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Partners in Play

At KaBOOM!, we count on the close working relationships that we share with our play equipment and safety surfacing vendors: our KaBOOM! Partners in Play. The expertise of our Partners in Play in site preparation and installation, their flexibility in the face of all weather conditions, and their enthusiasm for working with volunteers are vital to the success of our community projects.

KaBOOM! playgrounds use modular molded-plastic structures with steel supports. Although steel requires a higher initial investment than wood, over time it requires less maintenance, is more durable, and is able to withstand both weather and vandalism. KaBOOM! places a high value on appearance, color, and style: playgrounds that look fun and are fun! All KaBOOM! playgrounds also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines for accessibility. We believe in every child's right to play!

Equipment manufacturers are selected as KaBOOM! Partners in Play for a three-year period. KaBOOM! selects only vendors who meet stringent guidelines. Working with the same vendors for a three-year period means that our Project Managers gain a high level of expertise on that equipment and are prepared with all of the appropriate tools and know-how, ensuring each build is completed in one day! With few exceptions, the playground projects KaBOOM! manages will use our Partners in Play vendors. We take our responsibility to identify vendors for hundreds of communities very seriously; play value and safety are foremost in our minds and mission.

Playworld is the KaBOOM! Partner in Play for equipment through June 2018. Well-known in the industry for its level of innovation, safety, and service, this family-owned company out of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, offers state-of-the-art products to meet a wide range of community needs. From PlayCubes and RockBlocks to the award-winning PlayForm 7, Playworld playgrounds are functional and fun! Playworld supports KaBOOM! community builds with equipment and installation, and is a strong cause partner supporting the mission of increasing play for all kids. Playworld helped to fund both the Play More B’More and Play Everywhere Challenge initiatives that KaBOOM! Started in recent years.

Safety surfacing might not look fun, but anyone building a playground knows that what goes under the playground is just as important as what's happening on it. Every year, more than 200,000 children have to visit the emergency room because of playground injury, and 75 percent of those injuries are caused by falls onto inadequate or unsafe surfacing. To prevent injury and ensure full ADA accessibility (something that sand and gravel cannot do), KaBOOM! uses engineered wood-fiber and, in select cases, rubber surfacing.

Fibar Systems, Sof-Solutions and Zeager Brothers Inc. furnish safety surfacing for KaBOOM! on a playground-by-playground basis. Their specially engineered wood-fiber material prevents injury while allowing for full access for children of all physical abilities.

Partner in Play process

Vendors of play equipment and safety surfacing are selected as KaBOOM! Partners in Play (PIP) for a three-year cycle from a competitive process using the following criteria:

  • Quality of product
  • Innovation in design with a focus on play value and accessibility
  • Customer service, including ability to serve all 50 United States and Puerto Rico, all 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada, and all 31 states and the Federal District in Mexico
  • Insurance, warranty and product liability
  • Reputation and good standing
  • Meeting and/or exceeding current safety standards established by ASTM, CPSC and IPEMA and accessibility guidelines as established by ADA
  • Comprehension and value of the community-build process and ability to support the KaBOOM! community-build process
  • Attention and adherence to environmental standards and issues in the manufacturing process and commitment to reduce environmental impact
  • Timely service (for playgrounds- ability to manufacture and deliver custom playground equipment and custom graphics in a reasonable timeframe)
  • Demonstration of alignment with the KaBOOM! core mission and values
  • Commitment to research and development of innovative play equipment
  • Cost and value added

The RFP for the next PIP cycle will be available in Fall of 2017. If you have any further questions about the process, please e-mail piprfp@kaboom.org.