By: Meg Duff, Marketing Manager, Playworks
Back in 1996, Playworks CEO and founder Jill Vialet met with an elementary school principal to pitch an art program. The principal arrived late, with three little boys in tow. These boys had been sent to the principal’s office for the third time that week. Exasperated, the principal asked, “what I really need help with is recess. Can you do anything about that instead?”
This year, Playworks is celebrating 20 years of bringing healthy, safe, and inclusive play to hundreds of thousands of children across the country, both at recess and beyond. Today, we are also celebrating 10 years with Salesforce.
Playworks is the leading national nonprofit leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. Currently, we serve more than 1,300 schools in 23 U.S. cities and reach more than 700,000 students directly and through professional training services. We help schools and youth serving organizations ensure that every kid on the playground has a place to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills, and our partnership with Salesforce is a big part of how we got here.
Playworks and Salesforce.org grew up together. Donated licenses and two Force for Change grants helped get our Salesforce org up and running, and made Salesforce work for the AmeriCorps coaches and staff that make our programs possible. Since then, we’ve continued to playfully explore how the Salesforce platform can transform nonprofit operations. From Chatter conversations about the best games to play while waiting in line, to donor and partner management, single sign-on, and integration with systems across all of our national departments, Salesforce has become the heart of our operations.
If the Salesforce platform is at the heart of our work, Salesforce employees have become a part of our soul. Through Salesforce’s unique 1-1-1 philanthropy model, more than 2,000 Salesforce volunteers have donated more than 12,000 hours to offer pro bono technical support, serve on our local and national boards, participate in Corporate Kickball tournaments, lead play at recess, and transform play spaces around the country by painting foursquare courts, playground signs, and more. We were happy to return the favor by leading recess for thousands of participants at Dreamforce 2015.
In 2015, Playworks also honored Salesforce with our Inspiring Leadership Award for the incredible impact the organization has made at every level of our organization. It is impossible to imagine the impact we have already made without Salesforce as a partner. We know that play brings out the best in children and in communities, and our goal is to make sure that every kid has the opportunity for safe, healthy play—every day. As an integral partner in this work, we are thrilled that Salesforce will continue to help us get there.