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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Playworks

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Recreation & Sports, Sports, Youth Development Programs

Mission: To improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.

Target demographics: We are changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. We create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Playworks currently serves more than 1,300 schools in 23 U.S. cities, and reaches more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services.

Geographic areas served: Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health.

Programs: Playworks partners with schools, districts, and after-school programs to provide a service or mix of services including on-site coaches, professional training for school staff who support recess, and consultative partnerships.

Community Stories

106 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is creating tomorrows leaders through play! Teaching leadership skills, conflict resolution and inclusion while making it fun for the children, and reducing bullying. What a difference they make to recess! All children deserve organized play to make learning more successful.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As an elementary Principal I learned about Playworks and little did I know the IMPACT Playworks would have on my school family! The philosophy of Playworks goes hand in hand with our school family and this is how our partnership began! Once we partnered with Playworks the dramatic effects the program components had on our student population was mind blowing! Ever since that first year we started with Playworks I have become an advocate for Playworks. The intentionality of everything they do pays off! The ability to support a healthy school culture built with the necessity of safety, fun and play is what every school needs. For students to be included, accepted and empowered on and off the playground is essential for a healthy social and emotional development. As I moved from a Principal to a district leader we were able to bring Playworks to other elementary schools and share the principles behind Playworks with all staff. As an advocate of Playworks I know support them by being an active board member as well. I stand behind Playworks vision to make sure every child, every day gets to play in a setting of love, acceptance and understanding.
Wishing you well,
Dina Rocheleau
Ferndale Public Schools

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I think about the impact that Playworks has on our children, I am so proud to be a part of the organization. From developing young leaders on the playground through the Junior Coach Program, the conflict resolution skills, and inclusion - Playworks lays the foundation for successful individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My children attended a high poverty, very diverse elementary school in Milwaukee. The first week Playworks piloted a program there, my children every night at dinner showed us all the games they learned.

Once Playworks came to the school, i saw firsthand how it strengthened the school environment. The parent teacher association chose Playworks as the one thing it raised money for through Friday night taco dinners. This was a school with over 80% free and reduced lunch so the fact parents supported this says a lot.

My oldest daughter who used to sit and read during recess began participating in activities and moving instead. My younger daughter who had never liked being in activities and programs loved it. She joined their no rules basketball league and volleyball league and loved them - the only sports she's played to this day. Two of my children were junior coaches and took it quite seriously. My son who could misbehave at times did not want to jeopardize his role and was super responsible about it. They loved running the games for younger kids.

I wish all schools had Playworks to engage kids in activity, prevent bullying, and engage kids as collaborators and leaders. I wish they had still had it in middle school!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am incredibly proud to be a part of this world class organization, one that values the need for play the same way that I do. Playworks is making a huge impact on kids all across this great country. I have seen for myself what they have accomplished and I believe their mission is one that we should all take notice of. The leadership in this organization are committed to making a difference and I for one am thrilled to be a part of it.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Playworks has been a very inclusive model for all students and the philosophy encourages students of all abilities to join. The program encourages typical peers to be supportive of students that have differences from them.

One of my students is on the Autism spectrum. He has a strong desire to join activities and doing what other students are involved in doing. When recess is unstructured, he tends to hang out by himself and not engage with other students. When there are structured games, such as switch, tag, or duck duck goose, he is able to access the activity.

He is happy because gets to join a game and have fun when there is a game format and routine. In addition, he gets to benefit from working on his IEP goals because he has to take turns, wait, and be flexible with the small details. One of the great things about Playworks is there is never too much waiting and there are always clear directions about returning. Everyone is trained to cheer for everyone so this student always feels good even when the skill is a challenge for him.

1 Kevin155

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks demonstrates an incredible mission, outstanding staff and management, and a growing platform all back by proven success in reducing bulling, fostering inclusive play, improving classroom productivity and building stronger culture in the schools it serves.

Katie166

Board Member

Rating: 5

I love Playworks!! I've been a member of the SF Board for a year, and continue to be impressed by the impact of Playworks. Providing a healthy, supportive and immersive recess experience can be transformative for children and I've learned so much from the staff and coaches. This is an amazing group of people doing amazing work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is an outstanding organization starting with the dedicated Coaches and Staff that work tirelessly to make sure that EVERY kid has a positive association with school. The positive energy that each and every Playworker brings to the school yard (and front office) is unrivaled and speaks to their lasting philosophy that fun & safe places are necessary for kids and adults alike.

