Akron, June 18, 2016 – The Akron community was revitalized today thanks to a new playground built at Suddieth Park. In less than eight hours, more than 200 volunteers from Foresters FinancialTM, United Way of Summit County, the City of Akron and non-profit KaBOOM! created the new play space, which will serve more than 1,900 children and their families in the local community for years to come. To add to the excitement and thrill of build day, National Football League players and Akron natives Doran Grant, cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shaquille Riddick, outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals and Devin Smith, wide receiver for the New York Jets joined in the day’s events to support the work of United Way and help give back to their home community.
“We believe in enriching lives and building strong communities – that’s our purpose,” said Tony Garcia, President and CEO, Foresters Financial. “Playgrounds are important to communities, providing a public space where children can play safely, families can spend quality time and the community can come together. An investment in a playground is an investment in community, and we are happy to provide the Akron community with a place that families can enjoy for years to come.”
The design for the new playground is based on drawings created by neighborhood children at a special Design Day event held in April when community members met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters Financial to design their dream playground. The drawings inspired the final playground design.
Foresters Financial, an international financial services provider, helps families reach their financial goals, protect themselves and make a lasting difference in their communities. This year, Foresters and KaBOOM! are proudly celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their partnership. Since 2006, Foresters has invested more than $11.5 million with KaBOOM! to build more than 130 playgrounds – including 9 in Ohio - across the US and Canada by the end of 2016. Over their 15-year lifespan, these playgrounds will provide more than 4.5 million children and their families with an opportunity to spend quality time together and enhance family well-being.
“The KaBOOM! playground project aligns perfectly with United Way’s work to combat the childhood obesity epidemic in Summit County and especially in the core City of Akron,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to be a partner in bringing KaBOOM! to the families and children of North Hill and helping to get them active and playing.”
Green spaces and safe play structures where children and families can enjoy and spend time together are sparse in many high density communities. Playing outdoors is an important part of every child’s healthy development and the creation of this new playground will allow thousands of children to play safely and be active in their community.
Foresters Financial is a KaBOOM! Founding Partner and National Partner. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of ensuring that all children get the balance of active play they need to become healthy and successful adults because #playmatters.
United Way of Summit County
United Way of Summit County advances the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on Education, Income and Health because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We train a spotlight on critical issues, engage with private and public sector leaders and coordinate agendas with partners to leverage Collective Impact. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Summit County visit uwsummit.org.
City of Akron
With a population of nearly 200,000 people living within its 62.4 square miles, Akron is the entryway to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a short distance from the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. Akron is home to three world-class healthcare systems, Akron Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic/Akron General, and Summa Health Systems; two Fortune 500 companies – Goodyear Tire & Rubber and FirstEnergy. We also are home to The University of Akron, the region’s most influential public research university, known for its school of law, college of engineering, and polymer science/polymer engineering research center. A stopping point for many sports enthusiasts, Akron annually hosts the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby and Ohio High School Athletic Association baseball and softball championship games. Our city also holds the nationally-acclaimed Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series; one of the top 50 races in the U.S. that welcomes 15,000 runners each fall. The City or Akron offers arts, culture and education as well as theater and musical productions and entertainment for people of all ages. To learn more about Akron, visit us at www.akronohio.gov.
About Foresters Financial
Foresters Financial™ is an international financial services provider with more than three million clients and members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and total funds under management of $34 billion¹. With a history of more than 140 years, we provide life insurance, savings, retirement and investment solutions that help families achieve their financial goals, protect their families and improve their communities. For more information, visit foresters.com.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open, or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters and why cities are embracing #playability: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.
United Way of Summit County:
City of Akron :