Mission: Playworks' mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Through play, kids learn about themselves and one another, and they develop important social skills such as self-efficacy, self-regulation, conflict resolution, and teamwork, which help them succeed in school and in life.

Through a mix of service offerings that range from day-long trainings to a full-time on-site Coach for the school year, we help our partner schools learn how they can leverage play to create a positive learning environment. We help teachers see how simple changes during the unstructured time of recess can have a huge impact on the entire school day. The result is dramatic, and research backs up what we see on the playground every day: kids are active and engaged, feel included, and treat one another with respect.

Playworks is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1996, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://playworks.org/

 638 Third Street
Oakland CA 94607 

  510-893-4180


You are viewing this organization's new Charity Navigator profile page. To view the legacy version, click here.

Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Good

This charity's score is 85.06, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

76.5%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

13.5%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

9.8%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

35.6%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.21


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

0.15 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

11.83%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Jill Vialet, CEO, Founder

$226,548 (0.56% of Total Expenses)


Elizabeth Cushing, President

$195,997 (0.48% of Total Expenses)


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code (BMF activity code: 994)

Other sports or athletic activities (BMF activity code: 317)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


Playworks reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Balance Sheet


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

Playworks ability to serve schools after they shut down were significantly impacted by those shutdowns. This impacted our earned revenue significantly. Playworks applied and received the PPP loan and were able to employ all our staff for a period of time. In light of the uncertainty of the 2020-21 school year, Playworks shrunk its operation in an effort to conservatively manage and ensure our continued survival.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

The 2020-21 school year presented unprecedented challenges for teachers, principals, families and Playworks to provide engaging and productive experiences of school, especially for children in virtual or hybrid structures. At Playworks, our focus was to support as many schools as we could nationwide given the impact of the pandemic on how children were engaging with school and on our own organization. We prioritized providing opportunities to play, primarily via video, for hundreds of thousands of kids who didn’t get to go to school in person. While we reached fewer children than in prior years, we were able to operate and were prepared to support schools when they returned to in-person instruction in the fall of 2021.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

Playworks staff had to pivot to supporting safe and healthy play over video for schools in the fall of 2020. This was an enormous challenge that required adaption of staff training, game instruction, and technical support. Ultimately we were able to support schools whether they were in-person, hybrid or completely remote. Interestingly, in Playworks annual year-end survey of educators, those who relied on Playworks in a virtual setting were even more positive about the impact of play than those who were in person. For example, 99% of educators in virtual environments reported that Playworks created supportive learning environments. Perhaps that is a result of the challenging experience for teachers trying to educate students virtually. In any case, this data points to Playworks’ impact despite the challenges.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Playworks developed a new service, Keep Playing, that is a weekly game subscription delivered via email to teachers that offers a game video and written instructions. This service was intended to support teachers who were teaching remotely last year. Feedback was so positive that we have decided to continue offering Keep Playing and have produced a significant amount of new video content that reflects in-person environments for teachers to use this year.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
2/1/20212019 85.06
12/20/20192018 85.37
9/3/20192018 85.10

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

8/1/20182017 86.11
12/22/20172016 85.13
7/1/20172015 87.08
12/1/20162015 85.19
6/1/20162014 88.31
Rating Version: 2.0
12/1/20152014 91.14
11/1/20152014 88.56
11/1/20142013 91.55
7/1/20132012 95.22
7/1/20122011 89.91
9/20/20112010 93.06
Rating Version: 1.0
7/1/20102009 95.75
9/1/20092008 98.04
11/1/20082007 90.53
4/1/20072006 98.27
5/1/20062005 91.58
7/1/20052004 91.49
3/1/20052003 91.53

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Playworks cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Playworks reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$24,098,947

Spent in most recent FY

84%

Percent of program expenses


PLAYWORKS PROVIDED FULL-TIME, ONSITE COACHES AND SITE-COORDINATORS IN 579 LOW-INCOME AND URBAN SCHOOLS IN 21 REGIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. PLAYWORKS PROVIDED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH PLAY ... (More)


$4,381,636

Spent in most recent FY

15%

Percent of program expenses


PLAYWORKS PROVIDED GROUP TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT SERVE YOUTH THROUGH THE PLAYWORKS PRO SERVICE OFFERING. THE PROGRAM TRAINED ADULTS FROM NEARLY 494 SCHOOLS  ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Playworks is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF CHILDREN BY INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SAFE, HEALTHY PLAY.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


Every kid will have access to safe and healthy play every day.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Playworks will support safe and healthy play for children in as many schools as we are able, while both drawing upon our core competencies and adapting to a new context

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Playworks will invest in a transparent, equitable, and inclusive culture that builds trust for all employees and attracts, develops, retains and grows a racially diverse workforce and leadership.

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Goal Three: Playworks will hold itself accountable to consistent fiscal policies to ensure financial health and enduring financial resilience.

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

Playworks has invested in outside expertise to train and support a 16-person Equity Team comprised of leaders from regional teams in both learning about diversity, equity and inclusion and developing Playworks' organizational commitments to DEI.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Playworks participates both nationally and regionally in strategic partnerships, networks, thought leadership and marketing efforts to contribute to collective efforts that support children's health and well-being.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


In response to teachers, principals and families struggling to support children in remote learning during the 2020-21 school year, Playworks developed a new virtual resource. Keep Playing, is a new subscription service for online play support that offers teachers and families a new game each week that they learn by watching a video and subsequently play with their students/children. Our team was able to develop, test and roll-out this new service despite the pressure of moving to remote work ourselves and having no ability to capture video of playing with children. Playworks offered this subscription service free to all Coach and TeamUp partners, in addition to serving 444 other schools and community-based organizations that paid for year-long subscriptions. All of this was an effort to increase access to play and make it as easy as possible during a very tough school year. A survey of Keep Playing users in June 2021 showed that 94% of educators felt that the games from Keep Playing helped their students feel more connected to their classmates. 90% of educators reported that Keep Playing increased their knowledge of ways play can support social and emotional learning, and 89% reported the games and ideas in Keep Playing helped reduce their stress. We’re also pleased to know that 87% used Keep Playing on at least a weekly basis last school year.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

Playworks is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Not Scored


This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.


Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:


How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Paper surveys


How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve


With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners


What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

As the pandemic forced teachers to figure out how to keep students engaged over video, Playworks received hundreds of requests for help. In response, Playworks developed Keep Playing, a weekly email service offering a new game instruction video each week, alongside recommendations for how to communicate with families so they could play the game with their children at home.



Methodology


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.


Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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