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KaBOOM!: Finalist's Statement

Social Capitalists


KaBOOM!. The power to change a child's world.

Founded in 1995, KaBOOM! is a non-profit organization that's vision is to create a playground within walking distance of every child in America. KaBOOM! provides diverse groups of volunteers with a way to work towards a collective cause -- the well-being of children -- by completing a discrete product -- a playground or skatepark -- in a discrete time period -- one day -- to make an immediate and visible difference in their community .

Working in primarily low-income, urban neighborhoods KaBOOM! sparks civic leadership and revitalizes community through the process of building a playground or skatepark. Typically, over a four-month period, KaBOOM! works with community members and corporate partners to form planning committees, raise money, rally broad-based community participation, secure commitments for the ongoing supervision and safety of the playspace, and involve children in designing the place where they hope to play. The planning process culminates in a "Build Day" -- a one-day, mega-happening day of service where 50 to 600 community and corporate volunteers work together to build a playground. It's an old fashioned barn raising -- with an urban twist. Very simple. Very powerful.

Through the KaBOOM! community-building process, the playspace product becomes not just an important place for a child's healthy development but more importantly, also, a vehicle for continued community engagement and investment. Achievable wins and small steps of courage lead to even greater acts of courage. That's why KaBOOM! helps individuals and communities take those cascading steps of courage toward improving the lives of children and communities as well as enabling organizers to discover their own power, opportunities and possibilities

KaBOOM! combines leading community-built projects with programming designed to inspire, prepare and connect community leaders who are doing it themselves. A mix of grants, training, networking opportunities and technology allows KaBOOM! to share our collective expertise with a larger number of community activists who are self-organizing. The KaBOOM! University of Play (U Play!) and Workshops Entirely on Play (WE Play!) are award-winning national and regional training events that engage hundreds of community leaders each year in an interactive introduction to the KaBOOM! model of community and playspace building. The KaBOOM! Project Planner is a free online resource that gives organizers the ability to manage volunteers, tasks, budgets and communications at the click of a mouse.

KaBOOM! engages parents, caregivers, elected officials, and community members in targeted efforts to increase the space and time for play. KaBOOM! increases awareness and influences action towards fun, healthy and playful communities through advocacy programming.

A pioneer in the field of social entrepreneurship, the majority of the $30 million KaBOOM! has raised has come from innovative partnerships with funding partners including the Home Depot, Sprint, Stride Rite, Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Snapple Beverages, Computer Associates, the Madison Square Garden Cheering for Children Foundation, and Fairytale Brownies.

KaBOOM! has helped to create more than 700 new playgrounds and skateparks and renovated more than 1,300 playgrounds and two sports field complexes. ESKAL8, the national skatepark program powered by KaBOOM!, was introduced in 2003 to meet the growing demand for places for young people to safely skateboard, BMX bike and in-line skate. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta, and Redwood City, California.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.