Play Everywhere Challenge
supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Awarding $720,000 throughout Southeast Michigan and Western New York

Built to Play

KaBOOM! and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation are teaming up to give kids across Southeast Michigan and Western New York more opportunities for kid-driven free play thanks to the newly launched Built to Play initiative. Built to Play will fund the creation of unique play spaces through an exciting new design competition. This partnership will fund Build it with KaBOOM! playgrounds, built to the customized needs of each selected community and the creation of unique play spaces through the Play Everywhere Challenge.

The Play Everywhere Challenge, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, will award $720,000 in grants, ranging from $10,000 to $80,000, to winners with great ideas to integrate play into everyday life and unexpected places. Together, we are looking to transform sidewalks and vacant lots, bus stops, waiting areas and beyond through creative installations that will provide more play opportunities to kids who need it most.

Eligible regions

To be eligible for a grant, the project must be within the following regions:

Southeast Michigan counties: Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne

Western New York counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe and Wyoming

How to apply

March 5 The Play Everywhere Challenge Idea Form opens.

Interested applicants can share their Play Everywhere idea using our simple Idea Form. You'll be asked to share:

  • Description of your Play Everywhere project
  • Drawing, sketch, photomontage, digital rendering or some kind of visual depiction of the idea
  • Location of the project
  • Any additional project partners
  • A description of your community and why it's important for kids in your community to experience Play Everywhere

Please submit one Idea Form for each unique idea you have. Applicants who complete the Idea Form by April 6 will receive additional, one-on-one support and feedback from KaBOOM! to help further develop their Play Everywhere concepts.

Organizations interested in Build it with KaBOOM! grants can start an application now. Learn more about Build it with KaBOOM!.

May 11 The Idea Form closes. This is the final day to submit your Play Everywhere idea!

Submit your ideas

Consult with KaBOOM!

Need to know more before applying? Have questions about how Play Everywhere might work in your community? Get a consulting call from KaBOOM! to answer all your Play Everywhere Challenge questions. Consultations will be available beginning March 6th.

Get a consultation

What happens next?

May 21 Organizations with the best ideas will qualify as Top Candidates and will have the opportunity to submit a full application for funding. During this phase, candidates will receive technical assistance from KaBOOM! to refine their applications and submit a detailed budget, timeline, and plans for engaging the community in the design and implementation of their project. Final applications will be due June 15th.

Don't be afraid to submit more than one idea form. The more ideas you have, the better!

Past challenge winners

Need inspiration? Check out these Play Everywhere projects from across the United States.

About Built to Play

The Built to Play initative aims to give kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan more opportunities for unstructured, kid-driven free play. This need was identified in the regional "State of Play" reports conducted by the Aspen Institute and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and through research conducted by both Tony Hawk Foundation and KaBOOM!.

In addition to the Play Everywhere Challenge, Built to Play is also funding Unique Playground Builds through KaBOOM! and Community Skateparks through the Tony Hawk Foundation across both regions. Learn more about the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and these opportunities by visiting

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and KaBOOM!