Efforts to fully fund a plan for an all-inclusive playground at Santa Clara’s Central Park fell short on Giving Tuesday, despite a last-minute $50,000 pledge from Intel. Magical Bridge, the non-profit behind the plan to build the playground, says even with the donation, it is still $410,000 short of the fundraising goal.
“We’re looking for community, high-tech, basically any and all support,” said Jill Asher, the Executive Director of the Magical Bridge Foundation. “To put out an urgent plea. As people are considering end of the year giving, and supporting a project, this is the one we hope that they will consider and give to.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and everything that followed has made fundraising for the playground an uphill battle. The plans for the playground were announced right before COVID hit. Fundraising started around the time the Bay Area shut down because of the COVID pandemic. In the ensuing months, non-profits across the board struggled to find funding.
While the Magical Bridge Foundation has managed to fund a majority of the $4.5 million project, coming up short could mean the project loses a little bit of its magic.
“Early next year, if it’s not fully funded, we just start looking at what we are going to potentially have to scale back,” said Asher. “We’re not having those conversations yet…but we probably have to scale back a bit.”
The City of Santa Clara has committed money to the project as well as Santa Clara County. Asher is hoping that community members will come together to propel the project over the finish line.
“The playground is for both children and adults of every type of ability. That’s what makes this project and this playground so unique. Because in the cases of those with disabilities, which is one in every four of us…one in every four of us has a really, really hard time playing at a public park,” said Asher.
“If you do happen to have a disability, you’re going to enter this space and understand and appreciate and recognize that this place has also been built for you in mind,” continued Asher. “That’s what makes the place so magical.”
Asher says that even if the foundation falls short of its fundraising goal, it will move forward with the project but something will be eliminated from the plans. The goal is to start construction in 2022 and open in 2023.
“It’s going to be wonderful at whatever level of funds we have. We just would like to make it as magical and special as possible,” said Asher.
To donate to the Magical Bridge Foundation, visit the website.