People for Parks’ Community School Parks Incubator

Year Complete: 2017
Grant Amount: $75,000
Local Government: City of Los Angeles, CA
Local Foundation: The Goldhirsh Foundation

Project Purpose

To transforms schoolyards in dense, low-income LA neighborhoods into parks for use during non-school hours, providing supervised outdoor space for recreational use.

Key Lessons Learned

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

Encourage frequent assessments on the part of sustainability directors and affiliated offices to help identify foundations and projects with similar goals.  The Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and LA Promise Zone staff identified both People for Parks and the Goldhirsh Foundation as having matching priorities with the LA Sustainability Office. Thanks to the creative and strategic thinking of these staff members, the sustainability partnership came to be.

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

Identify how sustainability offices, affiliated city departments and place-based organizations can help each other through frequent correspondence, collaboration, and capacity building.  People for Parks’ executive director, for example, frequently met with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks chief sustainability officer.  As they visited Community School Parks together and talked to site staff, they learned how each of their teams could build on each other’s strengths.  This resulted in a partnership on three new Community School Parks, wherein the Department of Recreation and Parks managed the administrative and staffing side of general Community School Park operation and People for Parks would carry out community engagement.

Additional Information and Resources

The People for Parks project was particularly successful with creating a plan that was clear and easily replicated, allowing for the opening of future parks.