Daily News

Community Foundation Awards Team Jessica $25,000

BELCHERTOWN — Team Jessica Inc. has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Credit Data Services Inc. Fund and the Edwin P. and Wilbur O. Lepper Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Team Jessica will use these funds to support the building of Jessica’s Boundless Playground (JBP), an effort that has been ongoing for the past four years. JBP will be the only 100% all-inclusive playground in the area. It is designed to be a multi-generational activity structure that engages people of all ages and abilities. JBP will also allow wounded veterans in long-term rehab to experience the healing power and simple joy of playing with their own children.

The playground equipment and poured-in-place rubber surfacing will cost approximately $405,000. Team Jessica has hosted several fund-raising events over the past four years, and the effort has raised more than $300,000, including three Community Preservation Act grants from the town of Belchertown totaling $140,000, and a $40,000 grant from the Beveridge Family Foundation. This $25,000 Community Foundation grant will bring the fund-raising total to $325,000.

“We’re in the last phase of fund-raising, working very hard every day,” said Vicky Martins Auffrey, Team Jessica president and mother of the playground’s namesake. “We plan to order the equipment on Aug. 1 and start the community build Sept. 13. Being awarded this grant is such an honor and makes all our plans closer to reality.”

Added Patti Thornton, Team Jessica’s grant writer, “these final weeks before ordering the playground equipment are crucial in regard to fund-raising. We are waiting to hear back from a few key players, so getting the letter from the Community Foundation was something we needed. It is helping us keep the momentum into the home stretch.”

To learn more, visit www.teamjessicaonline.com, www.facebook.com/teamjessicainc, or www.twitter.com/teamjessicainc.

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