Los Angeles Unified School District Press Release
May 28, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA) – Children, school officials and political leaders honored Anne and Kirk Douglas today at Lillian Elementary School, where the 400th playground funded by their foundation was dedicated at an enthusiastic ceremony. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) officials and the entire Lillian Elementary School community to commemorate this very special occasion.
“We have in common reaching out to the community, helping the community and giving to those in need.” Governor Schwarzenegger said. “It is important that kids have a place to play, because when kids are fit and strong, it helps academic performance. On behalf of all the people in California, I thank you Anne and Kirk Douglas for your contribution to this community, this state and this country.”
“It is very appropriate that Governor Schwarzenegger is here celebrating with us today,” Kirk Douglas said. “Both the Governor and my wife were immigrants, and they both became citizens of the land they loved and have gone on to do great public service.”
The Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award, along with the support of LAUSD, helped give students at Lillian Elementary their new play space. The Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award provides matching funds of up to $25,000 to improve children’s play areas through the LAUSD. Since its inception in 1997, the grant program has provided more than $8 million to more than 400 projects.
“[When] I was made aware of the dilapidated condition of Los Angeles Unified School District playgrounds … I decided to do something about it,” Anne Douglas said. “We have today accomplished our goal - 400 new safe, colorful playgrounds for students to enjoy, to help them improve coordination, and to help them make friends and have fun.”
“Great Americans take what they have and give to those in need, and this is exactly what Anne and Kirk Douglas have done,” LAUSD Superintendent David L. Brewer III said. “When you exercise, you feel better, you look better and do better in school.”
“This kind of generosity from two extraordinary people is the kind of generosity our children need to know that they are loved,” Board Member Yolie Flores Aguilar said. “For that, we are grateful to you Mr. and Mrs. Douglas.”
“I personally thank you for what you have done for students,” Board Member Marguerite P. LaMotte said. “It is with great sincerity that we thank you for your leadership and vision in bringing 400 playgrounds to the students of LAUSD.”
“It is obvious here today at Lillian Elementary School that an investment is being made to let students know that they are indeed special,” California State Senator Mark Ridley Thomas said.
“To Anne and Kirk Douglas, administrators, teachers, parents, maintenance and operations – to everyone who made today possible – thank you so much,” LAUSD Local District 6 Superintendent Martin Galindo said. “In our Local District, we talk about results for students through collaboration, and this playground is a result of collaboration.”
“The students of Lillian are joyful for the opportunity to climb, slide and jump on a beautiful play structure in our playground,” Lillian Elementary School Principal Susan Ahern said. “We are truly grateful to the Anne & Kirk Douglas Playground Award for funding a playground that will benefit our children and our community for years to come.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s $7.7 Billion Existing Facilities Modernization and Repair Program remains one of the most comprehensive in the country. Since the start of this the modernization program with the passage of Proposition BB in 1997 and Measures K, R and Y, the program has completed more than 16,500 projects valued at more than $2.7 billion.