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 serve our whole community. We have designed a one-of-a-kind destination experience that will elevate play to be more for everyone, bringing people together in JOY!

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The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation has raised $6.5 Million to build Gwendolyn’s Playground.

We are still in need of $3 Million for the Kindness Endowment Fund for inclusive programming and long-term innovation.

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We did it! We met our immediate goal to build Gwendolyn’s Playground. Now let’s ensure this is a space of innovation, belonging, and joy forever! Help us fund the remaining endowment fund and sports fields.


“Play is a fundamental right of childhood” (United Nations) and experts recognize that play is important in practically all areas of childhood health, however, there is not one single park for hundreds of miles along the Central Coast that is truly accessible nor inclusive. In 2018, the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation partnered with the City of Santa Barbara and Parks and Recreation to build the first fully inclusive destination 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 the fun, and to belong. 

The City of Santa Barbara and Parks and Recreation has generously donated the 10-acres of Dwight Murphy Field land to revitalize this entire city block into the modern activity complex our community needs. In 2022, this project received a $1.5MM federal grant from Representative Salud Carbajal. With broad, diverse support from donors of all economic means, GSF successfully raised $6 Million over a four-year period through grassroots fundraising, community events, and nonprofit and corporate grants. In 2023, Santa Barbara’s City Council voted to allocate $6 Million towards the overall infrastructure costs — matching the funds the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation has raised. 

NOW WHAT? The entire city-block renovation is an estimated $23.5 Million project. So far $13.5 Million has been secured, including the $6 Million for Gwendolyn’s Playground. In partnership with Parks and Recreation, we are actively seeking partners to fund the remaining $10 Million for the sports field complex, which includes a youth baseball field, a turf multi-sport field, walking paths, a new fitness equipment and yoga area, along with climate resilient upgrades and stormwater management. This project is anticipated to break ground in 2024.

The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation is committed to raising an additional $3 Million necessary for an endowment fund to pay for inclusive programming, long-term equipment replacement, and maintenance to ensure this investment remains innovative for decades to come.

2024 is the last year to 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!

Founding Partners

2024 is the final opportunity to be recognized with a plaque or paver at the entry plaza at Gwendolyn’s Playground.

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+

  • $2,075,000 – 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
  • Analise Maggio & Ben Sprague
  • 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
  • Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation
  • BUTTERFLY SCULPTURES ~ sponsorship available
  • MOSAIC ART ~ sponsorship available

RAINBOW Partners $75K+

  • REFLECTION GARDEN donated by Emmett Fahey and Sharon Chandran
  • Claassen Family
  • INCLUSIVE ART MURAL by Fred Calleri donated by The Foley Family Charitable Foundation
  • Paskin Family Foundation
  • Smidt Family Foundation
  • Shannon & Neil Young

BUTTERFLY Partners $50K+

  • Bella Vista Designs, In Honor of Nana Zellet
  • Carlo & Dionne Brignardello
  • Deakyne Family
  • CHRYSALIS CALMING POD donated by Deckers Outdoor Corporation
  • MUSIC GARDEN donated by Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Belle Hahn, The Little One Foundation
  • Lily Hahn, The Lucky One 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
  • GATHERING ZONE donated by Rudi Schulte Family 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
  • Katie & Erick Crocker 
  • Jason & Brienna Cohen 
  • Crossfit Pacific Coast
  • Ben Curtis & Shelby Scudder
  • Delio Family
  • Duo Events
  • Alex & Casey Fang
  • Roger S. Firestone Foundation
  • Festivals 4 a Cause: Schwabecher, Powers, Olson & Hawkins Families
  • Greene Family Foundation, In Loving Memory of Teya Sterndahl
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • Magid Family
  • In Honor of Aavir Vohra Miller
  • Philipp & Calle Posch
  • Leanne Schlinger & Family
  • Randy Solakian Estates Group
  • Lynette & Jason Spievak
  • Twining & Winn Families

