CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX), the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, announced today the launch of a $4.1 million national partnership between The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM!. Through this partnership, The Foundation and KaBOOM! will build 30 playgrounds across the United States by the end of 2015, benefitting 100,000 children. KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. To celebrate the official coast-to-coast launch of the partnership, more than 400 volunteers simultaneously built two new playgrounds today in Richmond, Va. and Los Angeles, Calif.
Only one in five children live within walking distance of a park or playground,* and children ages eight to 12 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen.** This play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and cognitively. The new partnership supports the KaBOOM! vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
The partnership is a three-year commitment with three distinct impact areas. First, the 30 nationwide community-built playgrounds will be designed by children and built by volunteers from local partners and thousands of CarMax associates. Second, The Foundation is donating 11 Imagination Playgrounds to select partner organizations. This breakthrough playspace concept includes innovative, reconfigurable loose-parts for children to design their own playground. The third component of the partnership includes a collaboration to identify and eradicate “Play Deserts” – areas that have lots of kids but not enough places to play – through crowd-sourced data from the KaBOOM! Map of Play.
This year, the Foundation is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a new focus on children’s healthy living. This focus has been directed by associates, who have expressed a desire to help today’s youth address the important issues of obesity and lack of physical activity. In addition, the partnership is launching during CarMax Cares Month, the annual height of associate volunteerism.
“CarMax has a strong culture of integrity, teamwork and taking care of each other. It’s our culture of caring for others that has drawn our associates to the issue of children’s healthy living,” said Lynn Mussatt, president of The CarMax Foundation and CarMax’s vice president of business operations. “Our associates across the country will impact countless families by helping get kids moving and playing.”
Today’s coast-to-coast playground builds are just the start. In the next year, The Foundation and KaBOOM! nationwide tour will include playground builds in the following cities: Richmond, Va.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Dallas, Texas; and Atlanta, Ga. The Foundation and KaBOOM! are actively seeking nonprofit partners for these builds. For more information on being a partner, please visit the KaBOOM! website.
“Associates who volunteered at past KaBOOM! and Foundation builds in Los Angeles and Nashville left the experience energized and inspired,” said Damon Devins, CarMax location general manager in Buena Park, Calif., and KaBOOM! volunteer. “The true reward for all of us involved will be seeing children playing on these playgrounds for years to come.”
Research shows that children who participate in regular physical activity and play are healthier, feel more connected to their community, foster positive attitudes toward diversity, build confidence and perform better in the classroom.
“Play is disappearing across the country, but partnerships like this one with The CarMax Foundation will help give kids the childhood they deserve,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!. “Kids need to play actively every day – at home, in schools and in communities. We are grateful to The CarMax Foundation and their commitment to play for children of all ages.”
About The CarMax Foundation
The CarMax Foundation is designed to enrich the communities where our associates live and work by providing volunteers, matching gifts and grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations across the country. Since 2003, The Foundation has donated more than $15 million to nonprofits with programs focusing on education, youth leadership, wellness and children’s healthy living. Funding programs are made available through a portion of CarMax, Inc.’s pre-tax profits. The Foundation matches associates’ and their families’ donated time and personal monetary commitments up to $10,000 per associate each year. In the past year alone, associates have participated in more than 600 volunteer team builder projects across a variety of nonprofit organizations. For more information on The CarMax Foundation, visit http://www.carmaxcares.com.
CarMax, a member of the FORTUNE 500 and the S&P 500, and one of the FORTUNE2013 “100 Best Companies to Work For,” is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Headquartered in Richmond, Va., CarMax currently operates 121 used car superstores in 61 markets. The CarMax consumer offer is structured around four customer benefits: low, no-haggle prices; a broad selection; high quality vehicles; and customer-friendly service. During the 12 months that ended February 28, 2013, the company retailed 447,728 used cars and sold 324,779 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. Social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America because children need to play actively every day at home, in school and in their communities. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 90,000 places to play, built more than 2,300 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play, now out in paperback. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has an office in San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.