10 Memorable Moments of 2015

As we wind down 2015 we invite you to look back with us on some of the highlights.

The past 12 months marked some major milestones for our 3-year old venture.

1 – We cut the ribbon on our newly renovated space on Thalia Street. Capping off a six-month partnership with Palmisano Contractors. In April we broke ground on the final phase of construction followed by our official ribbon cutting in late July.  The IMG_0378culmination of the Thalia Street development in which over 30 partners contributed over $100K of services, materials and labor has been our most significant milestone yet in enabling us to fulfill our mission of transforming under-utilized urban spaces into dynamic play and learning environments for kids 4-12.  Last week we were thrilled to announce that Palmisano was awarded a 2015 Excellence in Construction award for their work on PlayBuild.

2 – We established our founding Board of Directors and Strategic Advisory Board.  We were thrilled to welcome Sean Tate, Dr. Lauren Bierbaum, Jason Marsalis and Cliff Worley to our founding Board of Directors and to welcome 8 other individuals from around the country to our Advisory Board.   To read the bios of our Board and Advisory Board members click here.

3 – We forged a key strategic partnership with Louisiana Healthcare Connections to support our open play sessions at Thalia Street.  In addition to hosting two afternoons/week of after school sessions, with LHC’s support beginning in November, we have been able to staff and support two additional after-school play sessions for the neighborhood. 

4 – More than 90 supporters contributed to our 2015 GiveNOLA campaign  – a 33% increase over participation in 2014. In addition nearly 100% of the contributors to our 2014 campaign re-confirmed their support for our work – many with increased contributions.  With lagniappe and matching funds, we secured over $20K from GiveNOLA in 2015.

5 – We forged deeper ties with our community partners – Tulane University and the French Market Corporation.   From our participation in the Taylor Center for Design Thinking and Social Innovation’s Fast 48 boot camp to our collaboration with Tulane City Center to host kids’ workshops and walking tours we laid groundwork for an ongoing alliance with Tulane.  In the second year of our French Market partnership we produced our pop-up at three major festivals, and we were able to incubate a new program – Build by Ear – developed in partnership with Board Member Jason Marsalis with the twin aims of educating kids about New Orleans’ jazz and historic architecture.

6 – KaBoom! and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation both doubled
11127670_992177844127557_5518255848383392581_n down on their support for PlayBuild.  In July we were awarded a second Let’s Play grant from KaBoom! and Dr. Pepper Snapple Foundation for the Rig-a-ma-Jig equipment.  In August we were awarded a second Community Partner grant from Jazz and Heritage to support our after-school programs.

7 – Over 1,000 PlayBuilders visited us in the Kids’ Tent at Jazz and Heritage Festival during the Festival’s second weekend.  Our JazzFest outing was one of the highlights of our event schedule, and we could not have pulled it off without the support of a small army of volunteers.

8 – We entered new partnerships with key local and national organizations including:
Prospect 3 – hosting over 30 PlayBuilders for a visit to the Shigeru Ban Exhibit.  Our Build-a-Ban workshop allowed the kids to get hands-on by making Ban-inspired structures.  Our P3 partnership was a powerful example of our ability to make contemporary design accessible and engaging for kids.
AIGA – collaborating with the national and local chapters at AIGA enabled us to engage local elementary kids in a “Design Career Day” and a Design Challenge around New Orleans’ Tri-Centennial.
NORDC – our screening of the LEGO Movie and our pre-movie Block Party brought a kids and family audience to a nighttime event at AL Davis Park along with partners Louisiana Healthcare Connection, Revolution Foods and the New Orleans Fire Department.

Shigeru Ban workshop9 – We took the stage – We were thrilled to be invited to share our story at major industry events highlighting our work in design education and creative placemaking.  We shared our story in keynote talks and panel discussions at Structures for Inclusion, AIA’s EdSpaces, National Organization of Minority Architects, and the AIGA National Convention.

10 – We commemorated K10 – Our involvement in the 10-year Katrina commemoration was an affirmation that the work we are doing has significant awareness and momentum, as well as confirmation that as we look to the Next 10 years, there is still a lot of work to be done.  As one of the many dignitaries and officials said of the 10-year Katrina milestone – “The first 10 years were hard.  Now we are into the long middle.”

2016 marks the beginning of this next chapter, for New Orleans as well as for PlayBuild.  Our past 3 years we have built awareness, established our presence at Thalia Street, and proven that there is demand for our programming and events.
Now we need to establish a sustainable organizational and operating model, secure funding to engage additional instructors and recruit experienced executive leadership and tap a deeper well of grant funding to secure multi-year commitments.

How You Can Help

Support PlayBuild through a year-end contribution by visiting our website and donating via PayPalEven small donations have impact.

If you are able to commit to a recurring $10/month contribution your support throughout the year.

Donations made before midnight on December 31st are eligible for tax deduction for the 2015 tax year.

Please pay it forward for the future of New Orleans.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Angela + Charlotte
Team PlayBuild

In the past 12 months with your support, we have engaged over 1,500 kids through our community and school partnerships and our Central City neighborhood outreach.

To view some short videos of our work and testimonials from our supporters and partners please visit our YouTube channel.