KINDNESS Partners $10K+

  • Artiste Winery
  • Dr Michael & Sonia Behrman
  • Beth & David Boire
  • Lisa & Peter Camenzind
  • GRANDPARENTS BENCH donated by Vivian Chandran
  • Brian Coryat
  • COX Charities
  • Crane Country Day School
  • Fess Parker Winery 
  • Andrew & Ivana Firestone
  • Jordan Fishman
  • Gardner Grout Foundation
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH, Girl Scout Troop 50396
  • Larry & Robyn Gottesdiener
  • In Memory of Aiden Henderson
  • GRANDPARENTS BENCH, In Honor of Laura & Frank Haywood
  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars
  • Lewis A. Kingsley Foundation
  • Jesse Licht & Molly Tollesfson

KINDNESS Partner $10K+

  • Montecito Firefighters Charitable Foundation
  • Sarah & Ryan Muzzy
  • Nye, Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet, LLP
  • Pirozzi Family
  • Riviera Ridge School
  • Santa Barbara Band of Chumash Indians Foundation
  • Santa Barbara Foundation
  • In Memory of Owen Shuler
  • Catherine & Matthew Stoll
  • GRANDPARENTS BENCH donated by Ellen Strong
  • Trippers & Askers Wine
  • Leonard Unander Associates
  • Larry & Marina Weiss
  • Williams-Corbett Foundation
  • In Memory of Ava Francis
  • In Honor of Jordan, Arnold Family
  • B&B Foundation
  • Chris, Kara & Chloe Bellamy
  • Patricia & Paul Bragg Foundation
  • Bristol-Emmett Family
  • Bethany & Jeremy Bodenhamer
  • In Memory of Paul, Chapman Family
  • CNM, LLP
  • 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
  • Galbraith Family
  • In Memory of Callie Golden
  • Greg Goodman
  • Robin Gose & Chris Mosier
  • Patrick & Diane Hall
  • Hayward Lumber
  • Ally & John Harris Du Bois

COMMUNITY Partners $5K+

  • Hobie & Hayden Hitchcock
  • Josh & Yessica Holloway
  • In Honor of Josh Hyman, Zach Hyman
  • Karie & Aaron Ide
  • Kyle Irwin & Jens Sorensen 
  • TJ & Lisa Jackson
  • Blake & Emily Jones
  • Junior League of Santa Barbara
  • Kacie Jean Photography
  • Kanowsky Family
  • Keiki Paddle
  • John & Cassie Keister
  • Amanda & Travis Lee
  • Lucas Lilley Foundation
  • Kristin Linehan
  • Jose & Mary Lopez
  • In Memory of Lucy Lunt
  • In Honor of Taysen Langstraat, Manna Insurance Group
  • McLeod Family
  • McLernon Family
  • Laura Menke
  • Dennis & Carolyn Miller

COMMUNITY Partners $5K

  • Jennifer & Jon Miller
  • Trevor & Zoe Morris
  • In Honor of Zoey, Needham Family
  • Angela & Nkem Ogbechie
  • The Parks and Recreation Community (PARC) Foundation
  • George B Page Foundation
  • Ani & Justin Pollack
  • Paul & Emily Ross
  • Scribner Family
  • Sierra Vista High School
  • Anita L. Stafford Charitable Lead Trust
  • Robert & Tracy Stoll
  • Dsara Storment & Family
  • Darren Tepper
  • Jennifer Yau Photography
  • Zarley Family Foundation
  • Zia Group
  • Santa Barbara Zoo


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 art, imaginative play, STEAM interactive experiences, and allowing for the exploration and full accessibility of every visitor. Using Universal Design and with consideration 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.

The vision to build Gwendolyn’s Playground alongside sports fields and accessible pathways and gardens is essential for meeting the needs of all community members and will create a true synergy for community activity. When you include everyone in the community, it becomes a thriving gathering place, bringing people out of the shadows, and making this world a whole lot kinder. 


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

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.


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 truly serves the whole community, in which children of all abilities can participate and enjoy equal opportunities to flourish. Gwendolyn and her peers showed us that friendship has no limitations.


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, public art, gardens 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 and community engagement, and will be a popular highlight of our beautiful city.

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