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BOPC, BlueCross BlueShield, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, and KaBOOM! to Build New Playground in Buffalo

By September 19, 2019October 1st, 2019No Comments


Community Unites to Make Play More Accessible for Kids at MLK Jr. Park

BlueCross BlueShield of WNY: Amber Hartmann | 716-291-5685 |
Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy: Sarah Larkin | 716-861-0761 |
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation: Carly Strachan | 313-885-1895 |
KaBOOM!: LeAnn Taylor | 202-464-6411 |

WHAT:  Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and over 250 community volunteers will join KaBOOM! on Friday, September 20 to build a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in just six hours.

In July, area children came together to draw their dream playgrounds. The new playground design is based off their ideas and will provide thousands of kids in the City of Buffalo and surrounding neighborhoods with a great, safe place to play over its lifetime.

This playground is part of a broader effort to ensure communities have great PLAYces for kids and families, creating an oasis where kids feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated.

WHEN: Friday, September 20 (Times approximate)

8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Kick-off ceremony

11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. : Best viewing of playground construction

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Final construction phase

2:30 p.m.: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

 WHERE: Martin Luther King, Jr. Park

Best St. and Fillmore Ave. Parking located on N. Parade Ave and E. Parade Ave, Buffalo, NY 14211

WHO: List of speakers for 2:30 p.m. Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Mayor Byron W. Brown, City of Buffalo

Mary Wilson, Life Trustee, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Julie R. Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conversancy

Melanie Barnes, Associate Director, Build It With KaBOOM! Operations


About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation, through a unique public-private partnership, to manage and operate an entire urban park system consisting of more than 850 acres of beautifully designed historic parks, parkways and circles. The Conservancy is an independent not-for-profit, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations.  Since 2004 the Conservancy has held responsibility for the management and care of these nationally registered historic green spaces, and in 2019 the Conservancy and City signed a new 12-year partnership agreement with an approved update to its five-year plan for the Olmsted parks in continuing to assist the City in bringing recognition to its collective renaissance. Designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted more than 150 years ago, these 25 iconic connective spaces represent the nation’s first urban park system. More than 2.5 million visits occur in Buffalo’s Olmsted Park system annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. Most recently, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America, The Guardian publication named Buffalo’s Olmsted park system as one of the best park systems in the world, and in 2018 the Conservancy set a Guinness World Record in historic Bidwell Parkway.

The Buffalo Olmsted Park System includes:

Six parks: Cazenovia, Delaware, Front, Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside, and South parks

Seven parkways: Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter, Red Jacket, and Richmond

Eight landscaped traffic circles: Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, McClellan, McKinley, Soldiers, and Symphony

About BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Since 1936, BlueCross BlueShield has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. BlueCross BlueShield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, BlueCross BlueShield contributes significantly to organizations that strengthen and enrich the health of our community.

For up-to-date news, facts, and information about the company, leadership, and industry, please visit the BlueCross BlueShield News Center at or follow us on Twitter.

About Blue Fund

Blue Fund, funded solely by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, awards major grants in Western New York, totaling approximately $1 million to $3 million annually, to organizations and initiatives that have a positive impact on key health areas and will demonstrate enhanced measurable outcomes for community health metrics. These include behavioral health, cardiovascular health, diabetes, health care workforce development, healthy children and the opioid epidemic.  Blue Fund complements BlueCross BlueShield’s current corporate giving program of partnerships and sponsorships which saw community investments of more than $2 million in Western New York in 2018.

 About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or improve more than 17,000 playspaces, engage over 1.5 million volunteers and serve nearly 10 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit and join the conversation at