In September 2016, Kinder Foundation and Houston Endowment contributed a combined $5 million to SPARK – a Houston-based non-profit that helps public schools develop their playgrounds into community parks – to impact neighborhoods in “park deserts.” The City of Houston committed an additional $450,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding for qualifying schools. This Phase I work, set to be complete by the end of 2020, will bring 25 new parks and five ‘re-SPARKS’ (or updated parks) to campuses across 12 independent school districts and three charter schools, many outside Loop 610.
Underscoring the success of Phase I, the Kinder Foundation and Houston Endowment made a follow-up investment of an additional combined $5 million in March 2020. This Phase II initiative will fund 30 additional park projects through 2024.
“AA Milne, located in Southwest Houston’s Northfield I & II neighborhood, is home to two SPARK Parks! Our SPARK Parks help bridge the gap between our school community, and our geographic community. Those who have yet to venture onto our campus are welcomed with open arms, beautiful, vibrant playscapes and an ART=FUN sculpture that includes students’ artwork! Our SPARK Parks give all community members an opportunity to spend time on campus and connect with our school community. The SPARK Parks have fostered an environment of togetherness and play, and will continue to do so for years to come. Our SPARK Parks had made our community into a family, and for that we are forever thankful.”
– Terese C. Pollard, Principal, A. A. Milne Elementary Schoolsparkpark.org