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.

Learn more and become a Founding Partner, which includes naming and signage opportunities to reflect your commitment and investment.

HELP US BUILD GWENDOLYN'S PLAYGROUND

We have partnered with the City of Santa Barbara and Parks and Recreation to create the first 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.

0.1 MM
Dollars

Needed to build Gwendolyn’s Playground

1 MM
Dollars

 Total raised to date

Founding Partners

We are so grateful for the support of our Founding Partners in this private/public/community 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+

  • Anonymous

RAINBOW Partners $75K

  • In Memory of Jack Bonelli, Feeding Littles, Bapron Baby and Bonelli Family

BUTTERFLY Partners $50K

  • Grace Fisher Foundation

FRIENDSHIP Partners $25K

  • Bella Vista Designs
  • Brignardello Family
  • In loving memory of Teya Sterndahl, Greene Family Foundation
  • Avexis/Novartis Gene Therapies
  • CrossFit Pacific Coast

KINDNESS Partners $12.5K

  • BMW Santa Barbara
  • Ellen Strong
  • Schlinger Family Foundation
  • Montecito Firefighters Charitable Foundation
  • In memory of Aiden Henderson, Aiden’s Tribe
  • Firestone Family
  • Pirozzi Family
  • Deakyne Family
  • Young Family
  • Rudi Schulte Family Foundation
  • Anonymous
  • Brian Coryat

COMMUNITY Partners $5K

  • In memory of Ava Francis, Team Ava
  • In memory of Owen Shuler, Fight For Owen
  • Girl Scout Troop 50396
  • Holloway Family
  • Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, LLP
  • Carolyn + Dennis Miller
  • Zarley Family Foundation
  • Bartolo Family
  • Strand Family
  • Eric Kanowsky
  • Finn the Fighter
  • Patrick + Diane Hall
  • Nicole Charuvastra
  • Michael + Sonia Behrman
  • In honor of Taysen Langstraat, Manna Insurance Group
  • Gardner Grout Foundation

INCLUSION Friends

  • MOXI
  • Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Kyle’s Kitchen
  • Grace Fisher Foundation
  • Shane’s Inspiration
  • Koegel Autism Center

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.

PLAYGROUND FEATURES

Magical Tree $1MM
Sensory Swings $150K
Interactive Innovation $150K
*SPONSORED* Slide Hillside $150K
Sensory Spinning $150K
Inclusive Art Mural by Fred Calleri $75K
Kindness Garden $50K
*SPONSORED* Music Fun $50K
Picnic + Party Zone $50K
Friendship Benches $10K

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, but 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.

THE LOCATION

Gwendolyn’s Playground is an integral component of a re-imagined public space including 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 and community engagement.

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