The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Eberwhite Parent Teacher Organization are calling on local residents to support a crowdfunding campaign to rebuild Eberwhite Playground.
Hosted by the Michigan-based online crowdfunding site Patronicity, the campaign has a goal of $50,000 by May 1. If the amount is reached during the 60-day campaign, MEDC will award a matching grant through its Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) program.
PSCP is a collaboration between MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity. Launched in 2014, the initiative is open to communities, nonprofits, and other business entities seeking help with community improvement projects.
"We are really excited about the playground campaign and will be matching them dollar-for-dollar," says Michele Wildman, MEDC's senior vice president of community development.
Wildman points out that the program has about a 98% success rate once an organization launches its campaign. "A fair amount of investigation is part of the application process to gauge community support before a decision is made," she says.
She says the Eberwhite application stood out due to the PTO's commitment to make the playground inclusive for all children.
"It's an opportunity to have a playspace that is open to students and neighborhood children of all abilities," Wildman says. "That is an important part of what we are trying to do with our program."
Funds raised will go to completing a third- through fifth-grade playground. It is the last phase of rebuilding the playspace that has been housed at Eberwhite Elementary School for nearly 30 years and open to all area children.
The playground was deemed no longer safe in 2018. Since then, local community members and businesses have banded together to rebuild it. Phase one of the project was completed last year with the construction of a kindergarten- through second-grade playground. If fully funded with the expected $100,000 from the current campaign, the final phase could be done as soon as October.
"We encourage people to visit the fundraising page and make a donation. It's an important thing for the community and we want to see it be successful," Wildman says.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Doug Coombe.