Play is so critical to children’s healthy development that the United Nations has declared it a right of every child. Yet school principals report that 89% of discipline problems occur during lunch and recess – hot spots for bullying and fights. So Playworks partners with schools, districts, and after-school programs throughout the DC region, working to replace the chaos of the playground with healthy, inclusive play. On-site coaches create a safe, active recess by establishing clear areas for games, communicating shared expectations, and teaching conflict resolution. Fourth and fifth graders receive training to serve as junior coaches, while non-competitive after-school sports leagues offer positive team experiences. Playworks also provides consultations and professional development to school staff, building their capacity to sustain a healthy recess culture and ensure their students’ safety and success. And the benefits to the 8,100 local students they touch are manifold: less bullying, better behavior, easier transitions to the classroom, and more physical activity. Quite simply, play works wonders. Let’s support those who make it inclusive, safe, and, of course, fun.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 2; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Population(s) Served: Students

Schools They Work In: Barnard Elementary School; Brightwood Education Campus; Bruce Monroe @ Parkview ; Bunker Hill Elementary School; Hendley Elementary School; KIPP Promise Acadamy ; J.C. Nalle Elementary School; J.O. Wilson Elementary School; Neval Thomas Elementary School ; Malcom X Elementary School ; Mundo Verde Elementary School ; Patterson Elementary School; Powell Elementary School; School Without Walls PCS; Turner Elementary School ; Tyler Elementary School; Watkins Elementary School; West Education Campus

Awards & Recognition

2013 Stanford University/Mathematica Policy Research Randomized Control: Playworks schools have less bullying, children feel safer, teachers recover more instructional time, children engage in more vigorous physical activity at recess.

TrialPlayworks Founder and CEO Jill Vialet was recently (Nov. 2011) named one of Forbes’ top 30 social entrepreneurs, those who are tackling the world’s most intractable problems.

In June 2012, Jill was honored by the Women’s Sports Foundation as one of “40 Women Who Have Made a Significant Impact on Society After Playing High School or College Sports.”


Budget (FY2015)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Playworks is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

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