Building on our successes

A message from our leadership

As we look back on 2012, continue our work in 2013, and look ahead to 2014 and beyond, it is clear we have a lot to be proud of. It is also clear that we must do more. As this report goes to print, we are taking a hard look at what we are doing and how we are doing it. Why? Because play is disappearing and it's having a profound impact on our children, families and society as a whole.

Our stories

From Alexandria to St. Louis to San Francisco, our on-the-ground advocates are taking action to ensure that today’s children get the childhood they deserve. They are assessing playspaces, identifying play deserts, unlocking playground gates, building new playgrounds, bridging neighborhood divides, and in the process, transforming their communities at large.


  • NFL

    NFL Stars Help KaBOOM! Build A Playground

    KaBOOM! built its third playground in conjunction with NFL PLAY 60 at Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Public Charter School in Kaneohe, Hawaii, helping kids to get the active play they need every day. NFL stars including Darrelle Revis, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Vonta Leach, Maurice Jones-Drew and Eric Weddle joined hundreds of volunteers to build a great new place to play.

  • NBA and KaBOOM! Build 7th Playground Together

    The NBA and KaBOOM! are working to ensure that kids have the opportunity to engage in active play, every day. We built our seventh playground together in conjunction with the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service at Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida in Orlando. NBA stars including Derrick Williams and John Wall worked alongside volunteers to create a wonderful new playground for children.

  • JetBlue Fans Choose Oakland for 15th Playground Build

    JetBlue Facebook fans and TrueBlue members helped determine the location for JetBlue’s 15th playground project with KaBOOM!. Voters cast their ballots on Facebook and the contest was featured on in-flight videos during February and March, helping to raise the awareness of the importance of play. Ultimately, the public chose Oakland, Calif., and the playground was built at Community School for Creative Education in August.

  • KaBOOM! Releases Go Out and Play!

    KaBOOM! released our popular book Go Out and Play! Favorite Outdoor Games from KaBOOM!. Reviewed favorably by the Washington Post, the Sacramento Bee and Disney Family Fun magazine, Go Out and Play! features more than 70 fun games to encourage active play among children of all ages. This is the first of three children’s books to be released by KaBOOM! and Candlewick, designed to engage children and families around play.

  • DIRECTV Supports Largest Playground Build in KaBOOM! History

    More than 800 volunteers, including nearly 600 from DIRECTV, worked together on the largest playground project in KaBOOM! history. In just six hours, volunteers mixed more than 70,000 pounds of concrete by hand and moved enough mulch to cover nearly 40 basketball courts. All that work was worth it: more than 1,700 students who attend Nesbit Elementary School in Tucker, Ga., now have a great new 10,000-square foot place to play.

  • KaBOOM! Names 213 Playful City USA Communities

    KaBOOM! announced a record 213 Playful City USA communities hailing from 41 states across the country. Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA recognizes and honors cities and towns advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children.

  • Knight Foundation Validates Community Build Model

    A report by Knight Foundation found that KaBOOM! projects help volunteers and local organizations cultivate the skills, confidence and inspiration they need to get more involved in their communities, as illustrated by this infographic.

  • 125+ Communities Participate in Let's Play Video Contest

    More than 125 organizations submitted videos as part of the Let’s Play Video Contest from Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!. Ten finalists were selected and the public cast more than 13,000 votes to select five $15,000 Let’s Play grant recipients. The effort was part of Let's Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! to build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefitting an estimated 5 million children.

  • KaBOOM! and BCBSIL Build 100th Chicago Playground

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois helped build the 100th KaBOOM! playground in Chicago at the Lots of Love Community Center. Before the build, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois lit the windows of its downtown Chicago building to showcase a social media hashtag touting the build. A study of KaBOOM! projects led with Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies in Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma showed 96% of adults believe kids in their community are getting more exercise following the playground builds.

  • First Lady Promotes Imagination Playground

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the next chapter of Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties, while featuring Imagination Playground at the event. Goal V of the program: active kids at play!

  • McDonald's Foundation Partners with KaBOOM!

    KaBOOM! partnered for our first playground build with McDonald’s at the South Side YMCA in Chicago. McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson joined KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond in announcing a partnership with the newly formed McDonald’s Foundation to build 12 playgrounds in 12 months, bringing opportunities for active play to kids living in high-need communities.

  • PNC Bank and Kansas City Chiefs Rebuild in Joplin, MO.

    After a devastating tornado struck Joplin, Mo., longtime KaBOOM! partners PNC Bank and the Kansas City Chiefs helped kids reclaim their childhoods in the wake of the tragedy by building playgrounds within two weeks of each other at the Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area and Joplin Public Schools’ Roi S. Woods campus.

