aged 8 to 18) maintain a certain grade point average and school attendance or enroll in the daily tutoring program on site.

The S.A.Y. Play Center, which will eventually serve all of Detroit, will initially work with nearby schools to monitor the progress of students and ensure they are meeting the entrance standards, plus identify the areas in which they need work. Those below the grade point and attendance standards will be eligible for on-site tutoring and mentoring. If they put in the hours in the Academic Center, the athletic programs will be available to them. There will also be programming for dance and music, including plans for a recording studio funded by Notes For Notes, a national educational music organization.

The overall investment in the 10-year revitalization plan is estimated at $10 million, including a Capital Investment of $2.5 million. This includes an investment of $675,000 by the City of Detroit ($425,000 being a DNR Grant), and seven-figure commitment from the Score7 Foundation. The plan will be presented soon to the Detroit City Council.

S.A.Y. Detroit will immediately begin repairs and refurbishing of the facility. The City of Detroit will lease the property to S.A.Y. Detroit on an affordable, long-term basis.An initial three-month reconstruction period through April to rebuild and refit the current facility (including replacement of stolen HVAC rooftop units), will be followed by the completion of the outdoor football/baseball/soccer fields by early summer, followed by a “soft opening” by Fall 2015.


Academic Facilities
  • A 2,500 square-foot digital learning and tutoring center, equipped with latest computer tech
  • Individual study rooms
  • Library
  • Recording Studio (through Notes for Notes® National Program) to develop music talent
Sports Facilities
  • State-of-art football field and indoor practice facility by the Matthew Stafford Foundation
  • Fully-equipped baseball field, (stands and scoreboards)
  • Full-sized soccer field & lacrosse field
  • Six indoor basketball courts, dance studio, workout room
  • Weight room, and fully-equipped boys and girls locker rooms
  • Outdoor athletic fields, when not in use for programmed activities, will be available for use to the general public

We know a huge problem in Detroit is that kids have too few places to play or study after school. This is a reason they fall behind in academics and sometimes get in trouble. We also know that for both boys and girls, there are few motivational tools better than a good gym, workout rooms and playing fields- plus the chance to meet big time athletes.

—Mitch Albom

This is a tremendous opportunity to impact our city’s young people, and make a change for the better, in their educational experience, best preparing them for college, jobs and whatever else lies ahead in their future.

—Matthew Stafford

The City of Detroit did much better this year by maintaining more than 300 parks this past summer, but still lacked the resources to address facilities as large as Lipke. Thanks to this partnership, and with the support of the surrounding Community, young people in Detroit will have a place to learn and play that is beyond anything our city has had before.

—Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

The Lipke Rec Center had been an anchor in the Van Dyke and Outer Drive community for decades and has served three generations of youth.  Having it sit vacant over the last year and half has been very hard on the surrounding neighborhoods. Having worked with the Mayor and 3rd District constituents on reopening Lipke Park, I am excited to see this facility being brought back to life as an athletic and educational campus for our Detroit youth.

—Councilman Scott Benson (Dist. 3)

This is a quality of life issue for us. It gives our kids a safe and healthy place to play in our neighborhood.

—Karen Washington, Chairperson of the Board of We Care about Van Dyke/7 Mile, neighborhood organization


The Problem

  • Due to budget cuts, Detroit has had to close nearly all of its recreation centers, leaving its children with few options after school
  • Also due to budget cuts, Detroit Public Schools has eliminated a huge number of once-traditional afterschool activities, leaving students with few options
  • Research shows that from third grade to high school graduation, time spent after school doing homework, improving academics and growing socially are harbingers of college and career success. Those harbingers are shockingly scarce right now in the city of Detroit

The Solution

  • Create a first-class multipurpose facility that serves the academic, social and physical fitness needs of underserved youth – and provides a positive after-school, weekend and summer destination
  • Offer top athletic facilities and engagement with pro athletes to young people ages 8 to 18 willing to maintain a GPA and school attendance that bolsters their chances at graduation, college and employment opportunities
  • Partner with professional sports teams and high-profile personalities, the Center will work with local school systems to identify kids needing help and monitor their success
About Score7


Score7 Charitable Fund is a 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation, established by Matthew Stafford for the purpose of providing opportunities through educational enrichment, mentoring, leadership initiatives, and sports activities for school-aged boys and girls of all backgrounds throughout the country.

About Notes for Notes

n4n-logo-50pxNotes for Notes® is a non-profit organization which builds, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios packed with guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ gear, digital music stations and full recording studios offering youth completely FREE access to explore, create, and record music. The organization currently has six of its after-school studios in communities around the country with another six on the way in 2015. The new Detroit studio is supported by an incredibly generous community of local and national companies, artists, and foundations who believe in supporting the youth of this amazing city. To learn more, visit notesfornotes.org

About S.A.Y. Detroit

Say Detroit LogoS.A.Y. Detroit, formed in February 2006, is a fully formed 501(c) (3) charity aimed at improving the lives of the neediest citizens, through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts and education. It serves as the umbrella for ongoing major projects including A Time to Help, S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic, and Working Homes/Working Families, and funds dozens of projects for Detroit-area Agencies.   To learn more about S.A.Y. Detroit, click here.

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