Today (Friday, May 19), the Baltimore Ravens are hosting an organization-wide volunteer day to build a state-of-the-art playground and provide significant upgrades at Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School and Recreation Center in Baltimore City.
The construction and renovation project marks a $200,000 community investment fully funded by the Ravens Foundation, Inc., in partnership with KABOOM!, Heart of America, Baltimore City Public Schools and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.
This year's Morrell Park playground build and school/recreation center upgrades continue the Ravens' long-standing commitment to making a difference in Baltimore. The project marks the sixth KABOOM! playground funded by the Ravens Foundation in Baltimore City, dating back to 2007.
KABOOM! is a national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity – the reality that quality places to play are not available to every child, especially in communities of color. Heart of America transforms learning spaces, bridges the resource gap and strengthens communities to give all students room to dream, discover and thrive.
Ravens executives, including team president Sashi Brown, along with players and staff, comprise the nearly 175 volunteers to participate in today's annual "signature project" of the Ravens Foundation.
Major components of the Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School & Recreation Center project:
- Brand new, state-of-the-art KABOOM! playground on school grounds
In March, children from the school shared drawings of their "dream playspaces" with project organizers. These ideas were integrated into the new playground design.
- New basketball backboards in the school gym, with a state-of-the-art acrylic system that includes a pull-down rim to accommodate younger players
- 750 new books at the school library, aligning with BCPS's mission and COMAR standards that require more recently published and culturally relevant books, allowing children to see themselves in pages and on covers
- Transformation of the recreation center's computer lab, including new furniture and graphics that create a more comfortable and visually appealing workspace
- Installation of a touchscreen panel to facilitate interaction and learning in the computer lab
- Outdoor landscaping and space beautification on school grounds
Sashi Brown, President of the Baltimore Ravens: "The Ravens are committed to enriching the lives of children and the communities in which they live, particularly by focusing on education. KABOOM! and Heart of America have been tremendous partners, helping enact positive change for those who are most in need. We are honored to share this special project with each organization, as we collectively invest in the well-being and education of our youth by creating safe, enjoyable environments that provide opportunities for everyone to succeed."
Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools:"Providing our young people with safe places to play is an integral part of City Schools' commitment to student wholeness. KABOOM! has been an invaluable partner in this citywide effort, coordinating participation by sponsors like the Ravens Foundation while involving school communities and students in the planning and construction process. We are grateful for KABOOM's leadership and collaboration in this important program."
Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!:"For decades, segregation, disinvestment and depopulation have forced Baltimore City leaders to make seemingly impossible choices about where to invest in playgrounds – iconic and critical public infrastructure for every child. KABOOM! is thrilled to work with our Playce Partners to drive positive systemic change and bring to life the new playspaces across the city to ensure that every kid in Baltimore has a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential."
Past Ravens Foundation Signature Projects
Previous signature projects funded by the Ravens Foundation include:
- Heart of America – Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School (2022)
- Heart of America – Edgecombe Circle EMS & Curtis Bay ES School Renovation (2021)
- KABOOM! Playground at Edgecombe Circle Elementary School (2020)
- Heart of America – Webster Kendrick Boys and Girls Club Renovations (2019)
- KABOOM! Playground at Douglass Homes (2018)
- Heart of America – Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School Renovation (2017)
- Two Baltimore Ravens Bookmobiles (launched 2016)
- Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary #34 Library Restoration (2015)
- City Springs Community Athletic Complex and Football Fields (2014)
- Baltimore City High School Uniform Donation with Under Armour (2014)
- Rowhome Build with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake (2013)
- "Ravens Field" Build at Park Heights Youth Development Park (2012)
- Three additional KABOOM! Playground Builds (2007, 2009, 2011)
- Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School (MERVO) Stadium Renovation (2008)
- Lumsden-Scott Stadium Renovation (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Western HS) (2006)
About the Ravens Foundation, Inc.
The Ravens Foundation is committed to improving, encouraging and enabling the healthy development of youth in Maryland. The foundation focuses on programs that help youth and their families with various needs, including housing, hunger, education, athletics and mentoring.
KABOOM! is the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity – the reality that quality places to play are not available to every child, especially in communities of color. Since 1996, KABOOM! has partnered with kids and communities to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces and ensure that nearly 12 million kids have equitable access to the crucial benefits and opportunities that playspaces offer. In 2022, KABOOM! launched the 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity to accelerate its mission in 25 high-priority locations over five years. Learn more at kaboom.org or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
About Heart of America
Heart of America transforms learning spaces, bridges the resource gap, and strengthens communities to give all students room to dream, discover and thrive. Over the past 26 years, Heart of America (HOA) (www.heartofamerica.org) has worked towards education equity by renovating almost 1,000 spaces in classrooms, libraries, STEAM labs, college/career centers, school gymnasiums and community centers throughout the country. We have provided current resources including over 4.4 million books and infused over $9.5 million in technology.
Please visit www.baltimoreravens.com/community for more information.