Careers at KaBOOM!

Why work for us

KaBOOM! is an American non-profit organization that helps communities build playgrounds for children. Darell Hammond and Dawn Hutchison founded the company KaBOOM! in 1996. They were inspired to start KaBOOM! after reading a story in The Washington Post about two local children who suffocated while playing in an abandoned car because they had nowhere else to play. Hammond had previously helped build several playgrounds for other charitable organizations. Hammond was also partially inspired by his upbringing in the Mooseheart Child City & School, a group home in Mooseheart, Illinois. Hammond previously studied under Dr. John Kretzmann, director of the Assets Based Community Development Institute in the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The institute, which focuses on mobilizing struggling communities using resources already at hand, served as a community-build model for KaBOOM! Hammond was also influenced by his participation in the Columbus, Ohio, and Chicago engagements of City Year, an AmeriCorps program seeking to build democracy through citizen service and social entrepreneurship. Hammond and his friend Dawn Hutchison built their first KaBOOM! community playground in October 1995. The two were contacted by Youth Service America to plan a day of service. Although not yet operating under the KaBOOM! name, they chose to build a playground at Livingston Manor in southeast Washington, D.C. The playground build lasted five days and involved more than 500 volunteers. Inspired by the build, Hammond and Hutchison incorporated KaBOOM! in April 1996. Kimberly-Clark, the corporation behind paper-based consumer products like Kleenex, chose to serve as KaBOOM!s first funding partner as a way of celebrating their 125th anniversary. Kimberly-Clark partnered with KaBOOM! to build 38 playgrounds in 1997. Hutchison left KaBOOM! that year.