FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and KaBOOM! Partner Again with Leading Organizations to Help Build More Equitable Places to Play in Detroit's Palmer Park

Following last year's successful playground build in Stein Park, local city and community leaders unite again to ensure even more kids have a great, new space to play

WASHINGTON, DC (April 22, 2019) — 

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the City of Detroit, The Skillman Foundation, General Motors and the Quicken Loans Community Fund will join KaBOOM! for the second time to build a playground and help ensure all kids have a safe place to play. The new playground will help make play the easy choice for kids and families in Detroit to enjoy, an area that has experienced years of disinvestment – particularly in communities of color – that has led to inequitable access to play.

The group first partnered in Detroit’s Cody Rouge neighborhood to build a playground last year in Stein Park, which brought together hundreds of volunteers from the community and partner organizations. The Stein Park project introduced a playground, and also an innovative, challenging adventure course, designed to meet the needs of older kids – helping them to continue to discover, explore and collaborate through play. Based on that positive community impact, the partners are working together again as part of a continued effort to address the unmet need for more equitable and safe playspaces for kids in the Detroit area. This project is part of a broader, collective effort to help redevelop neighborhoods across Detroit through creating more kid-centric spaces for families.

The playground will be built in August. The project begins with Design Day in May, where kids from the community surrounding Palmer Park will come together to draw their dream playground. The final playground design will be based on their drawings and will provide a community with more than 1,000 kids with a great, safe place to play.

“We are excited to once again partner with KaBOOM! and these local leaders to bring safe play areas to kids in their neighborhoods,” said James Boyle, Vice President of Programs and Communications at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Every child deserves access to equitable, safe and creative play spaces. It’s important that we meet them where they are.”

“Play is not a luxury, but an essential part of childhood that helps all grow up happy, healthy and resilient. We know that many kids across Detroit aren’t getting the play they need to thrive,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “We are thrilled to partner with these local leaders 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 and our partners for opening the doors for all kids to have the childhood they deserve through play.”

This is the sixth playground to be built as part of a broader effort led by the Built to Play Initiative, sponsored by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, that is to give kids more opportunities for free play through the construction of over 40 innovative play spaces and 20 skateparks in Western New York and Southeast Michigan; and KaBOOM!’s second project with The Skillman Foundation, General Motors and the Quicken Loans Community Fund.

Contact:
KaBOOM!: Tamara Grider | 202-464-6196 | tgrider@kaboom.org
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation: Carly Strachan | 313-885-1895 | carly.strachan@rcwjrf.org

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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 www.rcwjrf.org.

About The Skillman Foundation
A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that champions Detroit youth. The Skillman Foundation works to build equitable opportunities working alongside its partners and the community at large to strengthen k-12 education, afterschool programming, and college and career pathways for Detroit youth. For more information, visit a href="https://www.skillman.org"www.skillman.org.

About General Motors
General Motors is committed to fostering smart, safe and sustainable communities around the world. Our social investments promote economic growth through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, vehicle and road safety and community development. There are four areas of investment: STEM Education, Vehicle and Road Safety, Community Development and Detroit (or hometown giving). Their investment in play infrastructures intersects with STEM learning, hometown giving and Community Development – specifically sustainable communities. Our collaboration with GM commenced this year in Detroit when we launched our STEM Learning Through Creative Play program. We observed children, teachers, educators and volunteers interact with Rigamajig, one of the KaBOOM! Creative Play products; this was very successful and has led to additional conversations with GM program officers, as well as other child-serving organizations in Detroit. Our partnership is now growing to markets outside of Detroit – GM is investing in 2 playground builds and 2 Creative Play product grants in their key markets. Their upcoming builds will focus on sustainability and livability among GM communities (which falls under their Community Development pillar). Their goal is to increase the number of positive promotors that makeup a community’s quality of life (places for kids to play is one!); it is very important that we are evaluating the impact of our programs to ensure a return on their investment.

About Quicken Loans Community Fund
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest mortgage lender. Its strategy focuses on investments in housing stability, entrepreneurship, education and employment, public space activation, and community sponsorships in Detroit. Through its for-more-than-profit model, the Quicken Loans Community Fund brings together for-profit businesses and non-profit investments, as the two are inextricably linked in revitalizing our future. The team is dedicated to investing alongside community partners throughout the Rock Family of Companies’ home cities: Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, and Phoenix. Over the last two years alone, the Quicken Loans Community Fund has invested over $50 million in the Detroit community through investments in housing stability, entrepreneurship, education & employment and public space activation. The Quicken Loans Community Fund has organized team members to provide more than 500,000 volunteer hours nationwide, including 350,000 in Detroit. It is a proud sponsor of numerous programs, including Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day, an entrepreneurial competition; the Built for Zero initiative, which aims to end chronic and veteran homelessness; and the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, which educates local homeowners in danger of losing their home to tax foreclosure by providing resources, knowledge, and workshops about property tax exemptions.

The Quicken Loans Community Fund believes in doing well by doing good, and taking an active role in the improvement of the cities and neighborhoods Quicken Loans team members call home. As a direct result of its efforts, 98% of Quicken Loans employees stated they feel good about the ways the Quicken Loans Community Fund contributes to the community, according to a 2018 survey by Great Place to Work. For more information, visit QuickenLoans.org. For-More-Than-Profit booklet here.

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve nearly 10 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom, facebook.com/kaboom, and instagram.com/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids