Playworks Michigan has landed a $1.9 million grant that it will use to help reach more than 130 schools and 50,000 students in Southeast Michigan over three years.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation in Detroit gave a $4.6 million grant to Playworks' national organization to aid its affiliates in Michigan and New York. More than 40 percent of the grant was earmarked for Playworks Michigan, the largest grant it's ever received. The organization helps schools offer safe activities throughout the school day and with after-school programming. One of its goals is to reduce bullying in schools.
Playworks Michigan plans to engage about 138 schools and another 15 youth-serving groups in a more "robust" way with the help of the grant, Executive Director Angela Rogensues said. For the first time, children as young as 3 years old will stand to gain, she said.
The funding will be used to help train more than 1,000 school and outside staff to implement recess and after-school programming. The nonprofit partners with school districts and organizations that serve youth to provide on-site sports coaches, consulting services and professional development training, Rogensues said.
"It's a game changer because it's going to allow us to reach toward our 2020 goal of reaching 120 elementary schools and 60,000 students in the state of Michigan," Rogensues said. "It's also going to enable us to provide additional services to schools that we would not be able to reach without their investment and give kids the opportunity to play at school every day."
The Wilson Foundation renewed its commitment to Playworks after awarding a two-year, $1.14 million grant to the nonprofit in 2016. That helped Playworks reach more than 21,000 students in 52 schools in Southeast Michigan, according to a news release.
"We are serious about the importance of play in our communities," Jim Boyle, Wilson Foundation vice president of programs and communications, said in the release. "Playworks' thoughtful approach to recess and play for elementary students, and now even younger children, has the power to improve the physical and social-emotional well-being of children in Southeast Michigan and Western New York."
Playworks, which has been around since 1996, opened its Michigan affiliate in 2010.
Source: Crain's Detroit