Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

January 2019

Partnership Aims to Expand Play Opportunities

By Dave Ramont

KaBOOM! is a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing all children with fun, safe places to play—especially those kids living in poverty. They believe that there’s a play deficit in America, pointing out that only one In four kids in the United States are getting the recommended daily amount of physical activity. They also feel that play is an equity issue; many kids have no safe places to play, and under-resourced schools have had to cut physical education and recess. Not to mention that kids from all backgrounds are simply getting too much screen time.

Recently, KaBOOM! and the CarMax Foundation announced a partnership renewal with the goal of bringing innovative play opportunities to another 170,000 kids by the end of 2021. The CarMax Foundation is pledging an additional investment of $4.4 million to assist KaBOOM! in transforming the future of play for those kids who need it most. A new program that will invest in innovation—including the research and development of new play experiences—will also be funded by the CarMax Foundation.

James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!, said they’re thrilled to continue their partnership with the CarMax Foundation for another three years. “The CarMax Foundation is a powerful champion for kids across America, creating wonderful opportunities for kids in need of play. The commitment and enthusiasm of CarMax associates is unsurpassed, and great things happen when they roll up their sleeves as volunteers to create playspaces in the communities where they live, work and play.”

The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM! look to create 68 new playspaces, including 24 playgrounds, beginning in January 2019. Other goals include the continuation of support for military communities using grants during a Military Week of Play; providing spaces for all kids to play sports by investing in sports courts, a new offering from KaBOOM!; and deploying Rigamajigs, KaBOOM!’s building kits, which are a collection of wooden planks, nuts, bolts, wheels, pulleys and rope. These kits promote problem-solving skills and creative thinking through hands-on free play.

The two groups also plan to team up on research and development projects to innovate play for the future, particularly for kids from underserved and economically-challenged communities. “Our associates across the country will impact countless families by encouraging kids to be creative and curious through play,” said Matt Aman, president of the CarMax Foundation. “Expanding our partnership with KaBOOM! with a renewed focus on innovation is a natural fit for our transformational culture.”

KaBOOM! pairs funding partners with under-resourced communities who join together to build safe playgrounds. They also provide mobile playgrounds that can move from site to site, helping cities to transform everyday spaces like sidewalks, vacant lots and bus stops into great spaces for play. To date KaBOOM! has built more than 3,000 playgrounds, built or improved more than 17,000 playspaces and engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers, serving more than 9 million kids.

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