Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award

In 1997, while reading an investigative article in the Los Angeles Times, Anne Douglas was awakened to the deplorable conditions of Los Angeles Unified School District’s recreational facilities. Like many others, Mrs. Douglas was denied a childhood because of World War II, and was deeply troubled by this carelessness toward the city’s youth. She discussed the problem with her husband, Kirk Douglas, and they jointly decided to make a substantial commitment to change.

The Douglas Foundation created the Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award, granting more than $1.5 million to the project. With the help of Anita May Rosenstein, trustee of the Wilbur May Foundation, then Mayor Richard Riordan, and other friends, the Foundation raised the additional money needed to support this initiative.

The Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award improved the dilapidated condition of hundreds of school playgrounds. In addition, the unique process of interaction between school administrations and parents needed to access the Playground Award became a prototype for problem solving other issues at a local level. In all, this initiative renovated more than 408 public school recreational facilities and became the keystone of public school campus revitalization, giving the city’s children the kind of experiences they deserve.