Mendota Elementary Community School PTO launches Play Today Playground fundraising campaign


By Lauri Lee Northside News
Chris Elholm Mendota Elementary PTO President

The aging playground at Mendota Elementary Community School installed in the 1990s needs your help. The school, located at 4002 School Road, is in an under-resourced neighborhood. Although the broken and unsafe equipment has been removed, the 340 children in grades 4K‒5 have been playing on one play structure, the open grass and pavement.

Northsiders have always taken action to make their community a better place to live, work and play. And to children, of course, play is the most important. “Research indicates that play is important to the development of children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, as well as creativity and imagination,” said Carlettra Stanford, principal at Mendota Elementary. “New playground equipment would provide scholars the opportunity to have fun with friends, while developing these lifelong skills.”

The Mendota Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has launched a public fundraising burst from July 15‒Aug. 30 to reach out to Northside friends, neighbors and businesses so they can participate in helping to buy new playground equipment. The entire playground and installation project is estimated to cost $100,000. At this point, 63 percent of the funds have been raised, but more is needed. The goal is to complete the fundraising by the end of August so playground equipment can be installed before the snow flies this winter.

The fundraising campaign has been broken into three phases:

  • Phase One: The Madison Metropolitan School district jumpstarted the Play Today Playground Campaign through the installation of a $50,000 play structure. An anonymous donor donated a $3,000 structure that was installed in the spring.
  • Phase Two: The PTO raised $10,000 through a yearlong fundraising effort from 2016-2017. These funds will be added to the money raised in phase three to go toward purchasing pieces such as a multistudent swing set, climbing wall and spinner.
  • Phase Three: The goal is to raise $20,000–$37,000 by Aug. 30 in order to complete the playground project before the end of 2017.

Help us to raise the funds so Mendota Elementary children can have a fun and safe environment to learn and grow. To make a pledge for the Play Today Playground Campaign, email PTO president Chris Elholm at or co-chair and Mendota Elementary parent Kyle Sydow at For tax-deductible donations, make checks payable to the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools and mail to Mendota Elementary School PTO Playground Campaign, 4002 School Road, Madison, WI 53704. Online donations may be made to the GoFundMe account at Your generous donations are very much appreciated.