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When Andrea Wenner moved to Manhattan to pursue nonprofit work in 2000, she often saw schoolchildren playing in the street outside her Upper East Side apartment building during recess. The nearby elementary school blocked off the street, she learned, because it didn’t have a playground. “It just left an impression in my mind,” Wenner says.
A couple of years later, Wenner MBA ’05 was interning at an organization that renovates high-school athletic fields when she learned that many elementary schools have the space for playgrounds but lack the money to build fun, safe facilities. So in 2004, Wenner formed a nonprofit, Out2Play, that designs and renovates New York City school playgrounds.
Out2Play has completed 15 playgrounds over the past two years and has 27 projects planned for 2008. A typical project costs $250,000 and involves the work of several contractors. Wenner manages the entire planning, design, and construction process. She also spends a lot of time applying for foundation grants and city discretionary funds, as well as courting corporate and individual donors. Out2Play currently has a list of potential projects for 120 schools.
Wenner hopes to complete all of them by 2012. “Our goal is to continue expanding,” she says. “We will eventually get every single one of these done.”
For more information, visit www.Out2Play.org.
—Cristina Najarro ’10CC, Columbia Magazine, Spring 2008