You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that there should be fewer playgrounds for children. But with public funds spread thin in many communities, positive feelings toward playgrounds don’t always translate into enough playgrounds being built. That’s why some communities have taken matters into their own hands and created charities with the express purpose of building public playgrounds.
In the spirit of the holiday season, read on for some examples of public playgrounds created by charity efforts and the basics on how it happens.
Tillery Park Playground
In 2007, the Friends of Tillery Park came together as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to help fill a void they saw in the Fort Worth community—a public playground for Tillery Park. By recruiting playground designers, fundraising, and rallying volunteers to help with the planning and construction of the playground, the Friends of Tillery Park were able to raise over $175,000 and use the help of 1,200 volunteers to construct a new playground.
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit founded to promote play spaces for children across America. Their mission is to solve the “Play Deficit,” described as a lack of play that causes children physical, intellectual, social, and emotional harm, manifested in obesity, ADHD, violence, stunted creative development, lack of green spaces, and more.
KaBOOM! has built over 2,000 playgrounds throughout the country since it built its first playground in 1995. By partnering with corporations, foundations, individuals, and local communities, KaBOOM! raises the funds and support it needs to build play spaces in communities that need them most.
Not all charity playground building efforts happen on US soil. Playground Builders is an organization dedicated to building playgrounds in war-torn areas, providing safe places for children to play. Since their beginnings in 2007 they have built about 20 playgrounds per year. Playground Builders contracts local workers and uses local supplies in these communities in order to promote their economies and workforces.
How to Get Involved
Many grants are available through corporations and local governments—a large list of them is available here, on the Rules of the Playground website. Organizations like KaBOOM! go where they’re needed to help build playgrounds, but you can also replicate this on a smaller level by teaming up with community partners. Through donations and volunteer efforts, your community can build its own playground.
Through charity efforts, many underserved communities now have great playgrounds for children who need them most.