Hancock Whitney—one of the strongest, safest banks in the country— revealed a newly renovated playspace at Williams Park in North Tampa in partnership with KABOOM!, the national nonprofit working to end playspace inequity, and the City of Tampa. Hundreds of volunteers from Hancock Whitney, City of Tampa, and the local community transformed the playground, which had seen a drop in activity due to the safety and quality of the equipment available. Tampa youth and community leaders joined the special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Williams Park Center.
Community leaders joined Hancock Whitney volunteers and local children to celebrate the construction of a new playground at Williams Park in Tampa.
The playground sees over 150 kids weekly through afterschool programming, including Tampa’s Stay and Play initiative. The new playground features play elements designed by local kids and introduces fundamental financial education principles through math and literacy games.
“At Hancock Whitney, we believe kids can be the catalyst to build stronger communities,” said Hancock Whitney Market President Tim Coop. “We’re committed to helping kids achieve the futures they deserve by creating safe places to play and promoting physical and financial health. In partnership with KABOOM!, the City of Tampa, and local community partners, this initiative offers a playful learning space that provides access to financial education concepts vital to financial wellness.”
“Playgrounds are an iconic part of childhood. They’re not only where kids collect some of their best memories, but also where crucial skills are developed that nurture their physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “KABOOM! is thrilled to work with Hancock Whitney and the city of Tampa to bring to life the new playspace at Williams Park and ensure that kids in Tampa have a place designed just for them, where they can play, learn, and unlock their greatest potential.”
KABOOM! uses a data-informed, systems-level approach to identify communities, particularly communities of color, that are experiencing significant playspace inequities and gaps in access to quality recreational areas to ensure playspaces are built where there is the greatest need.
“Children everywhere deserve a fun, safe, and robust area to play with their families and friends, said City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Director Sherisha Hills. “The City of Tampa is so grateful for companies like Hancock Whitney and KABOOM! and the unique partnerships demonstrating just how much can be done when like-minded, mission-driven entities come together.”
Playground planning began in July of this year with design sessions in which neighborhood children and adults shared their input and discussed goals for the space. Consistent with Hancock Whitney’s goal of introducing financial education concepts to children, attendees participated in a budgeting experience on Design Day, challenging kids to build a playground while staying within budget. Additionally, Hancock Whitney announced plans for ongoing financial education opportunities for the local Tampa community at the park’s site over the next year in partnership with several local nonprofits, including Solita’s House, Habitat for Humanity Hillsborough, and Housing & Education Alliance.
Local children designed their dream playgrounds in July, and their input inspired the final playground structure. Hancock Whitney associates also taught a playground budgeting lesson to introduce kids to financial education concepts.
“East Tampa is just the beginning, and at Hancock Whitney, it’s our mission to provide more investments like this one,” said Coop. “We look forward to watching the local community enjoy this playground and are excited to continue engaging with Tampa residents to understand better what additional resources can help this region grow and thrive.”
Hancock Whitney and KABOOM! are set to build additional playgrounds throughout the bank’s five-state service area over the next year.