ChangeX partners with Lego Foundation on projects to learn through play

Dublin-based social entrepreneurship platform

Originated in Oakland, California, but now used in schools across Ireland, Playworks by ChangeX puts children in charge of games in the yard during breaktime, cultivating several critical skills.

Originated in Oakland, California, but now used in schools across Ireland, Playworks by ChangeX puts children in charge of games in the yard during breaktime, cultivating several critical skills.

 

Dublin-based social entrepreneurship platform ChangeX has partnered with the Lego Foundation to help grow projects targeted at learning through play.

The Lego foundation, which aims to help children develop crucial skills, is supporting ChangeX to identify and scale projects such as Playful Streets, Urban Thinkscape and Playground Ideas, while also bringing more funders into the Play Movement.

Commenting on the partnership, Euan Wilmshurst, head of advocacy and communication at the Lego Foundation, said: “We have seen the value of ChangeX and believe it can be the scaling platform for mobilising communities and funders around proven innovations for learning through play. We are very excited to be partnering with them.”

The level of funding has not been disclosed but chief executive Paul O’Hara said it was the largest that ChangeX has secured.

“It’s our first significant institutional backer and it’s a great fit for us culturally,” said Mr O’Hara. “It gives us the capacity to roughly double the team, and to make enhancements to the platform.”

That includes expanding the number of languages the ChangeX platform operates, with plans to launch in Portugeuese in the coming months. The global partnership with ChangeX will also see projects launched in Brazil and Colombia later this year, while also expanding to more European countries.

The Lego Foundation backing will also help the platform expand on its portfolio of ideas, along the lines of climate action, education and play and community cohesion.

“That was always part of our plan; obviously Lego is particularly interested in the play components of that and learning through play specifically,” Mr O’Hara said. “Outdoor play amongst kids is down to about 25 per cent of what it was 30 years ago and there’s all kinds of implications of that, not least the fact that they learn an awful lot through play. So it’s just trying to cultivate that.”

Established in 2015, ChangeX has been backed by investors such as Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Jerry Greenfield, Realex Payments founder Colm Lyon, Draper Esprit’s Brian Caulfield, Andreessen Horowitz partner John O’Farrell and Storyful founder Mark Little.

ChangeX has 2,556 active projects, and distributed €1.5 million to communities last year.

The platform has also launched community funds in several new states across the United States, along with ones in the UK and Sweden. The organisation recently closed a €50,000 fund in Dublin.

ChangeX helps fund projects around the world, focusing on tech for good and offering investors a way to finance community projects. Companies can choose a region they want to invest in and issues they would like to have an impact on, and ChangeX will offer potential projects on its platform that fit the criteria.