KaBOOM! and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Announce Play Everywhere Challenge Winners to Create More Play Opportunities for Kids Link copied!

August 14, 2018

Washington D.C.

Today, KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play, and the Built to Play Initiative, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced winners of the Play Everywhere Challenge. The Challenge awards 23 grantees a total of $1 million across Western New York and Southeast Michigan to create lasting, scalable design installations that will provide more opportunities to play for the kids who need it most.

The Play Everywhere Challenge is a call for innovative design ideas that make it easier for families to incorporate play into their everyday routines. Selected grantees submitted ideas to help communities reimagine public spaces and provide innovative opportunities for kids to play along the way – such as implementing swings at bus stops or play zones at laundromats.

Examples of playful projects coming to these areas include:

  • A warm-weather sledding installation called Palmer Coast complete with ramps and various types of sleds located at Palmer Park in Port Huron, MI that will provide kids and families with a fun activity in warmer months
  • An installation called Links and Crosses bringing an 18-hole public art nano-sized golf course in Erie County, NY
  • A soccer installation in Dearborn, MI called Play it Forward ‘n Graham Soccer Park! featuring soccer obstacle courts, crocheted hoops, and climbing structures
  • A one-mile loop called Voyage of Discovery – Adventure Loop Trail complete with graphic art design and outdoor instruments in West Buffalo, NY

The Built to Play Initiative answers a need identified through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s work with the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program on each region’s “State of Play” assessment, and through research conducted by and KaBOOM!, which shows that while play is an essential factor in childhood development, there are far too many kids who lack opportunities for great, safe spaces to play – especially in rural and low-income neighborhoods.

“Play is an essential part of childhood, and all kids should have opportunities to play regardless of where they live or their family’s income,” said James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!. “The more kids play, the more likely they are able to grow up happy, healthy and resilient. We are grateful to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for opening the doors for all kids to have the childhood they deserve through play.”

The projects implemented through the Play Everywhere Challenge will help families make play the easy choice and support kids in getting the physical activity they need to thrive.

“While sports can be a great way for kids to be physically active, there’s also a strong need for kids to have more unstructured ‘free play’ in their daily lives,” said Jim Boyle, vice president of programs & communications, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “We can’t wait to see these well-designed and creative playspaces get built by communities across Southeast Michigan and Western New York for all kids to enjoy.”

Through the Play Everywhere Challenge and the creation of unique playgrounds this year, the Built to Play Initiative will create more than 27 new playspaces that reach thousands of kids in Western New York and Southeast Michigan by September 2019.

Learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge and view a gallery of grant winners from across Western New York and Southeast Michigan.