After more than a year of planning, fundraising and designing, the new rec room at the Rice Child + Family Center officially opened on Friday, March 24. Children’s Home + Aid Trustee Alan Conkle, a team of PwC volunteers, and the architects behind the rec room joined Rice Center staff on Friday to unveil the room to the boys and girls. Each unit was brought into the room for a 15 minute orientation, which allowed the boys and girls a chance to look around the room and provide feedback.


PwC became heavily involved with the Rice Center after the PwC Charitable Foundation gave the Rice Center a $60,000 grant (to be used over two years) to fund the Rice Center’s summer camp. Over the past two years, PwC has sent volunteers to Summer Camp two days a week during July and August, as well as held events throughout the year at the Rice Center. During Summer Camp, PwC teaches financial literacy one day and also participates in the weekly sports day. Other volunteer events include a summer family barbecue, holiday gift wrapping, creating cards for veterans, a carnival, cookie decorating and more. This year, the PwC Charitable Foundation gave another $60,000 to the Rice Center for various character building initiatives and continued summer camp efforts for the children at the Rice Center.


The idea to renovate the rec room first came to light during PwC’s first summer camp meeting with Children’s Home + Aid staff. Residents at the Rice Center use the rec room as a special place to have quiet time or play or to meet with family members, potential foster families and mentors. To fund the renovation, the PwC team raised $5,201 from PwC employee donations through a PwC-sponsored crowdfunding campaign, which led to a nationwide contest that afforded the team an additional $10,000 from the PwC Charitable Foundation.


A member of the PwC team, Natalie, brought the idea of partnering with architects Michelle Alletto and Erica Wannemacher of Open Architecture Chicago (OAC) to assist with the room design and planning. OAC is a collaborative group of volunteer design professionals dedicated to the pursuit of advocacy and social change through the built environment in and beyond Chicago. OAC is the local chapter of the Open Architecture Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that seeks architectural solutions to meet community needs.


The rec room project is a great collaboration between the Rice Center staff, PwC, OAC, as well as Rice’s advisory council, which was made up of five Rice Center residents, one representing each unit. The residents on the council were not only able to contribute to the improvements and features of the new rec room, but they were also able to use some of the financial literacy skills taught during Summer Camp, such as balancing wants and needs, budgeting and networking skills. The new room features a few key areas, including a comfortable living area for watching movies and playing video games with a feature art wall; a versatile open area for large group games and activities; window seats for individual reading or study time; and, a technology corner equipped with computers.


Children’s Home + Aid is grateful for our partnership with PwC and for all of the planning, hard work and dedication that the PwC team put into renovating the rec room for the Rice Center residents. We look forward to PwC’s continued involvement with the Rice Center as they gear up for the 2017 Summer Camp!


Children’s Home + Aid will honor PwC with its Corporate Partner of the Year award at our annual Champions for Children luncheon on April 25.