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About our founder

Darell Hammond

Darell Hammond is the founder of KaBOOM!, and served as CEO for 20 years. Through his leadership, he inspired communities across the country to make it easier for all kids to get the play they need to grow up happy, resilient and ready for life. Today, KaBOOM! has grown to build or restore more than 17,000 playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million volunteers and serve more than 9 million kids.

Hammond holds two honorary doctorate degrees, was named an Ashoka Fellow and is listed as one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes Magazine. He has been awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service, American Express NGEN Leadership Award, Satter Social Entrepreneur of the Year from NYU Stern School of Business, and Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation.

Currently, Hammond serves as a senior advisor for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, where he focuses on innovations in public space, data management and advocacy to benefit under-resourced kids. He lives in Tirana, Albania and advises the Mayor there on parks and recreation issues, and implementing the Tirana2030 Masterplan.

KaBOOM!: A Movement To Save Play

To help further the conversation and educate Americans about the importance of play in kids' lives, Hammond wrote KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play (Rodale, April 2011). Available for purchase on Amazon and IndieBound (with 100% of author proceeds going to KaBOOM!), his powerful story is the tale of a man, and a movement, both born out of tragedy. In this social entrepreneur's inspiring journey, readers are instructed on how to take action in their own communities and given tangible steps to make a difference.

Hammond's story demonstrates how one idealist can change the world and how small, civic-minded steps can create a ripple effect that can transform communities and eventually the world. From growing up in a group home, to founding the national non-profit dedicated to ensuring America's kids have great places to play, KaBOOM! is more than just a memoir. It is a call for action that inspires through challenging traditional notions of community and social change.