KaBOOM! Founder and CEO, Darell Hammond, was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs in the world. In determining their inaugural Impact 30 list of people using business to solve the world's most pressing social problems, Forbes turned to a panel of experts to "identify the leading innovators across health, education, finance and other sectors."
In selecting Hammond they not only recognized his unique talents in building a movement to save play, but also that play is critical to the health and well-being of our children. In fact, Jill Vialet, CEO and Founder of frequent KaBOOM! partner, Playworks, also made the list, further illustrating the growing momentum around the cause of play.
George Mohacsi is the President and CEO of Foresters, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families. Foresters and KaBOOM! began their partnership in 2006 when the organizations built four playgrounds across the U.S.
Since then, the partnership has grown tremendously - Foresters has committed more than $7 million to KaBOOM!, with nearly 100 playgrounds being built across the U.S. and Canada by 2013. Foresters has also become a KaBOOM! National Partner and a founding member of the KaBOOM! Leadership Circle—a group of organizations providing long-term guidance and support to KaBOOM!.
Mohacsi and KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond sat down to talk about Foresters commitment to KaBOOM! and why Foresters believes in creating opportunities for families to spend quality time together. Below is a snippet from the interview. The full version can be read here.
Darell: George, I’d like to start by letting you know that everyone at KaBOOM! is so pleased with our partnership, to say nothing of the many children and families our playgrounds will eventually serve. I’m curious to know what first motivated you and your team to support KaBOOM.
George: Thanks Darell—we are excited as well. Foresters is all about families. Everything we do – from our valuable member benefits, to our support for charitable partners like KaBOOM!, right down to the financial security provided by our insurance products – ties directly to our purpose of enhancing the well-being of families and communities.
An important element of well-being is family time. So, it’s important for us to create opportunities for families to spend time together, to play and to be active – which is exactly what we’re doing in our partnership with KaBOOM! Plus, we invite our members – Foresters customers – out to volunteer at the builds, allowing them to enjoy family time while making a difference.
Darell: I’ve been struck by the commitment of Foresters volunteers and their spirit and enthusiasm at playground builds—it’s absolutely contagious. As you know, KaBOOM! has worked hard to continually innovate our community-build process. I enjoyed mixing cement with you at our build in Toronto and would love to hear about your impressions on building a playground with us.
George: I have loved attending builds! The build site just comes alive with everyone shoveling mulch, building benches and putting together the playground. And with our fun, family activities, it’s great that kids can get involved too. This allows families to spend the day together.
I must also say that I am continuously amazed by how KaBOOM! is able to coordinate bringing hundreds of volunteers together to work in unison to build an amazing place to play in less than eight hours. It truly provides such as sense of accomplishment for me, as well for our volunteers.
We are proud to announce that our CEO and Founder Darell Hammond has been recognized as a U.S. Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship! Darell joins a global network of leading social entrepreneurs from over 40 countries.
Schwab is recognizing Darell for pioneering our innovative community build model, which mobilizes communities in need around creating safe places to play. KaBOOM! has not only directly implemented this model in over 2,000 communities across North America, but we have also made our tools and resources available for anyone to access online, enabling thousands of DIY playground-building projects.
Darell is being recognized alongside Elizabeth Hausler of BuildChange, which is changing practices of home building in earthquake-prone regions like China, Indonesia and Haiti, and Dan Viederman of Verité, which ensures that people around the world work under safe, fair, and legal conditions.
"Despite working in very different sectors, these organizations share one thing in common," says Mirjam Schoning, Senior Director, Head of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. "They have developed strategic partnerships with the private and public sector to solve social problems. By developing innovative models that combine the strengths of government, business and civil society, they are able to accelerate their social impact, delivering better results for more people as cost-effectively as possible."
Exciting news -- KaBOOM! was featured on the Today Show this morning! Reported by Jenna Bush Hager, the segment profiled our 2,000 playground builds and our CEO and Founder Darell Hammond's bestselling book, KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.
