Former NFL Super Bowl XLI Champion & Three-time Pro-Bowl Player Antoine Bethea partners with City of Newport News to establish new Community Center: SaveHaven Empowerment Center
Newport News– Three-time Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl XLI Champion, Antoine Bethea, has partnered with the City of Newport News. The Bethea Family Foundation has joined forces with the City to establish the SafeHaven Empowerment Community Center, located at 429 Thorncliff Drive in Newport News. Phase One of the Center is expected to be completed over the next several months, allowing the Center to open to the public this summer.
Of the partnership, Bethea stated, “I, along with my wife, Samantha, and our children, are proud to give back to the city who gave so much to me. There is a need for this Community Center, located in the North District (Uptown) of Newport News. We are excited to be able to give the entire community access to what we believe will change and empower lives.”
During the December 12, 2023 City Council meeting, Newport News Mayor, Phillip Jones, introduced and welcomed Mr. Bethea, saying:
“…A retired NFL football player, longtime Newport News resident, Denbigh High School graduate, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who has contributed to our community. On behalf of the Council, we express heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Bethea for his steadfast commitment of giving back. His impact is evident in the effort that resulted in the establishment of the beautiful Bethea Basketball court, situated just outside the Denbigh Community Center. We look forward to the continued partnership and Mr. Bethea’s unwavering support for the community that holds a special place in his heart.”
In his address to Council, Bethea said:
“Thank you for supporting me and my mission- just to be the best that I can be for Newport News, Virginia… especially being able to have the platform to give hope to the youth in Newport News. (This Center is) not only for the youth, but for all citizens. With this facility, I feel like this can be a safe haven and empowerment center for the people of Newport News.”
The City of Newport News Council voted 7-0 to approve the partnership between the city and the Bethea Family Foundation. The building was acquired by the City late last year and plans are underway to spend more than $1 million for much needed repairs and improvements.
The SafeHaven Empowerment Center will include technology and computer labs, an e-gaming room, music studio, culinary kitchen, clothes closet, barbershop/hair salon, updates to the indoor pool, extensive upgrades to the indoor basketball courts, and designated space for mental health offices. Exterior plans for the building include a turf field and gazabo near the separate entrance for the mental health offices.
Establishing “The Bethea Family Foundation,” with his wife, Samantha Romantini Bethea in 2010, Antoine has contributed more than $500,000 to youth serving organizations, positively effecting more than 20,000 youth. In 2020, the Bethea’s and their foundation gifted Mr. Bethea’s hometown City of Newport News, VA with a basketball court.
The 14-year NFL Veteran was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. Heading into his 15th season in the NFL, Bethea led all Defense Backs in tackles in 2018. The Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals Walter Payton Man of The Year recipient, Bethea’s journey has been of the ultimate underdog. DUring his tenure with the NFL, Bethea played for the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and New York Giants.
Contact for Mr. Bethea: Susan Oglinsky, Blue Heron Enterprises
Contact for the City of Newport News:
Kim Bracy, Communications and Media Relations Manager