Almost a year and a half after announcing an all-inclusive playground in Santa Clara’s Central Park, the Magical Bridge Foundation (https://magicalbridge.org/) is making a last-minute fundraising push.
“We announced the Magical Bridge Santa Clara project just a few months before COVID hit,” said Jill Asher, the Executive Director of the Magical Bridge Foundation. “Because of COVID, what happened is, fundraising dried up.”
The non-profit is approximately $700,000 short of its $4.5 million fundraising goal. With the deadline to submit plans approaching, the funding needs to come in soon.
“We’re sort of coming up to the point where we’re going to be making some decisions about what we’re going to do with this project,” said Asher.
Decisions like whether or not to include all of the zones initially planned for the Santa Clara playground.
“We are committed to bringing the playground to Santa Clara’s Central Park,” said Asher. “If we had to make it smaller, we would, but we want it to have all the same zones and play features for everyone at every stage of life.”
Magical Bridge has built two playgrounds in the Bay Area so far, Palo Alto and Redwood City. Each playground has seven zones to make sure children and adults of all abilities, all disabilities, all sizes and all ages feel comfortable at play. If Magical Bridge does not meet its fundraising goal, one of those zones may have to be cut out.
“I feel like if we can get the word out, then it will spark the community to make $1 donations, $5 donations, $100 donations,” said Asher. “Anyone who donates $300 or more will have their name on the donor wall. [We’re hoping] companies and businesses and organizations and philanthropists [will] step up as well. We just want to get there.”
The Magical Bridge Foundation worked with autism groups, Down Syndrome groups, Alzheimer’s groups, Parkinson’s groups and other families and adults with disabilities to determine what zones would be best suit all visitors.
“We learned that predictability inside of a playground matters. If you don’t like sliding, you should be able to say, ‘I don’t want to go to the sliding zone, but I really like swinging. So, let me go over there.’” said Asher. “We divided the playground into seven different zones because we learned predictability matters. Predictability is super important. So, we want to be able to keep all the seven different zones.”
Every month, Magical Bridge’s playgrounds in Redwood City and Palo Alto each welcome 25,000 visitors, even during COVID. Two more Magical Bridge playgrounds are under construction, one in Morgan Hill and one in Sunnyvale. The site in Sunnyvale is scheduled to open later this year or early in 2022, depending on when the City of Sunnyvale reopens its Fair Oaks Park.
For more information and to donate to the Magical Bridge Foundation, visit the Magical Bridge website at www.magicalbridge.org.
Wow. I’ve legit not heard a thing about this before now. Seems like an excellent opportunity to do some community fundraising. Perhaps we could find a local sponsor to match individual donations? Is there someone on the council or parks commission leading this effort?