GWENDOLYN’S
PLAYGROUND

WHY OUR REGION NEEDS THIS

Every child deserves to play. Playgrounds are vital public spaces for community connection and social development. Yet, the average playground is not designed to meet the needs of all those who want to play, particularly the one in four of us living with a disability.

Inclusion is a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way of making decisions about helping everyone belong.

Inclusive play helps develop a true understanding of the world and encourages appreciation of the differences between people. More importantly, inclusive play recognizes our similarities and builds a more compassionate society.

This is the most exciting park in our City’s history. And will put Santa Barbara on the map. ~ Planning Commissioner

Gwendolyn’s Playground will be the first fully inclusive playground in Santa Barbara, enriching public spaces to truly serve our whole community. We have designed a truly one-of-a kind destination experience that will elevate play to be more for everyone.

Become a Founding Partner, which includes naming and signage opportunities to reflect your commitment and investment. Together, we can cultivate a more inclusive future!

HELP US BUILD GWENDOLYN'S PLAYGROUND

We have partnered with the City of Santa Barbara and Parks and Recreation to create the first fully inclusive playground in our region. We believe all children should have the opportunity to get to be one of the kids, to be at the center of fun, to belong. We think public playgrounds should celebrate our differences and the many ways we learn, and set the standard of the more tolerant, cooperative, and compassionate society that we all deserve. But we need YOUR help to make this incredible space a reality! The City has generously donated the 10-acres of land and made the commitment to infrastructure costs, while the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation will fund the $6Million playground and is actively seeking partners to fund the remaining $3Million for both the baseball and multi-sport fields. We are also applying for both government and nonprofit grant funding.

0.1 MM
Dollars

Needed to build Gwendolyn’s Playground

0 MM
Dollars

 Total raised to date

PARK FEATURES TO SPONSOR

Multi-Sport Field $2MM
Magical Tree $1.5MM
Baseball Field $1MM
Accessible Surfacing $500K
*SPONSORED* Sensory Spinning $150K
Interactive Innovation $150K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Swings $150K
Climbing Features $150K
*SPONSORED* Slide Hillside $150K
Inclusive Art Mural by Fred Calleri $75K
*SPONSORED* Butterfly Plaza $75K
*SPONSORED* Gathering Zone $50K
*SPONSORED* Music Garden $50K
*SPONSORED* Diversity Programming $50K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Library $50K
*SPONSORED* Kindness Garden $50K
Chyrsalis Calming Pod $50K
Toadstool House $50K
Art Sculptures $25K (each)
Friendship Benches $10K (each)

Founding Partners

We are so grateful for the support of our Founding Partners in this private/public/nonprofit project. Join us in leaving a lasting legacy by building inclusion for all. Recognition of your community investment will be artfully displayed within the playground. Sponsorship plaques and field naming opportunities are limited. Please contact us to get involved or learn more: [email protected] or donate directly here. A limited number of commemorative pavers can be purchased here.

NEVER GIVE UP Partners $150K+

  • $300,000 – SLIDE HILLSIDE donated in Memory of Norman F. Sprague III by The Sprague Family and The Mildred E. & Harvey S. Mudd Foundation
  • INCLUSIVE SWINGING donated in Memory of Jack Bonelli by Bonelli Family, Feeding Littles, & Bapron Baby
  • SENSORY SPINNING donated by Grassini Family Vineyards

RAINBOW Partners $75K+

  • BUTTERFLY PLAZA  donated by Robin & Roger Himovitz

BUTTERFLY Partners $50K+

  • MUSIC GARDEN donated by Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Hutton Parker Foundation
  • KINDNESS MOSAIC donated by Steve & Cindy Lyons
  • Montecito Bank & Trust
  • DIVERSITY PROGRAMMING donated by Mosher Foundation
  • KINDNESS GARDEN donated by Natalie Orfalea Foundation
  • Paskin Family Foundation
  • GATHERING ZONE donated by Rudi Schulte Family Foundation
  • Smidt Family Foundation
  • Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation
  • LITTLE INCLUSIVE LIBRARY donated by Yardi Systems

FRIENDSHIP Partners $25K+

  • Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • Avexis/Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Bella Vista Designs, In Honor of Nana Zellet
  • BMW Santa Barbara
  • Brignardello Family
  • Claassen Family
  • Crossfit Pacific Coast
  • Deakyne Family
  • Duo Events
  • Alex & Casey Fang
  • Festivals 4 a Cause: Schwabecher, Powers, Olson & Hawkins Families
  • Roger S. Firestone Foundation
  • Greene Family Foundation, In Loving Memory of Teya Sterndahl
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • Leanne Schlinger
  • Lynette & Jason Spievak
  • Twining & Winn Families
  • Shannon & Neil Young

