Media Contacts:
Jill Asher
Magical Bridge Foundation

Prominent Companies and Foundations Band Together to Make Inclusive Play a Priority in Redwood City, CA

Redwood City, CA July 26, 2017 – Companies and foundations that Bay Area residents know well have come together to ensure that residents and visitors of Redwood City and the greater San Mateo County thrive through play! Seven high-profile organizations are supporting a new innovative and inclusive play space for all, Magical Bridge Playground, with substantial donations totaling nearly $2 million.

Magical Bridge Playgrounds are mindfully designed to be socially inclusive for children and adults of many physical and cognitive abilities. The Magical Bridge Foundation calls on a decade of research and insights from inclusion specialists to design play spaces that welcome everyone. The third critical component to bringing these playgrounds to life is community – including advocacy and investment by engaged organizations, corporations, school partners and volunteers. Magical Bridge welcomes these seven new business and foundation partners whose gifts will fund dynamic zones within the playground.

“We’re delighted to help bring this playground to Redwood City, and believe its inclusive design will foster a great sense of community among all people – regardless of age and ability,” Jim Shelton, president of education for the The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, said.

“These gifts exemplify how a community can come together, and how we can combine our resources, mission, energy and excitement to make Redwood City even more welcoming to all people,” said Magical Bridge Founder Olenka Villarreal said. “Our foundation was sparked from a personal dream to create a playground where my daughters, both with very different play needs, could have fun together. With each new Magical Bridge Playground and each donor and family that visits, we are igniting a national movement of accessibility and inclusion.”

7 Zone Donors Give Nearly $2 Million for Magical Bridge Playground in Redwood City

The Treehouse and Stage Zone is generously supported by Redwood City Park and Arts Foundation, which advocates, advances and develops support for integrating the parks and arts, and acknowledges Magical Bridge Playground as a “masterpiece of public art.”.

“Redwood City is a very welcoming and inclusive community, and the community’s exuberant support of this playground is further demonstration of that fact,” said Pamela Estes, President, Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation.

The Tot Zone is made possible by a gift from The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which aims to help all children reach their full potential through creative learning environments that foster physical, social and emotional development. The benefits are significant, said Jim Shelton, the Initiative’s president of education, “helping kids lead healthier lives and building even stronger communities.”

The Swinging Zone is supported by the Jay Paul Company, whose giving is centered on access to education, creating opportunity, open space and play.

“We are committed to supporting Redwood City becoming an even more inclusive and accepting community for all residents. Our work in Redwood City has shown us how engaged the community is, and a Magical Bridge Playground in Red Morton Park will allow residents to be even more connected with their neighbors,” said Founder, Jay Paul.

The Kindness Corner is endowed by Kaiser Permanente, upholding a founding belief that everyone deserves access to ongoing, high-quality medical care and health services through investments designed to support a vision of health equity for all. Magical Bridge Playground’s Kaiser Permanente Kindness Corner will provide opportunities to convene and play, encouraging everyone to be more compassionate and empathetic, engaging children, schools and other groups, as well as seniors.

“Instinctively we know that being outdoors has a way of making us feel better, and research has established that having access to natural outdoor areas is vital to our overall well-being,” said Bill Firtch, MD, physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center.

The Innovation Zone is donated by the San Jose Sharks Foundation and SAP, enhancing the lives of youth and families in the community through partnerships with organizations dedicated to diversity, healthy living, inclusion and providing positive and safe opportunities for play.

“The Sharks Foundation is proud to partner with SAP in support of innovation and play for everyone, including children and adults that are differently-abled. We are honored to fund the Innovation Zone of this playground which we know will provide accessible community, play and connections for not only residents of Redwood City, but for the Greater Bay Area,” said Heather Hooper, Sharks Foundation manager.

The Spinning Zone is made possible by Sequoia Healthcare District, dedicated to the health and wellbeing of residents.

“Our investment in helping to bring the Magical Bridge Playground to our local community enables more of our residents to actively participate in activities that foster greater social cohesion, connectedness and a sense of belonging. Magical Bridge Playground offers an inclusive, interesting, and stimulating environment for all who visit. We are confident that our District residents will use and enjoy this magical place for many years to come,” said Lee Michelson, CEO, Sequoia Healthcare District.

The Slide Mound is gifted by the Burns Family Foundation, which has supported many causes in Redwood City as an investment in its families.

Why is inclusive play so important?
One in every five Americans live with some form of disability, making it the largest minority group in the country. While the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 made radical cultural shifts, 25 years later our public parks do not adequately accommodate or welcome autistic, cognitively challenged, visually and hearing impaired, physically limited, and aging populations. Magical Bridge Playgrounds are changing that by calling on experts, research and community partners to build interactive, innovative spaces that are more than accessible – they are amazing, accommodating and can even be therapeutic for people with autism, older adults who’ve been isolated, and those with cognitive and physical challenges who are soothed by swinging, spinning and spending time outdoors.

“The value of laughter and joy to healthy development also tends to be understated. We hope these kinds of projects will contribute to Redwood City’s efforts to be a great place to live, work and play for children and families from all backgrounds, and inspire other communities to do so,” said Jim Shelton, president of education for the The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

A full list of sponsors and updates on the Magical Bridge Playground in Redwood City, CA is here.


Magical Bridge is expanding!
Magical Bridge Foundation seeks partners as we develop new playgrounds and opportunities for inclusive play. If your company, foundation or community group is invested in healthy, happy play spaces for people of all ages and abilities, visit Magical Bridge for more information, or contact Jill Asher at

About Magical Bridge Foundation
Magical Bridge Playgrounds are heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive play spaces. Magical Bridge Foundation in a 501(c) non-profit organization that advocates for all by creating playgrounds that are accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of ability, disability, size or age. Kindly visit Magical Bridge online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at @Magical Bridge.