Playworks Michigan Receives Largest Grant Award in Five-Year History

  1. Updates

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grants $1.14 million to Playworks.  New funds will power Playworks programs in Michigan and New York.


Detroit, MI and New York, NY—October 24, 2016—Playworks, a leading nonprofit that brings safe and healthy play to more than 1,200 schools and 700,000 children annually, has earned a new $1.14 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The new funds will power a variety of Playworks programs in Michigan and New York.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grant-making organization primarily dedicated to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of western New York and southeastern Michigan. Playworks already operates in those areas, but the organization will be able to dramatically increase its offering thanks to these additional funds.

In the 2016-2017 school year, Playworks will reach approximately 50,000 students at approximately 90 primarily low-income elementary schools and youth organizations in Michigan and New York. The new grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., Foundation will enable Playworks to:

  • Increase the number of schools implementing the Playworks model of recess—thus ensuring safe and healthy play for more kids every day.
  • Target strategic school districts in both regions to create partnerships that establish Playworks methodologies for the long term.
  • Leverage digital tools and communication to inspire schools to join Playworks’ Play Movement.

According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, students who develop strong social and emotional skills are twice as likely to graduate from college and 46% more likely to have a full-time job by age 25 than their peers. Playworks is the leading national nonprofit that leverages play as a tool to promote health, increase social and emotional learning, and improve the climate of individual schools.

“Playworks has demonstrated more than two decades of success across the country with its proven model of programs centered around increasing social competencies through physical activity and play,” said David Egner, President & CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “We’re pleased the Foundation’s support will allow Playworks to expand their reach to even more children throughout southeast Michigan and western New York, ultimately building valuable social and emotional skills in students that will help lead to positive educational and life outcomes.”

“We are honored that the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has entrusted Playworks with these new funds,” said Angela Rogensues, Playworks Michigan executive director, and Kim McCall, Playworks New York / New Jersey executive director. “Mr. Wilson cared deeply about these regions of Michigan and New York, and so do we. Southeastern Michigan and western New York are incredible communities full of hard-working people and families. By bringing additional Playworks services into these regions, we can help more children increase social and emotional learning, giving them essential skills they can use in school and in life.” 

Existing regional Playworks funders in Michigan and New York include The Detroit Lions Charities, the Skillman Foundation, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, and Healthy Kids. 

Playworks Michigan will be hosting two Playshop events on November 1 and November 2. If you are interested in attending click here


More Updates

Teacher pushing cart
Teacher pushing cart

April 8, 2021

How to fund Playworks programming at your school ›

Did you know Playworks programming can be funded by a variety of federal, state, and private streams? Here is a list to provide guidance and resources to help administrators in Michigan determine the best funding source to support bringing Playworks to your school. Government Grants For Schools Playworks has been found to be evidence-based under…

March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…