Celebrating Success: Play It Forward Raises Funds for PlayMakers Program

On April 12, Port Discovery Children’s Museum turned off the lights and turned up the fun at its annual fundraising event Play It Forward! This year, the event was themed “Light Up the Night,” and thanks to the incredible generosity of the Baltimore community, sponsors, and guests, Port Discovery shone brighter than ever before.  

The night began in the Atrium, with swinging cocktails and featured Aaron Dante of the No Pix After Dark podcast, a cherished voice in Baltimore media, as our charismatic Master of Ceremonies. During dinner, Port Discovery’s President & CEO Carter Polakoff spoke about her personal and professional legacy at the Museum and shared the stage with founding President and longtime museum champion, Doug Becker. After dinner, the Baltimore Twilighters provided a rousing musical transition for guests to return to the main museum space to turn up the glow, drink, dance, and be merry the rest of the evening. 

Throughout the evening, our collective action led to the raising of funds supporting the PlayMakers program, ensuring that numerous Maryland families in need can experience purposeful play with learning at Port Discovery. The PlayMakers program launched in 2021 and provides $3 admission to Maryland families who qualify for nutritional assistance and possess a valid EBT/Independence Card or WIC ID.  PlayMakers tickets are valid for up to five family members and available on any day the Museum is open to the public– this flexibility gives families maximum agency over their museum experience. PlayMakers is part of our access initiatives which aim to break down financial barriers and to make our museum a welcoming space for all. The success of Play It Forward represents a significant step forward in our mission to promote accessible play for all children.   

“Our unwavering commitment to inclusivity acknowledges the vital roles of family, culture, and society, aiming to mirror the rich diversity of our communities. We truly strive to provide transformative play experiences to every child, regardless of background or circumstance.”

—Carter Polakoff, President & CEO of Port Discovery 

The success of Play It Forward is also a testament to the generosity and compassion of the Baltimore community. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who

contributed, whether through donations, sponsorships, or by attending the event. Together, we strive to continue making a tangible difference to the lives of families and children in our area. 

As we celebrate 25 years of fostering joy, connection, and learning through play, this achievement holds special significance. It reaffirms our commitment to our mission and inspires us to continue providing innovative and enriching experiences for children of all backgrounds.

Thank you once again to the Baltimore community, our sponsors, and our guests for helping us “Light Up the Night” and illuminate the path towards a brighter future through play. In addition, we’d like to acknowledge this year’s planning committee, which was co-chaired by Ashley Hatter, Julie Heath and Robyn Murphy—their immerse talent and creativity contributed significantly to the success of the event. 

Here’s to another 25 years of joy, connection, and learning at Port Discovery Children’s Museum! 

To continue supporting the power of play: https://tinyurl.com/2p8r63y  

Photos courtesy of Maximilian Franz Photography