Jill Vialet has worked for more than 25 years in the nonprofit sector, during which she focused her entrepreneurial skills of conceiving of and growing two successful nonprofit organizations.
In 1996, Vialet launched Sports4Kids, now called Playworks, in two Berkeley, CA elementary schools. The goal of Playworks: transform recess and the school day with safe and healthy play so teachers can teach and kids can learn. Playworks is the only organization in the country that provides trained, full-time program coordinator “coaches” focused on recess to low-income schools in major urban areas. Currently Playworks brings play and physical activity to more than 130,000 children in 300 schools in 23 US cities. The organization also provides training and technical support so that all schools can enjoy healthy, inclusive play at recess and throughout the school day. Playworks plans to expand to 27 cities by 2015. The ultimate goal of is to serve millions of children daily through direct service and training.
Vialet graduated from Harvard University where she studied medical sociology, played rugby, and became actively involved with Harvard’s service-learning community. Vialet served as the director of Harvard’s Public Service Program during the 1986-87 school year. In 1996, she was awarded Radcliffe’s Jane Rainie Opel Award for achievement by a young alumna.
Vialet was a Eureka Fellow from 2000 to 2001. In 2004 she was selected as an Ashoka Fellow. Vialet and Playworks were selected as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009. Jill plays actively by running and mountain biking, among other outdoor activities. Jill was recently named to the Forbes Impact 30 as one of the 30 leading social entrepreneurs worldwide.
Prior to Playworks, Vialet founded the Museum of Children’s Art (mocha) in Oakland, California. She served as the executive director at mocha for nine years, ultimately expanding its programs to reach 20,000 young people each year.