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CoBank donates $10,000 to help Revitalize Ripon athletic stadium
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RIPON — Ripon Community Athletic Foundation has received $10,000 from CoBank on behalf of David S. Phippen, a member of the cooperative bank’s board of directors, to help renovate the high school stadium. Phippen is an almond grower and co-owner of an almond processing company who lives in Ripon. He also is director of the Almond Board of California and the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau. 

The athletic foundation was formed in 2007 with the goal of raising funds to update the more than 70-year-old stadium, the only one in town that is used by athletes of all ages. The first phase of the project, which has focused on building the needed infrastructure for the remodel, is nearly complete. CoBank’s donation, which was matched dollar for dollar by a family in the community, helped pay for the installation of sidewalks – something the stadium has never had. 

“We are so grateful for this donation that has helped us continue to rebuild an outdated and unsafe stadium complex,” said Stephanie Hobbs, president and founder of the Ripon Community Athletic Foundation. “Our boys’ soccer team got to play a home game “at home” for the first time this year. The renovation has definitely raised the morale of the school and community.”

Hundreds of vendors already have donated supplies and services to this effort, cutting the cost of the project in more than half. The foundation continues to raise money for the second phase of the project, which will cost more than $1.25 million for an all-weather track, bleachers, and bathrooms.

“This is so important for our young athletes as well as the community and I’m proud that CoBank has contributed to this worthy cause,” said Phippen, whose business has provided equipment and financial support to the foundation. “This isn’t just a stadium, it’s also a social center, and everyone, including downtown businesses, will benefit from this project.”

The contribution is part of CoBank’s corporate giving program, which allows employees and board members to direct bank donations to their choice of non-profit organizations and programs. Through the program, CoBank donated more than $1.2 million last year to benefit local communities where its employees and directors live and work.