KINDNESS Partners $10K+

  • Bartolo Family
  • Brian Coryat
  • COX Charities
  • Crane Country Day School
  • Delio Family
  • Fess Parker Winery 
  • Andrew & Ivana Firestone
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH, Girl Scout Troop 50396
  • Larry & Robyn Gottesdiener
  • In Memory of Aiden Henderson, Team Aiden
  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars
  • Analise Maggio
  • Lewis A. Kingsley Foundation
  • Montecito Firefighters Charitable Foundation
  • Sarah & Ryan Muzzy
  • Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, LLP
  • In Honor of Asher, Beck, Sky & Stella, Pirozzi Family
  • In Memory of Owen Shuler, Fight For Owen & Shuler Family
  • Catherine & Matthew Stoll
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH donated by Ellen Strong

INCLUSION Friends

  • Alpha Resource Center
  • Autism Embrace
  • Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Koegel Autism Center
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • MOXI
  • PathPoint
  • Peer Buddies
  • Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Shane’s Inspiration
  • Tri-Counties Regional Center
  • UCSB
 
  • Kelly & Kevin Almeroth
  • In Honor of Jordan, Arnold Family
  • Patricia & Paul Bragg Foundation
  • Bethany & Jeremy Bodenhamer
  • Crocker Family
  • Deckers Outdoor Corporation
  • John & Deneen Demourkas
  • Dolotta Family Charitable Foundation
  • Peter Douglas Foundation
  • Jasper & Brook Eiler
  • Jill Ellis Makeshift Studio
  • Akasha & Rowan Farber
  • Fell Family
  • In Honor of Finn the Fighter
  • In Memory of Ava Francis, Team Ava
  • Gardner Grout Foundation
  • In Memory of Callie, Golden Family

COMMUNITY Partners $5K+

  • Greg Goodman
  • Belle Hahn, The Little One Foundation
  • Lily Hahn, The Lucky One Foundation
  • Patrick & Diane Hall
  • Josh & Yessica Holloway
  • Zach Hyman
  • Ide Family
  • Blake & Emily Jones
  • Kacie Jean Photography
  • Kanowsky Family
  • John & Cassie Keister
  • Jesse Licht & Molly Tollesfson
  • Lucas Lilley Foundation
  • Kristin Linehan
  • Jose & Mary Lopez
  • In Honor of Taysen Langstraat, Manna Insurance Group
  • Laura Menke

COMMUNITY Partners $5K

  • Dennis & Carolyn Miller
  • Jennifer & Jon Miller
  • Mosher Foundation
  • In Honor of Zoey, Needham Family
  • Ani & Justin Pollack
  • Paul & Emily Ross
  • Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Randy Solakian Estates Group
  • Riviera Ridge School
  • Anita L. Stafford Charitable Lead Trust
  • Robert & Tracy Stoll
  • Storment Family
  • Darren Tepper
  • WAWOS
  • Jennifer Yau Photography
  • Zarley Family Foundation
  • Zia Group

OUR VISION

Inclusive, innovative, whimsical and fun, Gwendolyn’s Playground is a place to spark wonder in every age. Our custom, one-of-a-kind multi-story Magical Tree is the centerpiece of this space, filled with imaginative play, STEAM interactive experiences, and allowing for the exploration and full accessibility of every visitor. Considerate of the many ways we learn and grow, this sensory-rich environment removes the physical and social barriers of today’s typical playground. Here EVERYONE belongs and has opportunities to challenge themselves, play side-by-side, and have fun together. These experiences foster life-long lessons of cooperation, empathy, and kindness. 

Inclusive + Fun

Thoughtful equipment, color, and design invite people of all abilities and ages to play together.

Safe + Accessible

Secure fencing offers fully accessible entrances, and play spaces are free of prohibitive bark or steps.​

Innovative + Sensory-rich

Multi-level imaginative play structures break the mold of traditional playgrounds to engage diverse learning styles and ignite all five senses.

Educational + Connecting

A thriving gathering place for a community that provides opportunities for inclusive programs and educational outreach events.

THE STORY BEHIND GWENDOLYN’S PLAYGROUND

Gwendolyn’s Playground was inspired by Gwendolyn Strong, a tenacious Santa Barbara child born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Gwendolyn made friends wherever she went and lived a very inclusive life: attending mainstream public school, dancing hip hop in after-school enrichment, participating in three half marathons, and having regular playdates with peers. However, when it came to enjoying the most basic childhood right of passage, there were no playgrounds in the region accessible to her wheelchair and needs.

By giving everyone a chance to play together, Gwendolyn’s Playground serves as a joyful microcosm of a more tolerant and kind society, in which children of all abilities can participate and enjoy equal opportunities to flourish. Gwendolyn + her peers showed us that friendship has no limitations.

THE LOCATION

Gwendolyn’s Playground is an integral component of a re-imagined 10-acre public space, which includes building new year-round tournament-grade sports fields, a fitness area, walking paths, picnicking, and more at Dwight Murphy Field, an area one block from East Beach and directly across from the Santa Barbara Zoo. This redevelopment will foster tourism, community engagement, and will be a popular highlight of our beautiful city.

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