The Big Sandbox, love.fútbol, Pincus Family Foundation & Street Soccer USA commit to enhance multi-purpose sports space as part of the Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey Schoolyard Redevelopment

PHILADELPHIA, PA: As part of the Spheres of Impact Tournament and Community Day sponsored by Temple University this past weekend at the Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey Schoolyard, The Big SandBox (TBS), love.fútbol in partnership with the Pincus Family Foundation, and Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) joined more than 125 local youth and adults for the first-ever opportunity to unite basketball, soccer and the arts to revitalize the historic sports facility. With limited spaces for children to play, the collective group unveiled their plans to build the first soccer pitch in the area – with plans to complete in the next few months. 

The Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey site has been ingrained in Philadelphia sports culture for more than 50 years. Its basketball courts have been the site of legendary street games, where many local players honed their craft, before competing in the NBA. Facing potential closures in recent years, the historic community asset was in need of revitalizing and most recently a new playground was finalized for the space. Attendees were encouraged to participate in the next phase of enhancements by assisting painting a community mural for the site designed by local artist Saeed Briscoe, as well as plant and clean up the Duckrey Peace Garden. 


Alongside representatives from the school and local community, each organization joined the festivities to showcase their individual expertise to achieve a common goal of a fully revitalized, multi-use space that benefits students and surrounding communities. 

As part of its mission to provide backbone support for design and construction of sustainable community projects, TBS is operating as project manager and principal organizer for the Duckrey schoolyard redevelopment. This one-million-dollar project will convert over an acre of cracked asphalt into a multi-use civic space. Through a comprehensive planning approach, the space was created by engaging school principals, teachers, students and parents to ensure a highly functional, usable and educational outdoor space. 

Danita Bates, Community and Family Outreach and Network Coordinator, Dr. Tanner G. Duckrey School/Fountain of Youth Preventive Health, Inc. stated, "It was important to continue to have the community engaged with this big school yard redevelopment project. The Community day was excellent and I can see it growing from here. It was unique to have a basketball tournament alongside soccer; it was a phenomenal way to introduce a new sport to our community and the historic basketball courts at 15th and Susquehanna." 

This project is also part of an on-going partnership between love.fútbol and Philadelphia-based charitable institution the Pincus Family Foundation. Both organizations provide children in underdeveloped areas places to play and grow. The Duckrey revitalization will earmark love.fútbol’s first US-based project as part of the joint venture which includes a total of five projects across the world. 

“After 13 years working with communities across the world, we are proud to bring our mission home to the US,” stated Drew Chafetz, CEO and Co-Founder of love.fútbol, “We are deeply grateful to the Pincus Family Foundation for making this possible and to our partners SSUSA and the Big Sandbox for welcoming us to Philadelphia. Through our respective strengths and the leadership of the Dr. Tanner Duckrey families, we can begin a new era for this historic space to realize the limitless potential of youth through sport. 

READ: Xico (Mexico) inaugurates first love.fútbol project in partnership with The Pincus Family Foundation

SSUSA, which will connect Philadelphia to a national network of sport-based development programs, will play a pivotal role in activating the space with daily programming for the local community. At its core, the organization leverages soccer to help youth develop into self-determined problem solvers and leaders. Throughout the Community Day, SSUSA also offered a free soccer clinic for youth in the area. 

Lawrence Cann, Founder and President SSUSA stated, "Teamwork has been the core value of SSUSA since our founding 10 years ago. We couldn't be prouder to work together as part of an amazing team with love.fútbol, The Big SandBox, Tanner Duckrey, Senator Street, and the parents and youth in North Philadelphia. SSUSA is committed to a long term to building programming and developing local leaders at 16th Susquehanna that will ensure the healthy and safe development of local youth and strengthen the community on and off the courts." 

Photo: Isaiah Gaymon

Photo: Isaiah Gaymon

A community driven campus plan was created in 2015 to redevelop the schoolyard and preserve two of the basketball courts for future redevelopment. With the successful completion of this phase, Duckrey supporters will focus on the final phase, redeveloping the courts. 

In total the space looks to directly impact the 600 students at Duckrey as well as the local community. The funding has been a public private entrepreneurial partnership with $500K from the PA Redevelopment Authority Capital Program. It is part of a larger $2.5 million effort, Dig North Philly, to redevelop ten elementary schoolyards in Senator Sharif Street’s District. Other funders include: City of Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development, Council President Clarke, Sheller Foundation, Legacy Foundation, Temple University, Schrenk Foundation, The DO Gooders, and in-kind donations from Buckley Construction. 


Jake Gaffigan and Lois Brink founded The Big SandBox in 2013 to provide backbone support and planning for human-centered sustainable design and construction of community projects. Our measure of success: community ownership of the project. 


The Pincus Family Foundation was formed in 2005 by Philadelphia philanthropists David and Gerry Pincus who dedicated themselves to learning first-hand about the challenges children face worldwide, and then helping to address those challenges. 


Street Soccer USA’s mission is to fight poverty and strengthen communities through soccer. Street Soccer USA’s free programs provide community members from youth to adult in the least served communities with the training, support, and opportunities they need to fulfill their promise in school, in the workplace, and in the community.