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.

When everyone plays, we all win!

Gwendolyn’s Playground will be the first fully inclusive playground in Santa Barbara, enriching public spaces to truly serve our whole community, and elevating play to be more for everyone.

“This is the most exciting park in our City’s history.” ~ Planning Commissioner Barrett Reed

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 9-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
*SPONSORED* Slide Hillside $150K
Sensory Spinning $150K
Interactive Innovation $150K
*SPONSORED* Inclusive Swings $150K
Climbing Features $100K
Accessible Surfacing $100K
Inclusive Art Mural by Fred Calleri $75K
Butterfly Plaza $75K
*SPONSORED* Gathering Zone $50K
*SPONSORED* Music Garden $50K
Diversity Programming $50K
Inclusive Library $50K
Kindness Garden $50K
Calm Zone + Sensory Pods $50K
Toadstool Houses $50K (each)
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.

NEVER GIVE UP Partners $150K+

  • INCLUSIVE SWINGING given in Memory of Jack Bonelli, Bonelli Family, Feeding Littles, + Bapron Baby
  • SLIDE HILLSIDE given in Memory of Norman F. Sprague III, the Sprague Family

RAINBOW Partners $75K+

BUTTERFLY Partners $50K+

  • MUSIC GARDEN donated by Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Hutton Parker Foundation
  • Paskin Family Foundation
  • GATHERING ZONE donated by Rudi Schulte Family Foundation

FRIENDSHIP Partners $25K+

  • Avexis/Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Bella Vista Designs, In Honor of Nana Zellet
  • Brignardello Family
  • Crossfit Pacific Coast
  • Duo Events
  • Alex + Casey Fang
  • Festivals 4 a Cause: Schwabecher, Powers, Olson + Hawkins Families
  • Greene Family Foundation, In Loving Memory of Teya Sterndahl
  • Ann Jackson Family Foundation
  • Leanne Schlinger
  • Lynette + Jason Spievak
  • Twining + Winn Families
  • Shannon + Neil Young

KINDNESS Partners $10K+

  • Bartolo Family
  • BMW Santa Barbara
  • Claassen Family
  • Brian Coryat
  • COX
  • Deakyne Family
  • Delio Family
  • Fess Parker Winery 
  • Andrew & Ivana Firestone
  • Lucy Firestone
  • Mary Firestone
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH, Girl Scout Troop 50396
  • Larry & Robyn Gottesdiener
  • In Memory of Aiden Henderson, Team Aiden
  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars
  • Analise Maggio
  • Montecito Firefighters Charitable Foundation
  • Sarah + Ryan Muzzy
  • In Honor of Asher, Beck, Sky + Stella
  • In Memory of Owen Shuler, Fight For Owen + Shuler Family
  • Catherine + Matthew Stoll
  • FRIENDSHIP BENCH donated by Ellen Strong

INCLUSION Friends

  • Alpha Resource Center
  • Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Koegel Autism Center
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • MOXI
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • PathPoint
  • Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Shane’s Inspiration
  • Tri-Counties Regional Center
 
 
 
  • Kelly + Kevin Almeroth
  • Patricia + Paul Bragg Foundaiton
  • 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
  • In Honor of Finn the Fighter

COMMUNITY Partners $5K+

  • In Memory of Ava Francis, Team Ava
  • Gardner Group Foundation
  • In Memory of Callie Golden, Golden Family
  • Greg Goodman
  • Belle Hahn
  • Lily Hahn
  • Patrick + Diane Hall
  • Josh + Yessica Holloway
  • Blake + Emily Jones
  • Kanowsky Family
  • John + Cassie Keister
  • Jesse Licht & Molly Tollesfson
  • Jose + Mary Lopez

COMMUNITY Partners $5K

  • In Honor of Taysen Langstraat, Manna Insurance Group
  • Dennis + Carolyn Miller
  • Jennifer + Jon Miller
  • Mosher Foundation
  • In Honor of Zoey, Needham Family
  • Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, LLP
  • Ani + Justin Pollack
  • Paul + Emily Ross
  • Randy Solakian Estates Group
  • Robert + Tracy Stoll
  • Zarley Family Foundation
  • Zia Group

OUR VISION

Inclusive, innovative, whimsical and fun, Gwendolyn’s Playground is a place to spark wonder in every age. 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 after school, 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 9-acre public space including tournament-grade sports fields, fitness, 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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