2020 Roundup

Dear Friends of Bennett’s Village,

What a year 2020 has been. Full of uncertainty, new ways of living and working, and much of our routines upended. But it has also been a time of appreciation—for our families, for outdoor spaces, for new ways of connecting.

As many of you may remember, we had hoped to have a big celebration last May in honor of what would have been Bennett’s 8th birthday. We imagined a giant celebration at Pen Park, with balloons and face painting and a fun race, and most importantly, sharing with you our design plans for our community’s first multi-generational, all-abilities playground.

Things didn’t quite work out that way—but we have carried on and we have much to celebrate:

  • Bennett’s birthday fundraiser brought in over $5000;
  • We finished our design plan for the playground are looking forward to sharing them with you all soon;
  • We redesigned the logo to make it more inclusive;
  • We hosted our first Bennett’s Village: A Place for All to MOVE Challenge (which raised $3500); and
  • We placed a Future Home of Bennett’s Village sign at Pen Park

And behind the scenes we have been working as well—we have filed for our own 501(c)3 status (the Arc of the Piedmont remains committed to supporting us as our fiscal sponsor until that application makes its way through the system). We have gathered letters of support from community organizations who believe in the need for more inclusive playspaces. We have added new Board members to help expand our partnerships. We are working with UVA students to help us gather more feedback on needs of youth and young adults as well as material possibilities for some key features in the new playground.  

In December we are launching the 10 Days of Bennett’s Village–simple things you can do to spread awareness and support the building of a multi-generational, all-abilities playground for our community.

We couldn’t do any of it without YOU. We are so grateful for all of you. It’s going to take all of us working together, volunteering our time, sharing Bennett’s dream with those who haven’t heard his story, and raising the funds to make an all-abilities playground for our community a reality.  If you have the means this holiday season, we hope you will consider giving an end-of-the year contribution to Bennett’s Village.  There are many ways you can donate to Bennett’s Village.  Together, we will build a place where ALL can play!

May you have a safe holiday season,

The Bennett’s Village Board:

  • Julie Basic, Chair
  • Aimee Carter
  • Brian Gibney
  • Bryan Harris
  • Kara McClurken
  • Mladen Nesic
  • Lisa Torres
  • Yuki Weaver