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, bringing community together in JOY!

0.1 MM
Dollars

Needed to build Gwendolyn’s Playground

0 MM
Dollars

 Total raised to date

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.

Become a Founding Partner, which includes naming and signage opportunities to reflect your commitment and investment. Additional areas of sponsorship are available. Contact us to learn more. Together, we can cultivate a more inclusive future!

PARK FEATURES TO SPONSOR

Multi-Sport Field $2MM
*SPONSORED* Magical Tree $1.5MM
Baseball Field $1MM
Accessible Surfacing $500K
Kind Cafe $250K
Interactive Innovation $150K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Swings $150K
Climbing Features $150K
*SPONSORED* Slide Hillside $150K
Art Sculptures by Mehera Blum $150K
*SPONSORED* Sensory Spinning $150K
*SPONSORED* Butterfly Plaza $150K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Art Mural by Fred Calleri $75K
*SPONSORED* Diversity Programming $50K
*SPONSORED* Music Garden $50K
*SPONSORED* Kindness Garden $50K
Chrysalis Calming Pod $50K
*SPONSORED* Toadstool House $50K
*SPONSORED* Gathering Zone $50K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Library $50K

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+

  • $1,050,000 – MAGICAL TREE donated by Manitou Fund and Nora McNeely Hurley
  • $500,000 – 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
  • BUTTERFLY PLAZA & LITERACY PROGRAMMING  donated by Robin & Roger Himovitz
  • CLIMBING FEATURES ~ sponsorship available
  • BUTTERFLY SHADE SCULPTURE ~ sponsorship available
  • MOSAIC ART ~ sponsorship available

RAINBOW Partners $75K+

  • INCLUSIVE ART MURAL by Fred Calleri sponsored by The Foley Family Charitable Foundation
  • Shannon & Neil Young
  • REFLECTION GARDEN ~ sponsorship available

BUTTERFLY Partners $50K+

  • Bella Vista Designs, In Honor of Nana Zellet
  • Brignardello Family
  • Deakyne Family
  • Deckers Outdoor Corporation
  • MUSIC GARDEN donated by Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Hutton Parker Foundation
  • KINDNESS MOSAIC donated by Steve & Cindy Lyons
  • TOADSTOOL HOUSE donated by 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+

  • Kelly & Kevin Almeroth
  • Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • Avexis/Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Bartolo Family
  • BMW Santa Barbara
  • Claassen Family
  • Cohen Family
  • Crossfit Pacific Coast
  • Delio 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
  • Lily Hahn, The Lucky One Foundation
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • Posch Family
  • Leanne Schlinger
  • Lynette & Jason Spievak
  • Catherine & Matthew Stoll
  • Twining & Winn Families

KINDNESS Partners $10K+

  • Artiste Winery
  • Chandran Family
  • Brian Coryat
  • COX Charities
  • Crane Country Day School
  • Crocker Family
  • Curtis Family
  • Fess Parker Winery 
  • Andrew & Ivana Firestone
  • Gardner Grout Foundation
  • 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
  • Jesse Licht & Molly Tollesfson
  • 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
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH donated by Ellen Strong
  • Larry & Marina Weiss
  • Williams-Corbett Foundation

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
  • In Honor of Jordan, Arnold Family
  • Patricia & Paul Bragg Foundation
  • Bristol-Emmett Family
  • Bethany & Jeremy Bodenhamer
  • Chapman Family
  • 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 Honor of Matthew & Erika Fisher
  • Jordan Fishman
  • In Memory of Ava Francis, Team Ava
  • In Memory of Callie, Golden Family
  • Greg Goodman
 

COMMUNITY Partners $5K+

  • Belle Hahn, The Little One Foundation
  • Patrick & Diane Hall
  • Hayward Lumber
  • Josh & Yessica Holloway
  • In Honor of Josh Hyman, Zach Hyman
  • Ide Family
  • TJ & Lisa Jackson
  • Blake & Emily Jones
  • Kacie Jean Photography
  • Kanowsky Family
  • John & Cassie Keister
  • Lee Family
  • Lucas Lilley Foundation
  • Kristin Linehan
  • Jose & Mary Lopez
  • Magid Family
  • In Honor of Taysen Langstraat, Manna Insurance Group
  • Laura Menke

COMMUNITY Partners $5K

  • Dennis & Carolyn Miller
  • Jennifer & Jon Miller
  • In Honor of Zoey, Needham Family
  • Ani & Justin Pollack
  • Paul & Emily Ross
  • Santa Barbara Band of Chumash Indians Foundation
  • 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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