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We amplify the impact of a broad range of organizations, serving youth from early childhood through young adulthood, by putting play at the core of everything we do. We use play to build relationships, communicate ideas, explore challenges, and unlock capacity for change.


OUR MISSION: To inspire growth and change through play within organizations that serve children.


For us, “play” is activity that sparks creation: of ideas, connections, possibilities…

Our services use youth development methods to meet youth development challenges, through strategic planning, training, coaching, resource development, staffing support, and performance evaluation that fortify the quality of our partners’ work.


THE NEED: Youth Development Organizations play a critical role in the healthy and successful future of children and their communities. Despite challenges that impede their work, agencies consistently seek creative ways to bolster their impact. Unfortunately, available external supports can fall short in ways that ignore or undermine local voices, culture, and efforts. These intervention models leave organizations poorer and not much better off.


  • Listen to partners to learn their stories and priorities
  • Collaborate to develop tailored programming that is: engaging, targeted, and integrated with partner systems and culture
  • Challenge partners with questions that promote dialog, growth, and resilience
  • Learn with partners and leverage strengths to create growth and change, inspiring new stories

and at the core of all of this…

  • Play together to spark new ideas, connections, and possibilities*


Play At The Core supports organizational stakeholders — practitioners, leaders, children, and families — to engage directly with pressing challenges in their programs and community. This translates to youth development programming that is more holistic, intentionally-implemented, and locally-owned, with significant and sustainable gains in program quality.