KaBOOM! and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Kick-off the Play Everywhere Challenge to Build More Equitable, Kid-Friendly Communities

As a part of the newly launched Built to Play Initiative, $720,000 in grants will be awarded across Western New York and Southeast Michigan for creative ideas that incorporate play into everyday life in unexpected places

Washington D.C. (March 5, 2018) · 

Today, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play, kicked off the Play Everywhere Challenge, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation through its Built to Play initiative. The Challenge will award grant winners a total of $720,000 across Western New York and Southeast Michigan to create lasting, scalable design installations that will provide more opportunities to play for the kids who need it most.

The well-being of communities starts with the well-being of kids, and play is critical to their physical, cognitive, creative, social and emotional development. It’s how kids learn how to problem-solve, think creatively and build relationships, all important life skills in adulthood. But while it is an essential factor in development, far too many kids are missing out on the chance to play. Many families struggle to find the time to incorporate play into their daily routines, and adequate, convenient playspaces can be hard to come by in many communities. The projects implemented through the Play Everywhere Challenge will help make play the easy choice for families and support kids in getting the physical activity they need to thrive.

“Great places to play are a necessity for all kids to grow up happy, healthy and resilient,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “We want to ensure that the kids who are often overlooked have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We are grateful to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for serving as a leader in supporting innovative projects that will help ALL kids get the childhood they deserve filled with play.”

The Play Everywhere Challenge, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a call for innovative design ideas that make it easier for families to incorporate play into their everyday routines. Potential grantees have the opportunity to reimagine where and how play can happen in communities, from sidewalks and vacant lots to bus stops, open streets and beyond.

“As part of the Built to Play initiative, we are thrilled to work with KaBOOM! to create more opportunities for kid-driven free play,” said Jim Boyle, Vice President of Programs & Communication, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “We are excited to see the creative, innovative ideas that are shared across Western New York and Southeast Michigan to support the kids with the greatest need.”

The Play Everywhere Challenge is part of a broader effort led by the Built to Play initiative intended to give kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan more opportunities for free play. Through the Play Everywhere Challenge and the creation of unique playgrounds this year, the Built to Play initiative will create more than 20 new playspaces for kids that reach thousands of kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan.

Applications will be accepted from March 5 through May 11, 2018. Applicants can be government entities, non-profits or individuals/groups who have partnered with them. We invite applicants from the following regions to participate: Southeast Michigan – Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe and St. Clair counties; and Western New York – Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe and Wyoming counties. Learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge, including a gallery of winning ideas from cities across the U.S.

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.'s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson's desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids. To learn about our goal to end playspace inequity for good, visit and join the conversation at,, and