Community center

For Kids and Kids at Heart: Helen Diller Playgrounds

The iconic space in front of San Francisco City Hall has long been an important piece of the City in need of reinvestment. There was a clear and present need for something to occupy the space to bring the community together. With that in mind, the Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds were born.

Over a year ago, the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department joined forces to give some much-needed love to the Civic Center landmark, providing a safe place to gather and whimsical play experience.

Featuring slides, swings, and a climbing structure that doubles as a trampoline, the new playgrounds are a haven for kids seeking adventure. The artful approach to play structures encourages kids to dream big, and craft their own stories along the way. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets, either. The Playgrounds feature an after-dark interactive lighting installation that encourages the “get out and play” motto in a big way.

A simple message is printed on the windows of the new Bi-Rite Café at the Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds: Eat good food with good people. It is that sense of community that welcomes you to the new café, located right in front of San Francisco City Hall. It is a place for people to come together, eat, and above all things – play.

The addition of the Bi-Rite café is the cherry on the playground sundae. Offering local, sustainable food and drink options – and their famous soft serve ice cream – at affordable prices, San Francisco favorite Bi-Rite hopes to bring new life to the Civic Center neighborhood.

“That’s the power that good food has,” said Sam Mogannam, Bi-Rite’s owner, at the grand opening of the new café. “It brings us together.”

It was important to our CEO, Jackie Safier (who also serves as President of the Helen Diller Family Foundation), that the café feature a local business. The Playgrounds are a tribute to her mother, Helen Diller, a native San Franciscan who believed in continual optimism and joy. These Playgrounds are an embodiment of that joy and optimism, and the hope is that many children and families will share those feelings as they enjoy this new addition to the city landscape. What comes from the heart, is received from the heart.

Approximately 30 percent of our cash flow from Neighborhoods funds non-profit foundation work on arts, education, and science. With your help, we’re making our community a better place.