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Yes! I want to give the gift that keeps on giving, like Virginia did.




“What was THAT!?,” a teenager exclaimed, dodging
as something flew past. Her class was visiting
The 577 Foundation for a spring field trip, and she
was still looking around to see what had startled her.

“Oh, that? That’s a robin. It won’t hurt you,
unless you’re an earthworm. You can tell it’s
a robin because of its red chest feathers,”
explained a 577 staff member.


Oh. Cool.” replied the teenager.


It may be hard to imagine that a teenager wouldn’t recognize one of the most common birds in Ohio, but way too many have no idea. When the average American child spends just 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen, the reason for their uncertainty is clear.

And doesn’t this make The 577 Foundation all the more important?

Virginia Secor Stranahan, the founder of The 577 Foundation, liked to say that “The 577 Foundation is a work of art being molded by the community.”

What does that mean? It means that this work of art – this beloved 577 Foundation – cannot flourish without you as a co-creator and, yes, as a financial supporter.

While a portion of 577’s operating budget comes from a grant set up by Virginia, that funding no longer keeps pace with the expanding usage and community engagement that has developed over the years.

In order to enhance programs, bring in special features, and grow, your helping hand is critical to supporting and molding our path forward. Consider these ideas:

New 577 Open Air Outdoor Theater
by landscape architect Susan Muenzer


A New Stage of Imagination:
When the 577 stage fell into normal disrepair,
it was clear that even the smallest of spaces
can be a place to be “molded by the
community.” Community members (including
the wee ones!) shared ideas for a new open air
outdoor theater. It will spark creativity as an
area for spontaneous imaginative play or
impromptu dance parties, serve as a
classroom space for gardening classes, or as a
stage for musicians to share their craft. It
could even include a dedicated spot for
sharing your chalk art. Imagination will abound here!

(Funds designated for the theater that exceed
the cost of this project will be used for other
building and grounds improvements at 577.)

From Golf Cart Rides to Co-Creation:
When the 577 Foundation opened, Virginia
gave spontaneous tours on her golf cart,
tooling people around in search of buckeyes
and other curiosities. Now over 1,500
children visit for school tours each year. To
help children see that they’re also artists in
this co-creation, we’re adapting field trips to be
engaged experiences. They’ll learn about
gardening, composting, fiber arts, ceramics,
and nature, and leave some of their creations
behind for you to enjoy. Your gift makes these
field trips a reality in 2020.

(Funds designated for field trips that exceed
the cost of this project will be used for other
educational programs at 577.)


Of course, there are so many other wonderful things being molded at The 577 Foundation that if these projects don’t strike your fancy, you might consider a gift to the general fund so that your generosity can be used where it’s needed most.

A gift to The 577 Foundation is the gift of learning freely and naturally. It’s the gift of evolving natural playscapes, open grassy areas, woods, gardens, and classes so that you can play, explore, experiment, imagine, reflect, take healthy risks, get messy, get creative, and grow.

Will you make that gift? Click the “Donate” button above.
Heather Gallant, Executive Director
Phone: 419.872.0305

The 577 Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
EIN 34-1591869. Thank you for your gift!