Crowdfunding campaign launched for the “Children’s Nature Playscape” In Kalamazoo

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Rendering courtesy of Deborah Dawe with OCBA Landscape Architects of Kalamazoo

LANSING, Mich. – The Children's Nature Playscape will complete the phase one construction on a 10,000 square-foot natural playscape in downtown Kalamazoo right next to Bronson Park through the anticipated success of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the Children’s Nature Playscape Steering Committee, and the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by July 24, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“This project will provide a natural outdoor playspace right in downtown Kalamazoo for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy,” said MEDC Executive Vice President of Economic Development Incentives Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for the Children’s Natural Playscape project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Since 2019, The Children’s Nature Playscape Steering Committee has worked to create more equitable access to play in nature. In 2020, they restored the land to a more natural state and made sure it provided a safe foundation. In 2021, they listened to community feedback on their initial design and redesigned the Playscape to fit the needs of Kalamazoo's youth better. In March of 2022 they broke ground, but these funds will allow the first phase of the playscape to be completed ad open for public use this summer.

“Children’s Nature Playscape is going to provide young children of all abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds with a safe and accessible nature area, specifically designed to give children a space to breathe and a place to play. We’re thrilled that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) selected Children’s Nature Playscape to participate in the Public Spaces Community Places program to help us complete phase 1 of construction and open to the public in Summer 2022,” said Children’s Nature Playscape Steering Committee Chair Jody Brylinsky. “We are confident our community will help us raise $50,000 by July 24th so we can receive a matching grant from the MEDC and let the youth of Kalamazoo start experiencing all the benefits of play in nature.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“The Michigan Municipal League is a firm believer of building community health,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO AND Executive Director of The League. “Creating this playscape is a great example of a space that will create a positive impact on a community for generations to come, which is what community wealth building is all about.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of April 30, 2022, MEDC has provided more than $9.9 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 310 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $11.5 million raised from 52,895 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning our matching funds.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.