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Banking by Building: A Pasadena Playground with Purpose

June 22, 2023
Larry Stephens
Larry Stephens

Five hours is all it took for more than 130 volunteers from Hancock Whitney and the Pasadena, Texas, community to build a new playground for local children at Pasadena Highlands Park. What started with a blank slate soon developed into a unique and colorful playspace that promotes physical, mental and financial health, but also serves as a catalyst to strengthen communities.



Part of an ongoing, strategic effort to strengthen the trajectory of the regions we serve, this playground serves a purpose greater than just play. We know that when kids have access to safe places to play, neighborhoods become more desirable, attracting homebuyers looking to start or grow their families. Strong neighborhoods attract small businesses that create jobs and boost the economy. That’s why we partnered with KABOOM!, the national nonprofit working to end play space inequity, and the City of Pasadena to transform a park into a safe, innovative new space where children can learn and play.


Planning for the new play space began in January 2023 during a community design session, where children and their parents shared their dreams for the playground. Inline with Hancock Whitney’s commitment to helping people achieve their financial dreams, the children’s design session also included a financial education component, challenging them to build a playground while staying on budget. Hancock Whitney also worked with second-graders at Felix Morales Elementary School and Houston-based muralist Mark DeLeon to design a custom 171-foot mural for the park’s perimeter.


The result is a one-of-a-kind play area that features two-dimensional math and literacy games aimed to introduce financial education components to students. The state-of-the-art playground now provides a place to gather and make memories together for hundreds of children, families and neighbors in Pasadena. The refurbishment will also allow for programming such as special events, summer camps and family picnics, to expand to Highlands Park.


Committed to serving people and communities

Our Commitment to Service informs the work we do daily to help create and maintain communities where people want to live, work and play. Helping children achieve financial success by providing access to financial education lessons and hands-on instruction from our bankers is one of our highest priorities.


We’re proud to work with KABOOM! and community leaders to build safe play spaces that will promote physical, mental and financial health for kids of all ages. Whether it’s providing resources that create opportunities for people and communities, or helping young people develop the financial knowledge to achieve the futures they deserve, Hancock Whitney is dedicated to banking by building promising futures and stronger tomorrows.


Learn more about our efforts.


Pasadena Children Design Dream Playground

Local children participate in design day to help plan their dream playground.

Pasadena Highlands Park Playground Build
130+ volunteers from across Pasadena and Greater Houston joined together to build a new playspace.
Financial Literacy at Pasadena Park

To help ensure children have access to financial literacy foundations, Hancock Whitney incorporated fun math and number games into the play space.

Construction of Playground Equipment at Highlands Park

Volunteers construct playground equipment for Pasadena Highlands Park.

Mulch work at Kaboom playground

Volunteers add safety surfacing to the playground at Pasadena Highlands Park.

Ribbon cutting at Pasadena Highlands Park
Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner joins in the official ribbon-cutting of the new playground.
Pasadena Highlands Park Playground
Enjoying a brand new play area.
Local kids playing at Pasadena Highlands Park
Local children enjoy their new play area.


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