BELCHERTOWN, Mass. – Team Jessica, Inc. is happy to be one of the hundreds of nonprofits in Western Mass. participating in Valley Gives Day, a 24-hour online giving event, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Team Jessica is the fundraising arm for Jessica’s Boundless Playground, bringing the community together to raise more than $425,000 over the past four years with close to 50 different events. Although the 100% accessible playground opened for play Nov. 9, 2014, the fundraising is not complete.
“We’ve come a long way in four years and the final $85,000 is no different than the rest of the money we’ve raised,” said Team Jessica’s Marketing Officer Deanna Roux. “We take it one day at a time, one event at a time and have faith in our community. They continue to come together in amazing ways. Last year we raised more than $6,000 with Valley Gives.”
Beginning at midnight EST on Dec. 10 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. EST, residents of Western Mass., and around the world, can go online to connect with causes like Team Jessica, Inc., and make tax-deductible donations to support the important work of our region’s charities. Visit Team Jessica’s Valley Gives page at www.valleygives.razoo.com/story/teamjessicainc.
“Valley Gives is a great way to participate with other nonprofits in the area,” said Vicky Martins Auffrey, Team Jessica’s President and the mother of the playground’s namesake. “A lot of these other organizations are near and dear to our hearts, having worked with them on a personal level before. It’s nice to be in such good company and to highlight the important role nonprofits play in our community.”
Since 2012, Valley Gives has raised more than $3 million for our community. Last year, 11,640 donors supported more than 350 local nonprofits culminating in more than $2 million in donations. This year the number of nonprofits has increased to 462 and the momentum for participation is at a steady upswing. By participating, donors will help charities become eligible for special prizes totaling as much as $225,000.
Team Jessica, Inc. supports and enhances awareness of people with disabilities in the surrounding communities of Western Mass. by supporting initiatives that will improve the lives of people with special needs. To learn more, please visit us online at www.teamjessicaonline.com, www.facebook.com/teamjessicainc and www.twitter.com/teamjessicainc.
Valley Gives is hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in partnership with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, the Jewish Endowment Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, the Pioneer Valley United Way, the The Davis Foundation, the United Way of Franklin County, the United Way of Hampshire County, and The Beveridge Foundation. Learn more at www.valleygivesday.org.
Vicky was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer in Philanthropy Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at their annual luncheon at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Mass. on Nov. 19, 2014.
BELCHERTOWN, Mass. – Team Jessica, Inc. is thrilled to announce it has been granted $10,000 from Easthampton Savings Bank of Easthampton, Mass. Team Jessica will use these funds to support the building of Jessica’s Boundless Playground (JBP), an effort that has been ongoing for the past four years.
Opened for use earlier this month, Jessica’s Boundless Playground is the only 100% accessible playground in New England. It was carefully designed to be a multi-generational activity structure that engages people of all ages and abilities. Every area of the playground caters to those with mobility concerns, while at the same time being completely fun and engaging for able-bodied people.
“We consulted all kinds of experts before we ordered any equipment,” said Vicky Martins Auffrey, President of Team Jessica, Inc. and mother of the playground’s namesake. “We had input from physical therapists, occupational therapists, teachers, recess aides, paraprofessionals, parents of typical children, parents of children with special needs, and even children themselves.”
The playground is valued at $750,000, including $250,000 of in-kind services. Team Jessica has hosted more than 29 fundraising events over the past four years and the efforts have raised more than $425,000. This total also includes 19 independent fundraisers that local businesses and community members conducted for the project, as well as many large gifts from area organizations and this grant from Easthampton Savings Bank.
On September 13 and 14 more than 200 volunteers came together for a weekend build event that culminated in the construction of the majority of the playground structure. “We are so thankful to the support of the community and Easthampton Savings Bank,” said Patti Thornton, Team Jessica’s grant writer. “This grant comes at a time when we truly need it. With $85,000 left to raise we are not quite done yet.”
Matthew S. Sosik, President and CEO of Easthampton Savings Bank, added, “Jessica’s Boundless Playground was a huge undertaking made possible because of the dedication and enthusiasm of the community. We are thrilled to be part of this effort to bring the only all-inclusive playground in our area to fruition.”
Team Jessica will participate in Valley Gives Dec. 10, 2014, a 24-hour online giving event designed to encourage philanthropy in the Pioneer Valley. More than 400 nonprofits from Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties will participate. Visit www.razoo.com/story/teamjessicainc to learn more.
This gallery contains 37 photos.
A lot of playground work was done Columbus Day weekend and the playground is really taking shape. The main structure has been completed and many of the large pieces have been placed and await concrete.
On Oct. 13 more holes were augured, aggregate was spread and compacted, and 11 yards of concrete was poured. Another five or six yards were poured Oct. 15 and another load will be poured Friday, Oct. 17 at 3:00 p.m. What should be the last concrete load will likely be poured Monday.
The poured rubber surface installation is scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 20, and will take as many as four and a half days to complete.
Thank you to everyone who helped in any way. We are extremely fortunate to have so many people with different skills who have stepped up to help. This project is a total team effort!