Jenna Bush Hager and a film crew visited a KaBOOM! playground in Philadelphia and spoke to KaBOOM! alumnus Imanni Wilkes. The crew then traveled to Mooseheart, the group home where Darell lived from age four to 18, and captured Darell talking to the kids who are current residents of the "child city."
The crew also visited Lawrence, Mass. on June 9, 2011 to see a KaBOOM! playground build in action.
The Today Show producer says the segment is one of their best and brought tears of joy to production staff and editors. Watch it now!
Suddenly, everyone is talking about play – and that’s because our Founder and CEO’s memoir, KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play, is a national bestseller!
KaBOOM! is number 4 on The New York Times Bestseller list, number 7 on The Wall Street Journal Bestseller List, number 49 on the USA Today Bestseller list. When the book launched on April 26, it also ranked number one on Amazon.com!
This exciting exposure gives us a unique opportunity to introduce folks across the country to our movement to save play. It’s our goal to move the national conversation about play to mass community-based action. We want to see moms, dads, educators, and advocates like you improving and building local playgrounds, mapping the state of play in your community, and rallying to save play for your neighborhood children.
Get started by hosting a book party to get your friends and neighbors talking about play! Download our DIY Book Party Toolkit.
American Institute for Public Service
100 West 10th Street, Suite 215
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Darell Hammond to Receive 2008 National Jefferson Award
WASHINGTON D.C., - Darell Hammond will receive the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 7 p.m. in East Hall, Union Station. Selected by the Jefferson Awards’ prestigious board of selectors, Darell was chosen for a 2008 Jefferson Award for his advocacy on issues concerning children and community redevelopment.
Darell grew up with seven brothers and sisters at Mooseheart, a group home outside of Chicago. At Mooseheart, Darell witnessed first hand the amazing contribution volunteers could make in the life of a child and decided to dedicate himself to volunteer service.
In August 1995, shortly after moving to Washington, D.C., 24-year-old Darell Hammond read a story in the Washington Post about two local children who suffocated in an abandoned car because they didn’t have anywhere else to play. Darell, who had previously helped build several playgrounds for other organizations, realized this tragedy could have been prevented and started KaBOOM!, a national non-profit that empowers communities to build playgrounds. KaBOOM! organizes communities and provides them with an achievable win by leading them in building a playground in one day using all-volunteer labor. Once communities have completed a KaBOOM!-led playground build, they’re able to take the knowledge they’ve gained from the process to take on other projects. Since its inception in 1995, KaBOOM! has raised more than $100 million and rallied more than 241,000 volunteers to support the cause of play.
Today, KaBOOM! is recognized as a leader among social entrepreneurial organizations and Darell has become a well-known spokesperson for the cause of play. KaBOOM! and Darell have won numerous awards for national service, innovation and leadership including: Honorary Doctorate, Ripon College; Children's Mental Health Award, NARSAD; President's Volunteer Service Award; Power and Influence Top 50, non-profit Times; Washingtonian of the Year, Washingtonian magazine; 40 under 40, Crain's Chicago Business ; and the Making a Difference Award, Diet Coke.
In addition to his work with KaBOOM!, Darell serves on the Board of Directors of Independent Sector and Hands on Network and in 2003 was elected as an Ashoka Fellow for being a leader in social entrepreneurship.
ABOUT THE JEFFERSON AWARDS
In 1972, the Jefferson Awards for Public Service were founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard to create a Nobel Prize for public and community service. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients are a “Who’s Who” of American history makers. Four Supreme Court Justices have been honored including Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor; seven Secretaries of State including Cyrus Vance and Colin Powell; three first ladies: Barbara Bush, Rosalyn Carter and Betty Ford; as well as Alan Greenspan, Bob Hope and Lance Armstrong, among over 100 others.
Through Jefferson Awards Champions, the Jefferson Awards honors outstanding employees and retirees who volunteer. We currently work with nearly 30 organizations across America on the Champions program. Through the Jefferson Awards Media Partners we honor grassroots unsung heroes. Working together with 135 Media Partners in 76 DMA’s we honor these unsung heroes all across America. Through the Jefferson Awards Youth Service Initiative we are working in America’s High Schools to double student volunteerism in America.