Bill Ackman And Pershing Square Helped Build And Pay For This New Playground In Newark

Bill Ackman

Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider

Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and the Pershing Square Foundation helped do something truly remarkable this past Saturday. Employees from the hedge fund and the Pershing Square Foundation helped build and pay for a brand a new playground on an empty lot in Newark, New Jersey.

This was done in partnership with the Greater Newark Housing Partnership, the Urban League of Essex County, organisers from the non-profit KaBOOM! and residents of the Fairmount Heights neighbourhood. 

With the new playground completed, now more than 600 kids in the Fairmount Heights neighbourhood will have a place to play that’s nearby.  Before this, there wasn’t a playground within walking distance. 

Community service outings like these are not only a great way to give back, but they’re also a fantastic way to build teamwork within a firm.   

Speaking of teamwork, Ackman told Business Insider that a great team player is “someone who works hard, has always got someone else’s back, likes to have fun and has a lot of energy.” 

Ackman also said that Pershing Square Capital Management hasn’t done a lot of these outings, but they made a decision early on in the year to start doing more as a fund.  

“It’s great for the organisation, great for the community.  Everyone wins.”  

The new playground's design is based off of drawings created by children who live in the neighbourhood.

Here's Bill Ackman mulching. 'Mulching has really, really found my calling,' Ackman told us.

Ackman, who had blisters on his hands by the end of the day, was also part of the early see-saw assembly team and he helped carry the tables.

There's the new see-saw being constructed.

Some of the Pershing crew helping spread mulch on the playground.

Pershing Square's chief operating officer Tim Barefield gives a kid five.

Bobby Laman, who works in investor relations at Pershing Square, helps get the park fence set up.

Here's Paul Hilal, a partner at Pershing Square, and his daughter. A lot of the Pershing Square people brought their families out to help.

Paul Bernstein, the CEO of the Pershing Square Foundation, and his daughter.

The day was set up like a block party. There was a DJ and tons of people from the neighbourhood came out to help.

The kids, who will eventually use the playground, helped out, too.

The whole thing was finished in about six hours.

Ackman thanked his fellow helpers. 'It's wonderful to be part of the neighbourhood just for a few hours and help chip in. Really appreciate the opportunity. The employees of Pershing Square all chipped in and paid for the playground.'

This is Helena Tunner. She does employee engagement at PSCM and she helped organise the event.

The ribbon cutting ceremony.

Here's a close up of that giant 'thank you' card.

Here's the Pershing Square team.

Now this is what the site looked like before...

People from Pershing Square Capital Management visited the area in the summer when looking for a location for the playground.

Now it's going to be a bright and cheerful playground.

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