FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON D.C. (March 15, 2016) —
KaBOOM! announced today a national competition that will award $1 million in prizes for the best replicable, scalable innovations in city redevelopment and design that help make play easy, available and fun for kids and families. The Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts, will reward applicants who provide community-driven solutions that integrate play into everyday life and unexpected places – sidewalks, vacant lots, bus stops, open streets, and beyond.
This unique, national, public-private initiative will rally applicants who share the goal of promoting daily play as key to ensuring the health and success of America's kids, particularly those growing up in poverty. The competition comes at a time when too many kids, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, are not getting the play they need to thrive. Countless studies have shown that play is critical to the health and well-being of kids, and cities are increasingly recognizing the urgency of designing communities that promote play.
"Play is not only critical to child development, it is the very essence of childhood," said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. "The Play Everywhere Challenge puts kids first by reimagining cities with kids in mind and ensuring they get the childhood they deserve filled with play."
"Making active play part of kids' daily experience is a critically important step on the path to building a national Culture of Health," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Our hope is that the Play Everywhere Challenge sparks innovative ideas in communities across America that will help make daily play a reality for all children, no matter who they are or where they live." "As Target aspires to help guests, team members, and communities lead healthier lives, we are focused on providing wellness solutions where they live, learn, work, and play," said Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer with Target. "With KaBOOM!, we are excited to kick off the Play Everywhere Challenge and hope these efforts will help inspire and enable communities to provide youth and their families access to reimagined spaces for healthy play."
Cities are becoming hotbeds of innovation and are uniquely positioned to drastically improve health outcomes for kids – and entire communities across all generations – through replicable, scalable play everywhere solutions.
"HUD is committed to ensuring that children and families, no matter where they live, have the opportunity to play outdoors," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "Through the Play Everywhere Challenge, KaBOOM! is demonstrating how cities can engage children and adults in creative play, building healthy communities and increasing safety, through collaborations with communities across the country."
"Designing innovative, boundary-pushing play equipment and believing in the transformative power of play are central to who we are as a company," said Matthew Miller, chief executive officer of Playworld. "We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with KaBOOM! and help showcase the passion in this country for creating healthier, more playful environments for children."
Jane Chu, Chairman of the NEA adds, "Creative communities are dynamic, healthy, and attractive communities. The Play Everywhere Challenge will help design places where opportunities to play lead to creative discovery for people of all ages."
More details about the challenge are at kaboom.org/playeverywhere.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
National Endowment for the Arts
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.