FOR RELEASE MARCH 13, 2008 6:00 A.M. PDST
First project kicks off today as children in San Antonio community gather to design their dream playground
March 13, 2008 – SEATTLE – This year, thousands of children across the country will get great new, safe places to play thanks to a new partnership announced today between WaMu, the nation's leading consumer and small business bank, and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds. This year-long partnership will bring together almost 2,000 corporate and community volunteers to build child-designed playgrounds in Atlanta, Chatsworth, Calif., Chicago, Jacksonville, Fla., Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle and one more city to be announced at a later date.
"It's a playful urban version of an old-fashioned barn raising," said Reza Aghamirzadeh, senior vice president of community and external affairs at WaMu. "This partnership is a perfect fit for our employees' hands-on approach to helping create strong communities. Working side by side with our neighbors to protect open spaces and build safe play places, we‘re helping to boost community pride, improve children's health, and strengthen the ties that help neighbors work better together toward shared goals."
This playground-building partnership with KaBOOM! is just one of the many ways WaMu employees are making an impact on their communities. WaMu provides 12 hours of paid time off per quarter for full-time employees to serve their communities. Last year, WaMu employees around the country volunteered 165,350 hours in support of affordable housing, financial education and community strength.
KaBOOM!, a Washington D.C. based non-profit, has helped build more than 1,300 playgrounds, skateparks, ice rinks and sports fields across North America since its inception in 1995 via its innovative community-build model.
"We're ecstatic about this partnership and excited to be working with such a great organization like Washington Mutual," KaBOOM! CEO & Co-Founder Darell Hammond said. "WaMu has consistently demonstrated its commitment to helping communities across the country. We're looking forward to working together in our efforts improve the lives of children as well as to begin inspiring communities everywhere to take positive action on behalf of children."
The playgrounds will be designed based on drawings submitted by children at Design Day events held prior to each of the builds. A locally formed playground planning committee will work closely with the two organizations to prepare for the builds, which will take place in just one day through the efforts of WaMu employees, KaBOOM! and volunteers from the local communities.
The partnership kicks off today with a Design Day in San Antonio when the children and members of the Alamo Area Mutual Housing Association and Castle Ridge Apartments will gather to design their dream playground which WaMu and KaBOOM! volunteers and community members will build together on May 17.
About Washington Mutual, Inc.
Washington Mutual, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At Dec. 31, 2007, Washington Mutual, Inc. and its subsidiaries had assets of $327.91 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate approximately 2,500 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. The company's press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com .
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,300 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, CA. For more information, visit http://www.kaboom.org.