RSF Makes a New Loan to Playworks
January 10, 2014
RSF Social Finance (RSF) is pleased to announce a new loan to Playworks, a non-profit that provides structured recess in public schools. This loan, funded in partnership with One PacificCoast Bank, will help bridge the gap between school payments, grant receipts, and expense payments, as well as support the organization through its expansion.
Playworks programs improve school climate, reduce bullying, and increase student engagement through play and physical activity. The organization provides public schools with trained, full-time coaches who use recess and play to support learning; or, direct training for educators and youth workers through hands-on professional development workshops and collaborative consultation. Built on best practices in youth development, as well as successes from their direct service program, Playworks teaches essential skills that transform playgrounds, and change lives.
“Playworks is creating a ‘new normal’ where investment in play and recess is valued, and is considered a criterion in the overall health of schools,” said Ted Levinson, RSF’s Director of Lending. “We see this financing as a unique opportunity to make an impact in the public school system.”
Jill Vialet founded Playworks in 1996, in response to a principal’s frustration with the state of school recess. Many teachers and administrators see recess as one of the greatest detractors from the learning environment. A 2009 Gallup poll estimated that 89% of discipline related problems occur during lunch and recess. The fights, bullying, and teasing that characterize recess have become so challenging that some schools have chosen to eliminate recess altogether. On average, students K-6 receive 23-28 minutes of recess per day, including time to eat lunch.
In contrast, research shows that play is essential to enabling children to reach important social, emotional, cognitive, and developmental milestones, and is invaluable in keeping children healthy. Decreasing recess time ignores the potential for it to contribute positively to the learning environment.
The Playworks program uses structured play and physical activity to bring out the best in kids. Playworks coaches enhance and transform recess and play into a positive experience that helps kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity. Today, Playworks serves over 370 schools in 23 cities through direct service and, this year, will provide training to an additional 500 schools nationwide.
“At Playworks, we believe in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. So we create a place for every kid on the playground. A place where every kid belongs, has fun, and is part of the game,” says Vialet. “We’re excited to be working with RSF Social Finance as a mission-aligned partner to scale Playworks vision nationwide”
Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that provides safe, healthy, inclusive play and physical activity to schools at recess and throughout the entire school day. Celebrating its 15-year anniversary, Playworks is the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools. Playworks will reach over 500,000 students every day this year through direct service and training nationwide. www.playworks.org