In this episode, I am talking with Cody Goldberg, founder and executive director of Harper’s Playground. In 2009, Cody did something very common for a parent of a five-year-old, he took his daughter Harper to a playground. At birth Harper was...
In this episode, I am talking with Cody Goldberg, founder and executive director of Harper’s Playground. In 2009, Cody did something very common for a parent of a five-year-old, he took his daughter Harper to a playground. At birth Harper was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that affects physical and cognitive development, as a result, Harper was using a wheeled walker. As they approached the playground, her walker got stuck in a mound of wood chips.
At that moment, Cody realized that a place so valuable to childhood development wasn’t welcoming or accessible to his daughter. In what I call a “this or something better moment”, Cody resolved to dedicate his energy to creating playgrounds, where everyone, including kids and families with special needs, could play together. And thus the creation of Harper’s Playground. To date, Harper’s Playground has built or consulted on the creation of eleven inclusive playgrounds in Oregon, Washington, Iowa, and even a playground in Tokyo, Japan.
The work of Harper’s playground goes well beyond play. It’s about connection, community, and inclusivity. In a time when many of us have never felt more isolated, Cody’s story and his passion for bringing people together has never been more important.
G Cody QJ Goldberg is a dreamer and a doer. He is the child of bona fide San Francisco hippies and was once babysat by Janis Joplin. He received a BFA in Film/Television studies from New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts. At the age of 30 he “dropped out” to play percussion in a wandering tribal band of gypsies called “La Tribu Cosmica.” During that magical year in Mexico
he filmed a documentary about the group and experience and became fluent in Spanish.
Upon his return, he fell into a 14-year career in brand marketing for Adidas and Red Bull Energy Drink before working up the nerve to pursue his life’s true purpose. Cody speaks of his jump from a corporate career to running the non-profit he launched with his wife, April, in 2010. Together,
they led a movement that designed, funded, and built the first totally inclusive playground in Portland, OR. Their passion project, Harper’s Playground, was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show and their family had a day named for them by the mayor of Portland for their efforts.
Goldberg reflects on lessons learned while raising $1.2 million in just over two years without an ounce of previous fundraising experience; sharing about collaboration, design, and politics. He weaves lessons learned during his own childhood with dreams of creating a better life for his own children. He often explains the GQ & J in his name, too. Cody, April, daughters Harper and Lennon, and their dog, Millie, make their home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Connect With Cody and Harper’s Playground
Email Cody email@example.com