Everyone in Renton deserves the ‘Gift of Play’

For all the great ways to spend summers in Renton, there are an equal number of obstacles for many of our neighbors.

We are fortunate in Renton and the surrounding area to have many recreational options during spring and summer. We have great places to enjoy water activities, three regional wildland parks, as well as local picnic areas, ballfields and skate parks. Renton stages some stellar events, including the Fourth of July fireworks at the Gene Coulon Park. There’s Renton River Days, which includes a parade, the Renton Annual Art Show, the Allied Arts chalk art contest, craft booths and Renton Rotary’s Rubber Ducky Race.

There is also the Return to Renton Car Show, the Coulon Family Concert series, and my personal favorite, the Renton Farmers Market at the downtown Piazza. Who can resist low-cost, local, farm-fresh anything? Renton also has a nationally accredited Parks and Recreation Department, which offers opportunities to get active, from gardening to golfing, from children’s swimming to senior swing-dance lessons, and from fishing to sailing lessons.

The Renton Community Foundation believes that everyone should have the opportunity to get outside and get moving this summer. But for all the great ways to spend summers in Renton, there are an equal number of obstacles for many of our neighbors. Some folks don’t have the time because they are working multiple jobs to stay afloat. Some can’t afford the entrance or participation fees. Others may not have transportation to get to the pool, park or parade.

For many, recreation is the last thing on their minds as they struggle just to meet daily needs.


How to make a difference

• There are many ways to bring philanthropy and recreation together quickly and easily. You can help low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities by donating to the city’s “Gift of Play” recreational scholarship program. One hundred percent of the proceeds are used to provide scholarships to low-income families for many city-sponsored camps, classes, and activities. You can also donate to the Renton Community Foundation’s Sam Chastain Fund, which makes annual grants to the Gift of Play program.


• Perhaps you know a child with a serious disability who has never been out on the water or had a chance to go fishing.  The C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation (Catch a Special Thrill) is a national organization headquartered right here in Renton. It is designed to allow special-needs children and their caregivers to go fishing.  Participants leave their worries on the dock and enjoy something they might otherwise never experience. With your support, they could provide this opportunity for many more deserving children.


• Don’t forget the foundation’s “Car Tab Bus Pass” Program. When you renew your car tabs this year, be sure to fill out the form to have eight free bus passes sent to you. When you receive them, give them to a local nonprofit or send them to the Renton Community Foundation, and they will distribute them. A free bus pass could allow someone down on their luck to enjoy one of our great free summer events. You can also make a difference by making a donation to RCF’s new “Community Benefit Fund.” Current gifts will be used specifically for transportation needs for the disadvantaged.  In the future, funds will be used where the need is greatest.


Most likely, you’re familiar with the phrase, “Go jump in the lake.”  As simple as that sounds, for some having the opportunity to jump in the lake would be a real treat. Now you can actually help to make it happen.



Allied Arts of Renton

Jaris English, President

P.O. Box 151

Renton, WA  98057


C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation

(425) 251-3214


City of Renton, Gift of Play Program

Bonnie Rerecich

(425) 430-6400


Renton Annual Art Show

Vicki Faull



Renton Community Foundation

Lynn Bohart, Executive Director



Renton River Days

Sonja Mejlaender

(425) 430-6400


Return to Renton Car Show

Jim Medzegian



Rotary Club of Renton

Sally Rochelle, President

P.O. Box 509

Renton, WA 98057

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