People for Parks Community School Parks: Building Stronger Neighborhoods through Recreation, Community Engagement, and Capacity Building

Year Complete: 2019
Grant Amount: $35,000
Local Government: City of Los Angeles, CA
Local Foundation: Goldhirsh Foundation in Partnership with First 5 LA

Project Purpose

To open vibrant school playgrounds to the public in underserved Los Angeles; empower low-income residents through enhanced community engagement, and advance local joint-use policies.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

  • Holding frequent general and ‘working group’ meetings, including all-day retreat style workshops, offered stakeholders the opportunity to participate in the prioritization of sustainability objectives.
  • The placement of Chief Sustainability Officers in multiple city departments, such as the Department of Recreation and Parks, allowed for more customized and frequent contact with the grant recipient, which allowed for substantive collaboration on sustainability goals.    

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

An in-person workshop with stakeholders was hosted, which helped planning initiatives by gathering ideas on addressing the cross-cutting issues of Equity, Adaptation and Resilience, and Workforce Development. During the workshop, the sustainability director and participants also discussed potential Partner Initiatives – programs or actions led by organizations and local place-based foundations that align with and help deliver local sustainability plans.

Additional Information and Resources

The People for Parks COMPAS program continues to offer a variety of ways that parents and neighbors can choose to participate in Community School Parks vibrancy and shared use expansion. More information about the People for Parks programs can be found here.