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How a Family Raised Over $350,000 for CJR Memorial Park

CJR Memorial Park

Here at River Valley Recreation, we love to share stories of fundraising success by dedicated groups determined to bring modern playgrounds to their communities.

In the case of today’s highlighted project—the CJR Memorial Playground in Hawley, PA’s Bingham Park—a deserving family foundation seeking to keep their son’s memory alive by supporting other families facing tragic circumstances and setbacks raised over $350,000 in just over two short years.

The story of the CJR Memorial Foundation’s work to create their playground is inspiring, and we think it illustrates what dedication to a worthy cause can accomplish. Additionally, the foundation continues to raise money to improve and add facilities to the playground over time.

History of CJR Memorial Foundation

When Caleb Joseph Regenski was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age two, his father became keenly aware that the support he and Caleb’s mother received from family, friends, and their community while their son was hospitalized was rare. Many children were in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia alone—without parents by their bedsides—because the adults in their lives simply could not afford to put the other aspects of their lives on hold to be with their sick child.

When Caleb passed away, his father, Joseph, founded the CJR Memorial Foundation to assist with parents’ financial burdens when their child is hospitalized “to help create a family presence, which is an instrumental part of the healing process.”

The idea to create the memorial playground in his son’s hometown grew from this same desire to help families spend quality time with their children whenever they can.

Mr. Regenski shares on the Foundation’s website: “My goal with the playground is to promote a healthy lifestyle for all children and provide a safe environment for families to spend quality time together in a beautiful park setting. As a parent, sometimes it is difficult to savor the precious moments we have with our kids. I hope that the CJR Memorial Foundation can provide families with resources for quality time together be it in a park or during their treatment.”

Raising Funds for CJR Memorial Playground in Bingham Park

A single grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) successfully netted $225,167 for the project in 2013—over 80% of the necessary funds needed to create the state-of-the-art playground at Bingham Park in spring 2014. This was a great victory for the CJR Memorial Foundation, but it’s also not uncommon for groups to win grant funding for playground projects—yours may be able to realize similar fundraising success.

It’s true that lots of grant resources exist for groups seeking to build recreational spaces in their communities, it can just take some diligence and knowing where to look for funding opportunities. The CJR Memorial Playground was additionally funded by grants from the Wayne County Redevelopment Authority and Ronald McDonald House Charities of NEPA, for example

For ongoing upgrades and maintenance to the playground, fundraising continues with an annual golf tournament and sponsorship opportunities, which allow the community to get involved with both the Foundation and the playground that Hawley residents have come to adore.

About the Playground

The CJR Memorial Playground represents an excellent example of our capabilities in creating accessibility and inclusion-focused play environments. It features ramp access to about 75% of the structure, which means children in wheelchairs can enjoy lots of fun activities.

Made from recycled materials, the playground is also environmentally friendly, which was important to the Foundation and community. At the same time, the play structure is exceptionally durable. In fact, because of its steel substructure, the included shade sails do not need to be removed over the winter since they’re able to hold up well under heavy snow loads typical in the Pocono area where Hawley is located.

Need Help Fundraising for Your Playground Project?

At River Valley Recreation, building and maintaining modern playgrounds for today’s kids and communities is our passion. And a critical component of bringing these projects to life for most groups is fundraising.

If your school, HOA, parks department, or foundation is dreaming about installing a new playground to enhance or revitalize your outdoor spaces—but you’re not sure where the money will come from—get in touch with us today for help and ideas.