In 1997, while reading an investigative article in the Los Angeles Times, Anne Douglas was awakened to the deplorable conditions of Los Angeles Union 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.
With the help of then Mayor Richard Riordan, Anita May Rosenstein, trustee of the Wilbur May Foundation, and other friends, the Douglas Foundation created the Anne & Kirk Douglas Recreation & Playground Awards, pledging a million dollar contribution to the project. The resulting initiative not only made grants to improve these dilapidated conditions, but created a new and unique relationship between the administrations and parents at individual schools that empowered them to apply a similar localized approach to solving other problems.
In under ten years, Anne & Kirk Douglas Recreation & Playground Awards had reached over 480 schools. These renovated recreational facilities have become the keystones of campus revitalization and given the city’s children the fulfilling experiences and opportunities they deserve.