It is an honor to serve on the East Bay Board and I look forward to many years of being a part of the family.

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the most active, competent, and engaged boards I've been part of. I highly recommend it. Playworks really knows how to execute on their mission and have a material impact in the lives of the people they serve.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great, visionary organization that is trying to scale to magnify its impact. Programming at schools and effect on kids is amazing to see first hand.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks does amazing work, day in and day out. It's always wonderful to see the direct impact the programming has on kids in transforming playgrounds and schools, and inspiring to watch the program blossom nationwide!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks has been doing amazing work for nearly 20 years. By building safe, inclusive playground cultures where kids can have a universally positive play experience, Playworks transforms the cultures of low-income elementary schools across the country. 10 minutes on the playground of a Playworks school and you will immediately recognize the quality of programming, the magnitude of impact, and the deep importance of the work that is being done. Definitely an organization that everyone should know about and easy to stand behind!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks organization is contributing positively to our communities working directly with schools to help kids learn how to resolve conflicts and stop/prevent bullying during recess (including after school and evening developmental sports leagues), so it doesn't spill into the classroom. Really great work that positively impacts the schools they work with (see below metrics for further info). In 2015, Playworks served more than 60,000 kids in 150 schools in the Pacific Northwest. Playworks programs teach skills related to conflict-resolution, trust, inclusiveness, integrity and fair play, while increasing physical activity and decreasing bullying. Playworks' schools spend less time transitioning from recess to learning, reclaiming an average of 24 hours of teaching time per classroom, per year. The schools that partner with Playworks have also reported a 96% increase in the level of participation with academic activities, 96% increase in cooperation during class, and a 94% increase in students' ability to focus. In addition, they've experienced an 82% decrease in the amount of class time spent resolving conflicts, and an 85% decrease in bullying incidents. To learn more, please visit the NW Playworks site at: http://www.playworks.org/communities/pacificnw

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is developing young leaders in elementary schools who promote a culture of empathy, caring, respect, and fun in school environments. Junior coaches look out for the other students, resolve conflict on the playground, and help eliminate bullying. The organization encourages the same qualities and culture among its staff and board. I am proud to be a part of and supporter of Playworks!

Andrea155

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization that uses an effective method to improve the health and well-being of kids and communities!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is our second year with Playworks and we love it! Kids are engaged in play, healthy, and active! We have less issues outside as well.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a local board member for Playworks. It is an excellent organization leading a national movement to make recess a fun, safe, and inclusive experience for all kids. Through youth leadership, conflict resolution, and having fun, Playworks promotes kids social-emotional learning skills and helps them return to the classroom ready to learn. All schools should partner with Playworks!

1 Lisa409

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks is doing amazing things to make sure that every kid has play in their life. And they have big plans to do more. Fantastic organization, amazing leadership team and a mission everyone can get behind!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks does amazing things for kids, bringing structure, leadership, and fun back into the playground. Serving primarily at-risk kids, they have proven results on reduction of bullying and increased productive time back in the classroom. I have personally spoken with several principals who claim that it turned around their schools, and the first question they would ask if transferred to another school is "Is it a Playworks school?" because they believe it is a critical component of success.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Playworks mission and the people in the organization driving that mission are simply fantastic. There is an incredible passion for the organization, the people, and the kids it serves that I have not seen at other organizations. Most impactful to me was the opportunity to visit a Playworks school and see the program in action. Not only were the kids engaged, positive, able to resolve conflict on the spot without adult intervention, and having fun but they even invited me to play in one of their games!
Playworks is doing great work in the Pacfiic NW!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is an incredible nonprofit that makes a difference every single day in the lives of so many children. The structured recess has significantly reduced the number of incidents of bullying and given children an environment that encourages meaningful interaction with each other. By allowing older students to assist in running the programs as junior coaches, it also provides an opportunity for those students to develop leadership skills that will be beneficial far beyond the playground.