Kids run toward the camera at Coopers Poynt School in Camden, NJ
Elyse Leyenberger

Campbell Soup Company on parks in their hometown

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We’re proud to partner with the Campbell Soup Foundation to create parks for people in Camden, New Jersey. Campbell Soup Company has been based in Camden for over 150 years and has been an active partner in the community since the beginning. Campbell’s Vice President of Community Affairs and President of The Campbell Soup Foundation, Kim Fortunato, shares why they’re supporting our work in their hometown.

In 1869, Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson went into business together in Camden, and our company has been headquartered here ever since.  In 1953, The Campbell Soup Foundation was founded and today the Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on three strategic areas: increasing access to healthy food, encouraging healthy living, and nurturing Campbell neighborhoods by transforming the physical spaces where people live, learn and play. At Campbell, we believe in the power of collaboration to address our communities’ most pressing needs. That’s why we support The Trust for Public Land, an organization that is building and expanding parks and green spaces to connect and strengthen Camden’s neighborhoods. We are excited to share the great work we’re doing together.

Connecting neighborhoods under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River, carrying over 100,000 cars per day between Camden and Philadelphia. It’s a vital link between cities—but its fenced-off bridge piers are a barrier dividing neighborhoods within Camden. When rain or snow comes, water running off the bridge can flood the surrounding streets. The Trust for Public Land is tackling the flooding by installing vast gardens that will soak up stormwater naturally. And they’re creating a new trail weaving between the bridge’s footings, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been cut off from one another for over 100 years.

The underside of the Ben Franklin Bridge in CamdenToday, the piers of the Ben Franklin Bridge divide Camden's neighborhoods, but some day, a new trail here will help weave communities together. Photo credit: Flickr user John Donges

Collaborating to redesign the playground at Rafael Cordero Molina School

Nearly every time it rains in Camden, the asphalt yard at this North Camden elementary school turns into a giant puddle, keeping kids marooned inside during recess. Over the next year, The Trust for Public Land and Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority will tear up a thousand square yards of pavement and replace it with water absorbing gardens and porous pavement, transforming a nuisance into a natural wonder that will filter over a million gallons of runoff each year. Along the way, they’re turning to students and neighbors to help redesign the playground, envision a new outdoor classroom, and create a vibrant public park that will be open to everyone when school isn’t in session.

Reviving a beloved Family Park

The Trust for Public Land worked with residents from North Camden to reimagine the Dominick Andujar Park as a family destination for all ages. The new park will offer toddlers and children two innovative playgrounds to climb and explore; it will offer youth of all ages the opportunity to shoot hoops in a new basketball court, and the new park will offer outdoor cardio fitness equipment --including the first ever outdoor ellipticals and stationary bikes in Camden. It will be a close to home opportunity for safe, family friendly recreation to help get more residents outside and active!

Creating a new schoolyard for Cooper’s Poynt

The Trust for Public Land worked with the school community at Cooper’s Poynt Family School in North Camden to completely reimagine what their asphalt schoolyard could be. In 2019, they joined students, families, and neighbors to celebrate the grand opening of a large jungle gym and two new basketball courts. What’s next at Cooper’s Poynt? An outdoor classroom where kids can learn about nature first-hand, and rain gardens and landscaping that absorb rainfall—reducing flooding throughout the neighborhood and preventing polluted runoff from reaching our streams and rivers.

Kids play at Coopers Poynt School in Camden, NJStudents at Coopers Poynt Family School try out the first phase of their new green schoolyard. Future upgrades will help reduce flooding at school, and throughout the neighborhood. Photo credit: Elyse Leyenberger

Sustainable design at Mastery Charter High School

To prepare the kids of Camden for the jobs of tomorrow we need to invest in them today. The Trust for Public Land and its partners are transforming the Mastery Charter High School Camden campus into a living laboratory for sustainable design. The goal is for the students to design, maintain, and operate every part of it, from sophisticated stormwater infrastructure to solar panels to the green roof to the restored stretch of shoreline at the mouth of the Cooper River. We can’t wait to see how students make use of this sustainable space and the vocational opportunities it will provide.

Camden is the original hometown of the Campbell Soup Company, and we’re proud to be part of a community with committed organizations, like The Trust for Public Land, that work together to make sure everyone benefits from the city’s growth.

Learn more about community work at Campbell and our commitment to giving back to our hometowns.

 

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