  • Grand Prize Winners Named for Summer Playground Challenge

    In August, KaBOOM! wrapped up its third annual Summer Playground Challenge, during which 65 families visited, mapped, and reviewed 1,386 playgrounds over the course of six weeks. The four Grand Prize Winners -- Annie Cheng, Alex Nguyen, Dana Wheatley, and Sara Russell -- proved to be our most dedicated playground-goers yet, exploring an impressive total of 727 playgrounds while raising awareness in their communities about the importance of active play.

  • Foresters Celebrates 2nd Year of 3-Year Partnership

    2012 marked the second year of a three year partnership with Foresters helping to create quality play opportunities for kids and families. Activities this year included 20 playground builds, the creation and dissemination of four webinars on how to make play a prominent part of family time, and a pilot program to engage families in service projects at existing playgrounds.

  • Humana Commits to Multigenerational Playgrounds

    Kids and families need ample opportunities to play together. That’s one reason Humana partnered with KaBOOM! to build multi-generational playgrounds that will eventually serve thousands of children, adults and seniors in Charlotte, North Carolina and Tampa, Florida in conjunction with the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

  • MetLife Brings Play to Mexico City

    MetLife Foundation and KaBOOM! joined Delegación Álvaro Obregón to build a new playground in Comunidad La Araña (The Spider) in Mexico City – the third build in the city between the two organizations. More than 200 volunteers transformed a cracked piece of asphalt into a colorful space with a giant tube slide, musical elements, climbers, benches, murals and gardens, bringing a great new playspace to a community in need.

  • Disney Promotes Happy, Healthy Children Nationwide

    With a joint vision of healthy, happy children, KaBOOM! partnered with Disney on 12 playground projects in 2012, here are two: Along with ESPN, the organizations built a playground with the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team in Texas after a wildfire destroyed more than 1,600 homes and 34,000 acres of land. On the opposite side of the country, Disney and KaBOOM! were joined by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepard from television’s The View to build a playground at Grote Street Apartments in the Bronx, N.Y.

  • Discover and KaBOOM! Recruit an Unexpected Advocate

    Longtime partners Discover and KaBOOM! built their 18th playground together at Wright Avenue Park in Elgin, Ill., but this project resulted in an unexpected new partnership. Local police Commander Glenn Theirault ventured across the street to an abandoned house only to find out that an 85-year-old woman named Dorothy lived there. Dorothy had difficulty moving around and could no longer maintain the outside. Glenn came back with a crew of volunteers who built Dorothy a new front and back porch, cut her grass, cleared fallen trees, among other needed work. He even secured the services of a 16-year-old in the neighborhood to cut Dorothy’s grass moving forward. That’s teamwork!

  • Paperback Version of CEO's Bestselling Memoir is Released

    The paperback edition of the New York Times Bestselling book, "KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play" by KaBOOM! Founder and CEO, Darell Hammond, was released.

  • Features KaBOOM! in CityVille

    New KaBOOM! partner fundraised for a portion of the four playground builds by “selling” playgrounds in its online game, CityVille, which exposed CityVille’s 16,600,000 monthly users to KaBOOM! and the power of play.

  • Bank of America and KaBOOM! Support Military Families

    Bank of America and KaBOOM! built our fifth playground together in the Tampa area by partnering to provide a new playground for the children of military families. The project at MacDill Airforce Base was the fourth KaBOOM! playground built at a military installation.

  • KaBOOM! Names New Co-CEOs for a Day

    KaBOOM! asked aspiring young artists across the nation to send us illustrations of their favorite way to play outdoors. The grand prize winners, Jake Bannister and Helen Bartman, served as the KaBOOM! Co-CEO for a day and had their drawings replicated on the floors of our new Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

  • 213 Playful City USA Honorees

  • Brought Play to 48 States, Canada & Mexico

  • 52,317 Volunteers Engaged

  • 1,643,505 Children Served

  • 2,704 Playgrounds Built & Improved


Our National Partners, Funding Partners, and Community Partners are vital to deepening and broadening our impact. In 2012, we worked together to build, open, and improve 2,704 playgrounds for 1,643,505 children in need.

Board and staff

In 2012, we welcomed 33 new Boomers and two new Board Members to help us advance our mission. Our talented, driven, and playful staff and Board of Directors work tirelessly to bring active play to children every day – at home, at school, and in their communities.


With a budget of $23.5 million, we were able to build 167 playgrounds, recruit and support 213 Playful City USA communities, create and refine new online tools to empower communities to identify and address play deserts, and expand our base of play advocates.


KaBoom! Annual Report 2013

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